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Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) set a 1:31.532 late in the day to end the Misano Test at the top of the timesheets. The Spaniard was 0.271 clear of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), with Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) 0.367 back from Viñales on a very busy day for all the factories at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.
Tuesday was a very important day for all the factories. This was the last test of the year with no end of season test happening after the final round in Portimao, with the only other test day being for test riders only at the Autodromo do Algarve. So, we saw every team either testing some new parts, or trying out some new settings to improve performance for the rest of the season and beyond, with engine and aero developments frozen for the 2021 campaign.
One of the biggest talking points from Tuesday’s action was the radio communication that Race Direction is developing. The main aim was to test how much it distracted riders in various situations, through fast corners for example. The feedback was positive and now the next steps are to look at ergonomic improvements such as how much noise cancelling can be implemented, the wires and other things like that. In these very early, preliminary stages, the only thing being looked at is standard messages from Race Direction to the riders. Overall, the feedback from the riders was positive.
Another of the main talking points from the Misano Test was Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) debuting a new bigger, longer Yamaha exhaust. The aim, according to Team Manager Massimo Meregalli saying the aim was drivability and top-end speed – important for the long straights in Barcelona and Aragon, but at the moment the riders have said there is no improvement to top end speed. In addition, Yamaha had a new carbon swingarm to try at the Misano Test – and they’ll probably use it at the Emilia Romagna GP. And there’s more, Yamaha had a new rear-brake system and chassis, the latter not providing much improvement though.
Teammate Viñales wasn’t using the new exhaust for most of the day as the Spaniard and his team went in search of answers to his Sunday afternoon woes, especially with the hard rear tyre. Pitlane reporter Simon Crafar reported that Viñales spent most of the day on the medium rear tyre, suggesting that’s what his and the team will be racing with on Sunday. There was drama with an hour to go for Viñales who crashed while on an out-lap after the red flags had been brought out, because Tito Rabat’s (Esponsorama Racing) Ducati suffered a mechanical problem coming onto the start/finish straight.
The number 12 came out of pitlane and when he tipped it left into Turn 6, the front immediately gave way. Viñales was unhurt and came out not too long after to post the fastest lap of the test. Then, with 30 minutes to go, Viñales emerged out of pitlane with the new exhaust. Regarding the new parts, Viñales said he could ride the same as he did over the weekend – but more relaxed. Viñales also said his team have made strides with the medium rear tyre graining, positive news for the weekend, but the San Marino polesitter remained concerned about Sunday.
Over in the Petronas Yamaha SRT box, San Marino GP winner Franco Morbidelli wasn’t riding at the test due to a stomach upset, with his teammate Fabio Quartararo the sole representative. El Diablo was very happy at the end of the test, he was only working on race pace and managed to set almost his fastest lap on a tyre that was 23 laps old. Quartararo also mentioned that he and the team have found something to help him during the race, if the same situation as last Sunday arises.
Over in the Team Suzuki Ecstar garage, Team Manager Davide Brivio said that Joan Mir and Alex Rins have tried a different swingarm. However, the feedback was that it didn’t make much of a difference, so Suzuki won’t be using it according to Brivio himself. Brivio also revealed that Rins has been struggling with arm pump in the last 7-8 laps in the race, so the Spaniard was doing physiotherapy on Monday.
Mir said he was happy with his day’s work overall, which included some setting changes and not pushing for a lap time. The Spaniard admitted he and Suzuki tried to improve their qualifying pace, but ended up improving their race pace. Rins said he had a positive day as he also tried the swingarm and some electronic settings, he was riding without pain and felt comfortable.
Ducati Team Manager Davide Tardozzi said that Andrea Dovizioso was trying set-up changes, and good news for the Italian’s fans is that he’s made big strides forward. Dovizioso sat out the afternoon session because he got all his work done early doors, with the Championship leader having a much better feeling than he did over the weekend – confidence much higher in the Dovi and Ducati camp heading into this weekend. Dovi spent some of the afternoon watching teammate Danilo Petrucci on track, who Tardozzi said is still struggling and needs to try and make some changes to his riding style.
San Marino podium man Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) enjoyed a good morning on track before calling it a day at midday, resting his leg is still very important for the Italian who is happy to have two days off before hitting the track again on Friday. Pecco was working on a different type of setting to improve the chassis for next year, which he says has great potential, and everything he tried went well.
Teammate Jack Miller experienced some technical issues in the afternoon before heading back on track in the last half an hour. The Australian said he’s not found too many improvements, he’s still really struggling in Sector 1 through the opening three corners, and he’s also struggling at Turn 11 too. Miller also tried Ducati’s small chassis changes for the 2021 season, explaining how there were both positive and negatives with that.
Zarco crashed while coming out the pitlane with just over an hour of the afternoon session to go, but the Frenchman said he was happy with his last lap at the end with fresh tyres – and he’s now got a great feeling in qualifying-spec.
Three of the four KTM riders were putting in the laps on Tuesday, with Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3) sitting out the action as his teammate Miguel Oliveira and factory duo Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Brad Binder putting in the work. Team Principal Mike Leitner said that the riders were trying to improve the turning of the RC16, with the riders also appearing with a strange new white cover over some cables that come out from the tank cover, go around the steering head and back under the tank cover on the other side. Oliveira had a small crash and said he didn’t have many new parts to try, with the Portuguese rider admitting that he needs to find more pace in qualifying to make his race days easier.
Pol Espargaro explained how his main aim was to improve grip and stability, especially on the rear. The stability through the fast corners had been improved, as has the grip on entry. Espargaro didn’t push for a lap time and was working a lot on race pace.
Second fastest Nakagami set that time on his 2019 RC213V machine, but during the morning, the Japanese rider was lapping on Stefan Bradl’s 2020 test bike. Nakagami said he felt comfortable on the 2020 machine and had no negatives to report – both on Bradl’s bike and his own 2019 one. A crash dampened his morning run on the 2020 bike, but Nakagami was able to work on developing his feeling for the upcoming Grand Prix, and he sounded very positive about his day’s work.
With Marc Marquez, Stefan Bradl and Cal Crutchlow all side-lined, Alex Marquez was the only other HRC rider on track. The reigning Moto2™ World Champion was testing a new Honda exhaust and aero, with the Spaniard explaining that he went faster than he did over the weekend on his second run of the day. Marquez also explained that he has managed to find a better feeling over one-lap.
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith were testing the holeshot system on the rear, with the intention of trying to use it during the race – just like Ducati are doing – in the near future. Chassis and electronics were also working on by the Noale factory, with Espargaro trying a setting that gives him more torque, the aim being to give him more pace over a qualifying lap. Smith was happy to set a mid-1:32 and confirmed he was testing a new chassis, completing 96 laps.
It was a very busy and vital day for the premier class riders and teams, with most riders finding some good improvements ahead of this weekend and beyond. You can see the times in full RIGHT HERE, and keep your eye out for interviews with the top riders on motogp.com.
Next up: the Gran Premio TISSOT dell'Emilia Romagna e della Riviera di Rimini. With everyone sounding confident after the test, we’re set for another phenomenal weekend of MotoGP™ action.
Top 10 combined sessions:
1. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 1:31.532
2. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.271
3. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) + 0.367
4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.522
5. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.582
6. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.630
7. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) + 0.675
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) + 0.758
9. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.804
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull Factory Racing Team) + 0.921