Jerez Test: Viñales 0.7 clear of Quartararo on Day 1

Yamaha lead Suzuki at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto as the weather and red flags disrupt Monday’s action

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales set a 1:37.131 on Day 1 of the Jerez Test to head Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) by 0.754, with Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completing the top three on the timing screens. Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez suffered a crash at Turn 13 as red flags and showers disrupt the opening day of action in Andalucia.

At Yamaha, Viñales seemed content with using the aluminium swingarm as he immediately went quick in the morning, dipping into the 1:38s before getting his time down to a 1:37 not long after midday. Both he and teammate Valentino Rossi had one 2020 and one 2019 bike in the garage, with the nine-time Champion lapping on the new bike with the carbon swingarm for larger parts of the day. Rossi had some positive thoughts after Day 1, but also admitted Yamaha have areas to work on.

At Petronas Yamaha SRT, neither Quartararo or Morbidelli have the carbon swingarm available on Monday, but Quartararo and Morbidelli confirmed they’d been trying a 2020 Yamaha prototype engine on Day 1. The Frenchman had on off-track excursion in the morning, with both riders sitting up the sharp end of the times for most of the day.

On paper, it was a solid-looking day for Suzuki. Mir and Alex Rins finished inside the top four as work continued on the 2020 GSX-RR engine. Test rider Sylvain Guintoli was also lapping around Jerez to help Mir and Rins, the Frenchman completing 63 laps on Day 1. Team Manager Davide Brivio confirmed to Simon Crafar that there was more positive feedback on the engine, with Brivio also placing importance on “back-to-back” testing with old and new parts.

Reigning World Champion Marquez was thankfully ok after his crash, the number 93 was given the all clear to continue testing after a trip to the medical centre. The Spaniard had three bikes in the box and on the other side, his double World Champion brother Alex Marquez had two bikes. The Jerez Test gives the 2019 Moto2™ World Champion a chance to spend more time adjusting to the premier class, with one of Alex Marquez’ Hondas featuring a carbon reinforcement around the headstock. The MotoGP™ rookie continued to work with the 2019 RC213V, finishing P17 on the timesheets, with older brother Marc Marquez taking up the testing work on the 2020 bike to end the day P6. Also testing 2020 parts for Honda was LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow, the British rider ended the day P7.  

Speaking in Valencia, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) said Jerez was important to confirm what they’d been trying at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo worked at another circuit. One of the Italian’s Desmosedici machines featured the new, bigger ‘salad box’ on the rear as Dovizioso continued to work on Ducati’s new chassis, comparing it to the old. The feeling, according to the man himself, was good, but more analysis and understatements are needed to make a bigger step in the future. Test rider Michele Pirro joined Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci in Jerez, just as he did in Valencia. The Italian was riding with some sort of sensor on top of the tail unit, with Pirro suffering a technical issue. The Ducati guys were unable to test everything planned, but it was crucial for Petrucci to get 48 laps under his belt after having to miss most of the Valencia Test through injury.

At Pramac Racing, it is unsure whether Jack Miller was testing Ducati’s new chassis in Jerez. The Australian said he would be in Valencia as he finished just behind Petrucci and Dovizioso on the Day 1 timesheets as Ducatis placed P9, P10 and P11 respectively. On the subject of Ducati, Eric Granado was testing for Reale Avinita Racing, the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup race winner had small off but quickly returned to the garage, finishing the day just under six seconds off Viñales’ scorching pace. Francesco Bagnaia remains sidelined after his Valencia crash. 

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro had three bikes at his disposal, one old and two new ones. The Spaniard was very pleased after the Valencia Test with KTM’s progress and having finished P8 on the time screens on Day 1 in Valencia, it seems the 2020 RC16 is working well. The Spaniard did suffer a crash near the end of the day, he was ok though and Espargaro confirmed the new bike was getting better in the places where KTM had weaknesses. Teammate Brad Binder continued to get to grips with his new machine, the South African completed 67 laps and finished P21, 2.8 seconds from Viñales. Test rider Dani Pedrosa had to sit out of the action due to illness, while Iker Lecuona completing 38 laps to finish P20. The Spaniard crashed on Day 1 at Turn 4, he was ok, with Lecuona explaining how Jerez has been more difficult on a MotoGP™ bike than Valencia.

Over at Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, there is nothing majorly new to report. Aleix Espargaro was the fastest RS-GP rider on track in P12, despite a crash, with Andrea Iannone sitting just behind his teammate on the time screens in P13. Bradley Smith continued his testing duties in Jerez, the British rider completing 67 laps on Day 1.

The second and final day in Jerez continues on Tuesday. Follow the action with Live Timing and keep your eye out for another LIVE After the Flag, highlights, interviews and reports at the end of play.

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