Press releases from the MotoGP and WorldSBK teams after the final day of the Misano private test:
APRILIA PREPARES FOR A RETURN TO RACING
THREE DAYS ON THE TRACK AT MISANO FOR ALEIX, BRADLEY AND LORENZO
A first taste of the return to normalcy, albeit with all the precautions required by the COVID-19 emergency, saw Aprilia back on the track for three days of testing at Misano. While waiting to resume a World Championship that actually never really officially began, Aleix Espargaró and Bradley Smith shared the track in Emilia-Romagna with a few protagonists of MotoGP and the factory derivative series. One of them was Lorenzo Savadori, first busy with the development of the RSV4 1100 he’ll be using in the Italian Championship and then swinging a leg over the 2019 RS-GP on the third and final day.
This series of tests was fundamental, both to pick up the thread that had been interrupted after Qatar and to give the riders a chance to prepare physically for a rather intense calendar, which will have them busy from July through November with very few breaks. All this was under the summer sun of Misano, which allowed riders and technicians to take full advantage of the time available, but which also put their resistance to the test.
At the end of the three days, the best of the 183 laps Aleix turned stopped the clock at 1'32.932, the fastest of any rider on the track. On the other hand, it was 207 laps for Bradley Smith, who will be subbing for Andrea Iannone for the early laps on the calendar, with a best time of 1'33.536. Also noteworthy was a crash on the “sweeper” for the English rider, but without consequences.
"After such a long stop, it was exciting to get back onto the track and I already can’t wait to go to Jerez for the first two races. Turning a lot of laps is fundamental for us. We have a totally new bike which, although born with great potential, needs to get some miles under it. We also know that Misano is not our favourite track, but in spite of that, at the end of the three days, we managed to achieve a good pace, confirming the positive impressions we had already had in Malaysia and Qatar."
"I’m honestly pleased at the end of these tests. I had to make a physical and mental step to go from tester to rider and I think I managed, especially on this last day. Right now, it is fundamental for us to gain experience on this new bike, gathering data and understanding how it reacts. While the base setup proved to be good straight away in Malaysia and Qatar, there are still many aspects that we need to explore in order to exploit the full potential of the new project. On my part, I know that I still have room to improve and Aleix’s performance demonstrates as much, but the gap has shrunk and I feel much more at ease taking the 2020 RS-GP to the limit."
"It was nice to be back in the saddle of the Aprilia MotoGP bike. The sensations improve every time I get on it. My feeling improves with the tyres, with the bike, and with the brakes and I understand more and more which style to adopt to begin to exploit it. I turned more than 80 laps today and I am rather pleased from every point of view. We are growing with the RSV4 1100 that I’ll be using in the Italian Championship. We still need to figure out a few things, but we’ll be back on the track in a few days for the first race at Mugello. I lapped a lot over these three days, more than 900 kilometres, but physically I feel very well and this is also positive."
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
"These were important tests to define the starting point of our championship. We assessed the various chassis, engine and electronics solutions, in addition to breaking in a team that is brand new in many aspects. The riders needed this test as well to get back into the rhythm after such a long stop, and I must say that I saw them improving day after day. The decisions in view of Jerez have been taken. Many of the new features we had prepared worked well and I am rather pleased with the overall level of the bike. In any case, there is still a lot of work to do on the details, especially to increase overall reliability. We say it every year, but it isn’t wrong to do so: the level of the championship has gone up even farther and that pushes us to make an even greater effort."
Superb P1 for Scott Redding after 3 testing days at Misano. Positive feelings for Chaz Davies.
Almost four months have passed since the first round of the 2020 WorldSBK season held at Phillip Island, Australia. Then, unfortunately, the restrictions due to the spread of Covid-19 forced teams and riders to a long stop.
Finally, on Tuesday afternoon, the engines of the Ducati Panigale V4 R returned to sing for a quick shakedown (just a few laps), which helped Chaz and Scott to regain confidence with the bikes and make the first laps on the new asphalt of the Misano World Circuit.
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati riders then carried out two intense days of testing which ended today offering extremely positive data.
Scott Redding notched up the best chrono among the Wsbk riders (only 135 thousandths of a second off the fastest MotoGP rider) and lapped consistently on race pace too.
Positive sensations also for Chaz Davies (177 laps completed throughout the three testing days) who found a very good feeling with his Panigale V4 R, especially lapping with used tyres.
