The two-day MotoGP test at Portimão is clearly going to be a test of two halves. Today, Saturday, was the last day of concentrating on new parts, while Sunday is to be the day the teams focus on preparing for the first race of the season, which happens here in two weeks time.
That is how it works for the factories and teams who have everything sorted. But not everyone has everything sorted, as was all too obvious from Saturday. The paddock falls into three groups: The Fast (Aprilia and Ducati), The Lost (KTM and Honda), and The Inbetweeners (Yamaha).
The timesheet would also appear to tell the same story, but the headline lap times are not as significant as they look. The number of riders who sat down and went for an outright lap time was limited, and some, such as Marc Marquez, didn't bother at all.
But even those who were fast were not necessarily chasing a quick lap time. Maverick Viñales was third fastest overall, and he did his best lap time on the first lap of a 10-lap run. Likewise sixth-placed Miguel Oliveira, who set his best time in the middle of a nine-lap run. But this rather proves the point: Viñales is on a 2023 Aprilia, Oliveira on a 2022 Aprilia, and they were both quick. Aprilia are in really good shape.
Ready to roll