|Official Test sees the Frenchman lap Jerez half a second faster than his record-breaking pole|
Monday, 06 May 2019
On Saturday he made history as the youngest ever polesitter in MotoGP™, on Sunday he went home heartbroken after a mechanical problem saw him forced to retire from the fight for the podium. But come Monday, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was back on top in testing as he seared around the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto a stunning half second quicker than his lap record pole. The 1’36.379, set near the end of play, put him 0.418 ahead of Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and 0.714 ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) at the Official Test.
Quartararo did 73 laps on Monday and left it late to put in his fastest on Lap 70, following it up with another not far off the same pace. He had internal fork updates to try, the same as the factory Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team, but set his fastest lap with the previous regardless. Teammate Morbidelli was also late mover up the timesheets into third and his best of a 1’37.093 was set on his penultimate lap of 82. He had a Yamaha aero update to try. Meanwhile, Maverick Viñales was the fastest Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider in fifth, 0.847 off the top after an impressive workload of 94 laps, with teammate Valentino Rossi ending the day in P17 after 74 laps. They were working on some chassis settings but mainly electronics, aimed at improving throttle connection. Petronas Yamaha SRT also had throttle connection updates but the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders were working on further versions.
At Honda, one big focus for Crutchlow was the start; clutch feel and electronics. He did 78 laps, was the man deposed by Quartararo’s late lunge, and did his fastest lap on a new rear medium compound tyre from Michelin featuring new technology for improved grip and consistency. The tyre was one of two additions to the race weekend allocation – the other being a medium rear with a different casing especially for Spielberg and Buriram, to be assessed further – and it will now be used in the allocation.
A little further down the timesheets, Jerez winner Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) ended the day in seventh after 75 laps, and set his quickest on the bike that wildcard and test rider Stefan Bradl rode in the race with carbon fibre chassis additions. Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) had a slightly modified seat and ended the day in P9 after 93 laps, and the five-time World Champion had two crashes. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was another late crasher and he ended the day in tenth, an infinitesimal 0.002 off Lorenzo.
For KTM the timesheets made for good reading with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) as he ended the day in fourth, 0.735 off P1 after 63 laps, with teammate Johann Zarco in P16 after 71. They tested chassis parts, chassis settings and some engine parts. Red Bull KTM Tech 3, meanwhile, ended the test in P21 for Miguel Oliveira and P22 for Hafizh Syahrin. They had 2019 KTM tail and exhausts to test.
At Suzuki, Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was working on setting the bike up more for his style and he ended the day in sixth after more than 80 laps. Suzuki had a new swingarm, and a new swingarm attachment was also spotted in the Hamamatsu factory’s garage as it broke cover for the first time, but Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) ran on and damaged it soon after. He nevertheless did 69 laps with a best of 1’37.275 to put him in P8. Test rider Sylvain Guintoli was also out on track and he put in 79 laps.
Ducati weren’t inside the top ten by the end of the day. Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) was P11 after 52 laps with a best of 1’37.601, but he wasn’t trying any particular new parts, instead focusing on big setup changes they’d not use time for during a race weekend. Dovizioso’s teammate Danilo Petrucci was P14, focused on working on setup and “some new parts” and spending the majority of his time on the hard tyre. The two were split by Pramac Racing duo Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller. All four were covered by just over a tenth, and the gap from Bagnaia back to Miller was only 0.003. Another tiny gap put Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) in P17, just 0.005 off Rossi, with teammate Karel Abraham only 0.014 in further arrears.
Finally, Aprilia were out on track with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and test rider Bradley Smith (Aprilia Factory Racing) as Andrea Iannone missed the test due to the after effects of his Saturday crash. Espargaro did 80 laps and was just 0.038 off Petrucci to take P15, testing rear suspension setups, traction control configurations, weight distribution and torque delivery, and Smith was only 0.002 off Abraham after 82 laps. He had some new parts and was also working on setups and tyre evaluation.
That’s it from Jerez for the one-day Official Test for the premier class, although Moto2™ and Moto3™ will be back out on track on Tuesday for their turn so make sure to stay tuned to motogp.com for updates ahead of Le Mans in just under two weeks.