ANALYSIS: Which factory new boy performed best in Valencia?

We've taken a look at the best times from the Valencia Grand Prix and the Valencia Test to see who gelled with their new machinery the most

All eyes were on the seven premier class stars making their official debuts with new factories at Tuesday’s Valencia Test as we finally got answers to the questions we’ve been asking for months. Is the grass really greener on the other side? Well, has taken a look at all of the data from the Valencia Grand Prix and the Official Test to see who gelled best with their new MotoGP™ machines.

First up, the rider that made the biggest leap forward on his new bike: RNF Aprilia’s Raul Fernandez. The Moto2™ record-breaker had a rookie season to forget on KTM’s RC16 but, despite finishing the Valencia Test 1.3 seconds adrift of Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) in 21st, the Spaniard did go over a quarter of a second faster than what he managed at the weekend. Fernandez’s best lap of Grand Prix was a 1:31.598 set in Free Practice 2 and, on only his first day with Aprilia’s RS-GP, the 22-year-old found a further 0.258 at the Test by setting a 1:31.340.

Often body language is as much of a giveaway as the actual timesheets and former Honda man Pol Espargaro wasn’t shy about letting the world know just how happy he was to be back on a KTM RC16. The Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing new boy was heard telling crew chief Paul Trevathan “I love it” following his first run and it’s easy to see why. Espargaro’s best lap of the Grand Prix was a 1:30.936 and he managed to go 0.179 seconds faster on Tuesday. The Spaniard's 1:30.757 is only two tenths of a second shy of his personal best lap around the Circuit Ricardo Tormo set in qualifying back in 2020.

Despite being unable to better his lap time from the Grand Prix, RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira was arguably the story of the day at the Valencia Test. Fourth on the timesheets thanks to a 1:30.367, the Portuguese rider was only 0.131 seconds away from the lap that put him 14th on the grid for Sunday’s race. Furthermore, the five-time MotoGP™ race winner was able to dip beneath the 1:31 barrier on three further occasions throughout the day meaning there’s reason to be optimistic over the winter for the Noale factory’s new signing.

Another man whose body language, or beaming smile to be precise, was a huge giveaway at how much he enjoyed his first day in new colours was Alex Marquez. Much like Espargaro, the two-time World Champion was left out in the cold at Honda during the second half of the season but seems to have found a happy home at Gresini Ducati. He ended up a quarter of a second shy of his best lap in Q1 at the Valencia Grand Prix but, quite incredibly, he went faster than his best lap from Sunday’s race on 35 separate occasions.

Alex Marquez, Gresini Racing MotoGP™, Valencia MotoGP™ Official Test

Much was made of Joan Mir’s move to join Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda and it was a steady start for the 2020 MotoGP™ World Champion. Mir’s 1:30.914 was 0.693 seconds slower than he managed in Q2 on Saturday afternoon and he was able to better his best race lap on only five occasions throughout the Valencia Test. It was a similar story for Alex Rins too, who was 1.288 seconds adrift of the lap that placed him in the middle of the second row for the season finale.

Jack Miller’s start to life at Red Bull KTM Factory Racing proved a challenge with the Australian’s best lap of the Valencia Test 0.953 seconds shy of his front row-worthy lap from the weekend. Thriller bettered his best race lap on three occasions, but the work of new teammate Brad Binder will leave the former Ducati man feeling positive. Binder set the fastest lap of Sunday’s Valencia Grand Prix en route to second place and dipped beneath that 1'31.192 ten times throughout the day.

Last but not least, let's take a look at Augusto Fernandez (Tech3 GASGAS Factory Racing), who quietly impressed on his premier class debut. The new Moto2™ World Champion posted a 1:31.730 to finish his first day in MotoGP™ only 1.697 seconds away from the fastest man. By comparison, the last time we tested at Valencia, Brad Binder was making his MotoGP™ debut with KTM and closed the two-day test 2.518 seconds behind the fastest man, having set a 1:32.367.

VideoPass allows you to watch every single second of every single sector LIVE and OnDemand