November 14th, 2015
A few Moto2 and Moto3 riders stayed on for a final day of testing at Jerez on Friday, using the clear skies and good weather to put in a few more laps ahead of the 2016 season. Sam Lowes topped the timesheets on the final day of testing, though his advantage over Taka Nakagami was just a few hundredths of a second. Danny Kent made major steps forward on his second day on the Kalex Moto2 bike, getting within a quarter of his fellow countryman Lowes, and ahead of Moto2 veteran Luis Salom. Moto2 rookie Miguel Oliveira was over a second slower than his teammate, but still made good progress in his adaptation.
Lowes' time was impressive, but he still could not match the time set by Alex Rins on Thursday, Lowes coming up just under a tenth of a second short.
Times at the end of Friday from Jerez:
Thursday times from the Moto2 and Moto3 test at Jerez. More bikes are present, but not all are running with transponders.
The final day of testing at Valencia was a repeat of the first day: a lot of crashes on the Michelin tires, the factory Hondas, Yamahas and Ducatis working on the brand new spec electronics, the satellite bikes and the Suzukis working on their own 2015 electronics. For the Suzukis, that was not such a problem. The new electronics were likely to be an improvement on their own electronics, both Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro said, so missing out now was not such a problem. Suzuki have another test planned at Sepang at the end November, at which they plan to switch the 2016 unified software. With two days of Michelin testing under the belt, testing the spec software should be easier.
Choosing to wait until Sepang could be a smart strategy. There, with more time and test riders to help, Suzuki will have the resources to make quicker progress with the spec software. Honda, but especially Yamaha, showed that progress was possible, both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi saying that their second day on the spec electronics had been much better than the first day. "Yesterday, the thing was it was just a check out of the system to understand how they work in which corner, but the power was not done to have the best performance," Jorge Lorenzo said. "We work on that for the next morning and I felt it was much better and I improved during all the day quite a bit." Valentino Rossi agreed. "From yesterday to today already the situation improved a lot. It is still not at the same level for sure, but it looks like we can improve I think quite quickly."
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the two-day test at Valencia:
Marc Marquez has ended the final day of testing at Valencia, lapping under the race lap record using the 2016 electronics and Michelin tires, and swapping back and forth between a 2015 and 2016 spec engine. Both Repsol Hondas were fast, Dani Pedrosa setting the third fastest time, also spending the day setting up the 2016 spec electronics. Maverick Viñales sandwiched himself between the two Repsol Hondas, while Aleix Espargaro ended up behind Pedrosa, both Suzuki riders concentrating solely on getting accustomed to the Michelin Tires.
Jorge Lorenzo finished as fifth fastest, having ridden the 2016 Yamaha M1 prototype for most of the day, also focusing on the 2016 electronics. Cal Crutchlow set the sixth fastest time, Crutchlow only having a chassis used by Marc Marquez to test, riding the 2015 Honda and 2015 electronics. Valentino Rossi found a bit of pace towards the end of the day on the 2016 Yamaha M1, having a fraction more difficulty to adapt to the new electronics and the Michelins, but finding a big improvement from the first day.
Times at 2:30pm:
Casey Stoner is set to make some form of return to MotoGP. The Australian is to switch back from Honda to Ducati, taking on a role as test rider for the Italian firm. There is a chance that Stoner could also be given one or more wildcard rides on Ducati's MotoGP bike.
The news comes after a series of rumors and stories, starting with the German language website Speedweek, and culminating with unofficial confirmation from Israeli TV MotoGP commentator Tammy Gorali. Ducati's Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti spoke officially to journalists at Valencia, but refused to confirm the deal. "Casey is a hero of Ducati fans, he won so many races and was a world champion for Ducati in 2007," Ciabatti said. "We will see what the future brings but we know that his contract with Honda will expire at the end of this year and obviously if there's a chance to do something together we would love to do it."
Times at 12 noon:
The 2016 MotoGP season got underway this morning, as the sound of MotoGP bikes out on track echoed round the amphitheater of the Valencia circuit, chasing away much of the bitterness and recriminations left hanging there in the wake of the 2015 season showdown. With new bikes, new tires, new electronics, and new and old riders on new and old bikes, there was much to look forward to. It felt like MotoGP had a future again.
With new tires and new electronics, many teams had chosen to forego too many changes to their bikes, but there were still some novelties out on track. Honda had brought a 2016 bike, complete with a new engine. Factory Yamaha had an intermediate version of their 2016 bike, complete with fuel tank moved to the rear of the bike. Despite Gigi Dall'Igna's assurances yesterday that they would be testing nothing new to concentrate on the Michelins, Andrea Dovizioso confirmed that he had tried a new chassis.
At Suzuki, they spend the day working on adapting to the tires, and gathering more data for the 2016 bike. Engineers in Hamamatsu are getting that ready for the Sepang test – at least, that is what Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro are hoping – a bike that will produce more horsepower and have a fully seamless gearbox.
There was some shuffling of faces and equipment in the satellite teams, with bikes being wheeled from garage to garage, and a few riders moving along with them. The happiest moment of all for riders like Eugene Laverty and Jack Miller was to wave goodbye to the Honda RC213V-RS, a bike which one rider referred to as "a piece of ****". Miller jumped onto the standard RC213V, and was immediately delighted by Honda's electronics. Laverty, meanwhile traded his Honda Open bike for a Ducati GP14.2, and was immediately impressed by the red-shirted Ducati staff who had invaded the Aspar garage, a real contrast with the Honda. That had been a real customer bike: you paid your money, and you took your bike, and you were left to get on with it on your own.
Press releases from the teams after the first day of testing at Valencia:
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What really happened in MotoGP’s 2015 finale
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Final times at the end of a full day of testing:
Testing continues at Valencia, as do the front end crashes. Teams are working on bike set up and weight distribution, to adapt to the tires, but that is taking some time.
Times at 3pm:
Testing is underway for the 2016 of MotoGP, the bikes rolling out on Michelin tires with official timing for the first time. Lap times are quick, Marc Marquez already lapping around the race record, the performance of the Michelins up to par. But there are still issues: Marquez crashed at Turn 3, losing the front at a corner where crashes are extremely rare on just his fourth lap out of the pits. Cal Crutchlow has also crashed, going down at Turn 5, again losing the front.
The bikes out are a fair mixture, with Suzuki and Ducati sticking to their own electronics for the first day, while the other manufacturers have switched to the 2016 spec software. All of the riders have already gone out, Valentino Rossi being the late arrival, as is his custom at a test. Rossi is in his garage, and due to go out soon.