Catalunya post-GP testing report
After an emotional Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, most of the teams and riders in the MotoGP™ World Championship remained in Barcelona for a one-day test. This is the second official post-race test of the 2016 season, the first coming in Jerez. Tyres and electronics remained the primary focus for most teams.
Michelin continued to experiment and innovate with a number of new tyres to be tested. The French tyre company had riders run the front tyre they tested in Jerez in order to see how it performed on two different tracks. For the rear they brought three options. These rear tyres had the same compound but with different structures, all with the goal of improving traction on corner exit.
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow continued to work on finding consistency aboard his RC213V and lapped late into the day. With only three minutes to go the Brit dropped into the 1’43s with a 1’43.963 to steal top spot. With no one else circulating he went uncontested and can leave Barcelona with his head held high.
Just an hour after the test officially started, Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was out on track with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) making a typical late start. The pair focused on working with Michelin as well as improving their own settings. Lorenzo was one of the last on track, completing 49 laps and setting the second fastest time of the day, a 1’44.202. Rossi did 42 laps to wrap up the day in 11th, ‘The Doctor’ having proven his speed on Sunday.
Aside from Aprilia, Team Suzuki Ecstar have had one of the most prolific test schedules of 2016 with extra days in Austin and Valencia. The Monday in Barcelona gave Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro a chance to run a variety of different settings on the chassis they tested in Valencia ahead of the Catalan GP. Their work was focused on assessing which frame to run in Assen. Viñales led for most of the day but was eventually pushed down to third, a 1’44.310 coming on his ninth lap of 65. Teammate Aleix Espargaro wasn’t far behind, ending the test fifth with 64 laps.
For the Ducati Team it was a day spent working with the tyres, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) eager to understand the issues he had with his rear during Sunday’s race. Andrea Iannone did the second least amount of laps of any rider, but still managed to end fourth fastest. Meanwhile Dovizioso was seventh.
It proved to be a productive test for Avintia Racing, Hector Barbera the only rider on track as Loris Baz is still recovering from injury. As they are on the older GP14.2, there was little to test and Barbera chose not to run in the afternoon but still managed to complete 75 laps and ended the day as the sixth fastest rider and second fastest Ducati.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) used the day to continue testing the new frame he ran all weekend, his teammate Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) getting a chance to run it for the first time. Just over a second slower than Crutchlow’s time, Marquez ended the day in eighth with 77 laps under his belt. Pedrosa rounded out the top ten with a 1’45.379.
After Scott Redding languished down in 16th place on Sunday, the Octo Pramac Yakhnich squad were keen to understand why Redding’s pace vanished on race day. For Danilo Petrucci the day provided some much needed bike time after missing the first part of the year due to injury. The day offered a lot of data for both riders who completed 127 laps between them, Redding the faster of the two in ninth while Petrucci was 15th.
Sunday’s race was one of contrasts for Monster Yamaha Tech 3; Bradley Smith forced to retire with technical problems while Pol Espargaro fought his way up from 12th on the grid to fifth. The test gave Smith a chance to work on bike setup as he continues to look for a return to his 2015 form. Suspension, tyres and electronics were also a focus for teammate Pol Espargaro. As is quite common in testing, Smith completed the most laps of any rider, a staggering 83 and left the test as the 12th fastest man, a place ahead of Espargaro.
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini have, like Suzuki, already run several tests during the 2016 season due to the different regulations they run under as a result of collecting less than six concession points in the previous season. At all of their private tests improving the electronics has been a primary focus and the day in Barcelona proved no different. Alvaro Bautista set a best time of 1’46.338 to end 14th with Stefan Bradl completing 82 laps and finishing 16th.
The Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team were out early in the day, Jack Miller and Tito Rabat running a new look black and gold livery. As with the other teams they assessed Michelin’s new tyres. Miller completed 48 laps with a best time of 1’47.005 putting him 17th, teammate Rabat ending the day just behind in 18th.
Aspar Team MotoGP elected not to run at the test.