High Winds and Cold Temperatures Limit Testing for CRT Bikes at Aragon
Weather severely limited the on-track action at Aragon today, as a field of CRT riders thinned out by a lack of parts rolled up in Alcañiz for the first of a two-day test. High winds and cool temperatures meant that it was impossible to keep the tires at working temperature out on track, forcing the teams to abort their testing efforts for the day, and work on a revised program for Friday, the final day of the test.
All five riders present - Aspar's Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro, PBM's James Ellison and the two Avintia BQR Kawasakis of Ivan Silva and Yonny Hernandez - put in a few laps in the morning, Ellison estimating he managed a total of 10 or so, but with winds gusting to around 60 km/h, the tire technicians deemed it unsafe to continue, and the riders retired to their garages to work on a full program for Friday. With better weather expected tomorrow - the wind is forecast to have died down and clear skies are predicted, though temperatures remain very cold on Spain's high Meseta this early in the year - the teams should get enough time on track to at least partially compensate them for the loss of Thursday.
While weather hampered the riders present, a lack of parts had kept several other riders away. Danilo Petrucci is stuck in Italy waiting for the uprated version of the IODA chassis, being built using data gathered at the Jerez test two weeks ago. Mattia Pasini is also waiting for parts for the Aprilia ART, while Michele Pirro is due to get his second run out on the FTR-framed Gresini Honda at Imola next week, ahead of the Jerez test. Gresini are currently waiting for the seat and subframe, according to GPOne.com, but the Ten Kate-prepared Honda engine is reported to be kicking out a relatively healthy - for a Superbike - 220hp. Pirro's problem is likely to be that he faces Aprilias producing 230hp, and factory prototypes pumping out some 250hp, he is going to find himself rather poorly armed.
The cool weather also impacted Marc Marquez' return to the track at Albacete. The test took place in absolute secrecy, with only a few hints from Spanish journalists that the test was going on at all. Marquez is reported to have turned a fair number of laps, but neither times nor progress was reported. Also present is Alex Rins, part of Monlau Competicion's Moto3 program, recovering from surgery on his shoulder. Rins is reported to have turned 40 laps, riding with little trouble from his shoulder and at a good pace.