Scott Redding (P1 - 1'33.067)
"These were three very positive days as it was important to regain the feeling with the bike. We have worked a lot especially with used tyres and we have tried new solutions that have given positive feedback. I've been working out a lot these months with the goal of losing weight. In the end, I also managed to set a good chrono but this is not important. It was great to get back to work with the guys and I can't wait to get back on track".
Chaz Davies (P5 - 1'34.053)
"It was nice to get back out there and see a lot of familiar faces. It has been a long four months and there was a great desire to reconnect with the bike and the track. We worked a lot to try many solutions and get some important feedback. We have improved in some areas and we have to improve in other aspects but the direction is the right one".
Marco Zambenedetti (Ducati Corse Technical Coordinator)
"I am very satisfied with these three days of testing as we were able to test - with Redding and Davies - some new parts and technical solutions we tried a month ago on this circuit with Pirro and Rinaldi. We had good feedback from the riders on the new ergonomics. We also re-tested some of the solutions we tried in Australia and there are still some others to try out, especially from an electronic point of view. We will be able to do it before the race weekend at Jerez".
Serafino Foti (Team Manage Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
"We were looking forward to getting back to work and this test was taken with great enthusiasm. They have been three very important days for the riders and the whole team, also to get familiar with the new protocols that we will have to follow in the next rounds. Our season will start again: it will be shorter but at the same time, it will be very intense. As always we will give our best to get the best possible result".
RESET TEST COMPLETE FOR KRT'S WorldSBK SQUAD
After an enforced absence from the racetrack due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Kawasaki Racing Team pairing of Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes completed their first WorldSBK comeback test at Misano today, having enjoyed two full days of intense action at the Italian circuit.
In terms of outright lap times Rea was the second best WorldSBK rider on display at Misano, with 1’33.206 on the very grippy new asphalt that has been recently laid at the 4.226km long coastal circuit. Lowes set his own best–of-test 1’33.694 lap time later in the afternoon, placing him just outside the existing track best lap time, after completing over 100 laps today alone.
The entire KRT squad worked hard at this test to not just get back into the groove after some months away from the track but also to adhere to the national, regional and self-imposed Covid-19 regulations, designed to ensure the safety of everyone involved in these tests.
With differing degrees of overall experience on the Ninja ZX-10RR five times Kawasaki champion Rea and 2020 signing Lowes worked on some different aspects of machine set-up and their approach to these tests in general.
Rea spent today with his technical crew finding greater confidence on the unexpectedly grippy new asphalt. They made the most of the gradual set-up changes to the point where Rea posted the fastest time on race tyres, before he and some others tried out even softer rear qualifiers to improve the pace yet again.
Lowes, at another new circuit for him on the KRT machine, built up his confidence and pace to leave Misano both satisfied with the work already done and ready find more improvements at the next tests in Spain.
Now the team will relocate to their home venue of Montmelo near Barcelona, for a track outing on the eighth and ninth of July. The season itself is due to re-start – after a long gap since the opening round in Australia back in early March – at Jerez de la Frontera, again in Spain, with races on the first and second of August.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I am quite satisfied with this test and it was very valuable to get up to speed. Yesterday everything felt quite alien to me, especially as the asphalt was new and the grip levels were high. I just had to adapt my riding style a little bit. Also we changed the bike setup; actually to take a little bit of grip away. I was still not 100% confident but I felt better a lot better after the tyre grip had dropped a bit. After six or seven laps I felt more comfortable on the bike. At the end, with a race tyre, I was still able to be very fast and I felt confident to push. We did not get excited or carried away when we were struggling; we just went about it step-by-step with the crew, and with Showa, changing the bike set-up. We did not have many huge items to try. I really feel like here, with the grip level being so high, we have been able to achieve a little bit more natural turning from the bike. That is a huge thing to take away from here and I hope we can apply it to other tracks where we have been struggling in the past.”
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “The test today has been really good because we had clear targets that we wanted to achieve at the start of the day. We wanted to do a race simulation while trying to keep a good pace after such a long time off the bike. And also find a direction with the front end setup for the Barcelona tests. We achieved both those things. I had a nice 20 laps this morning, when the track was really hot, which gave us good information for the next races in Jerez and Portimao, because we think they are also going to be hot. At the end of today we tried to improve our pace on new tyres and I was quite satisfied with what we did. After 103 laps I was a little bit tired at the end but it was a successful test and we have a lot of information to take into the next test. That will be another new track for me on the Kawasaki, so it is all about gelling with the bike in all different conditions. I also want to say a big thanks to the team. It has not been easy to organise the test with everything that has gone on but a massive thanks to the KRT guys.”
