Misano, Italy

Misano Moto2 & Moto3 Review - Neil Morrison On VR46 Riders Lapping Misano, The Moto2 Rider Market, And Ai Ogura

VR46 Academy On Top Of The World

As days go, Sunday was just about perfect for the VR46 Academy. Franco Morbidelli became its first ever MotoGP race winner, Francesco Bagnaia backed him up in second and Sky Racing VR46’s Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi scored a fairly comprehensive one-two in the earlier Moto2 outing.

All four are supremely talented riders. But the countless hours of testing at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli begged the question: should riders be limited in terms of how often they test at one of the tracks on the MotoGP calendar?

Such track experience was even more crucial this year as the track was resurfaced in March. Despite much improved grip levels, bumps all around the track remained. On Sunday Jack Miller noted, “It makes me worry and I said it also in the Safety Commission on Friday afternoon, 'if you guys knew the track was this bumpy, nobody said a single thing leading up to this. You guys are riding here once a month a least'. Anyway it just shows practice can help I think.”

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Misano MotoGP Test Subscriber Notes: What Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, KTM, And Ducati Were Working On

The Covid-compressed 2020 season has very little room for maneuver. To fit fourteen races into nineteen weeks means making a lot of sacrifices. One of those sacrifices is testing: of the original three one-day post-race tests planned, only one remains, at Misano, on Tuesday.

What is the point of a midweek test in the middle of a year where so much development has been frozen to cut costs? "I think it's just a lot a people getting bored during the week, not moving anywhere, not doing anything, so they're trying to keep each other busy, keep themselves busy," joked Jack Miller.

The Pramac Ducati rider may have said that in jest, but it is easy to believe he is right. Engine and aerodynamics development is frozen for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, which already cuts down dramatically on the options for progress with a bike for this year and next. So surely the teams and factories wouldn't have much to test?

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Misano MotoGP Test Fina Times: Viñales Ends Test On Top Of Timesheets

Maverick Viñales ended the only in-season MotoGP test as fastest, getting within a tenth of his own circuit lap time in the afternoon session at the Misano track. Takaaki Nakagami ended the day in second, having tested the 2020 Honda RC213V, while Johann Zarco was third fastest, ahead of the two Suzukis of Alex Rins and Joan Mir.

Times of second session:

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Misano MotoGP Test 4pm Times: Zarco Leads While Most Riders Rest

A depleted field took to the track for the second half of the Misano MotoGP test in the afternoon, with many teams already having completed their programs in the morning session.

Johann Zarco is currently fastest of the afternoon session, with the second fastest time of the day. Maverick Viñales is second quickest, with Takaaki Nakagami third. Fabio Quartararo is currently fourth fastest, while Miguel Oliveira sits ahead of Alex Rins.

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Misano MotoGP Test 1pm Times: Espargaro Fastest As Suzuki And Ducati Close The Gap

It is a surprisingly busy test at Misano on Tuesday, with a lot of experimenting going on. At 1pm, as the track closes for lunch, Pol Espargaro still leads, though Joan Mir is now in second, with Pecco Bagnaia third fastest. Alex Rins is now fourth quickest, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Takaaki Nakagami. The two Yamahas of Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo are now seventh and eighth, though Quartararo is only three tenths off the best lap of Espargaro.

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Misano MotoGP Test 12pm Times: Espargaro Fastest As Yamaha Tests A New Exhaust

In an already condensed schedule, MotoGP is cramming a test in between the two rounds at Misano, to allow the teams and factories to make up for the loss of testing time this season. All of the riders bar Stefan Bradl and Franco Morbidelli are taking to the track, Morbidelli sitting out today's test with a stomach bug.

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Misano MotoGP Subscriber Notes: A Wild Championship, Youth Charge, Rossi's Legacy, And How Consistency Counts

It's 2020, and if there's one thing we know about 2020 is that it is utterly unpredictable. If at any point, a certain event, path of action, or result seems set in stone, 2020 finds a way to rip that up and throw it away. The Misano MotoGP race – Misano 1, that is, the round sponsored by the microstate San Marino, as opposed to next week's round, sponsored by the Emilia-Romagna region – was a case in point. The timesheets in free practice were clear: Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales would run away with this race, trailing the rest of the field, led by the Yamahas of Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi, in their wake.

It didn't quite work out that way. Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi led the field for a while, before they went their separate ways, and a couple of young upstarts started to interfere with their plans. The pre-race favorites suffered an ignominious fate, shaking up the championship along the way. While the winner tore away at the front, a fascinating and thrilling battle unfolded for the other podium places over the final few laps. We are left with a championship that is closer than ever, and even more unpredictable than ever.

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