Pere Riba (Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea): “Testing has been very good. After this long lockdown it was very interesting to see how the riders would be, how the mechanics and everybody worked. And they all worked very well. Johnny is in really good shape and he has been working a lot on his psychology and physically he was very strong. He came here with his batteries recharged. This track, on the other hand, is like a new track as it has been completely re-asphalted. The grip is impressive – completely crazy! On a Q tyre Johnny was 1.5 seconds faster than what he did last year. Yesterday, all this new grip made a new request to the balance of the bike and Johnny was not so happy. Step-by-step we understood the direction and from the first ‘out lap’ yesterday to the final one today we did not stop improving. I am honestly very proud of the job everybody did in the team. Johnny did a 1’33.4 today, making him the fastest one with a race tyre. On his Q tyre he made a mistake on the first lap but still did a 1’33.2 on his second lap. That could have been a 1’32.9 or 1’33.0.”
Marcel Duinker (Crew Chief for Alex Lowes): “A very good test; very positive. We know Phillip Island is a special track and we did well there in the season opener. We came here with a positive mentality and I think everybody was glad to come back to the track. Yesterday, when we started off, it was more like a warm-up after being away for so long. But today, we really sat down to improve the speed of the package. This afternoon especially we made some significant steps with the bike performance - and Alex used it to the maximum. We have a clear idea where we improved and also what we need to improve in the following test - so we can go away from this track with a happy face.”
Guim Roda (KRT Team Manager): “This has been| such an intense test. After four months stopped – the longest in the last 10 years for sure - it has been nice to come back to the racetrack. We tried to get into the rhythm and let the riders enjoy on the bikes. It has been our first experience in ‘Covid-19 mode’ and for sure we need to improve our system. We made PCR tests and Antibody tests for all staff. We even asked a few suppliers who were in attendance to do the same, to ensure to the max that nobody could spread the virus. The most important thing will be to be responsible and try to follow current government rules about virus prevention outside the paddock. We are conscious that part of the proposed racing program is linked to preventing Covid-19 from coming into the paddock, so let’s see if we can ‘win’ this race too.”
The Ducati Test Team and Michele Pirro finally returned to the track in Misano after the lockdown, for three days of private testing on the circuit named after Marco Simoncelli
The Ducati Test Team and Michele Pirro completed the third and final day of testing at Misano World Circuit today, finally resuming activities on track after the long suspension caused in recent months by the Coronavirus emergency.
After the Sepang Shakedown Test held in the first week of February, the rider of San Giovanni Rotondo was able to return in the saddle of the Ducati Desmosedici GP20 bike on Tuesday 23rd, Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th June at the Italian circuit located in Emilia Romagna, where he resumed the final preparations for the 2020 MotoGP season, which will finally kick off on the next 19th July at the Spanish circuit of Jerez de la Frontera.
Thanks to the favourable weather conditions during the three days, Pirro was able to complete the testing program scheduled with the team engineers, completing a total of 178 laps, setting good lap times and putting in his fastest lap in 1:33.000 on the final day.
Moreover, the Ducati Test Team was also able to test the safety protocol that will be adopted during the MotoGP events scheduled for this year. Apart from the adoption of individual protection devices, the Italian team has also introduced a communication system between technicians and the rider via microphones and earphones, in order to allow normal conversations in the pit garages, while maintaining the appropriate safe distances.
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team, #51)
"It was a positive three-day test, which has allowed us to regain some confidence with the bike after the long break of these months. Despite the scorching heat, the track, which was recently resurfaced, was in excellent condition and allowed me to feel comfortable immediately. We were able to set good lap times, which make us confident for the two races scheduled for September. We've been working on several electronics components and some aspects that were still pending after the Shakedown Test in Sepang. We are sure that thanks to these three days, the Ducati riders will be able to arrive at the first MotoGP race in Jerez ready to be immediately at the highest level of competitiveness."
THE SUN SETS ON MISANO TESTS, MICHAEL RINALDI IS AT REDDING AND REA'S HEEL!
As soon as the WorldSBK protagonists cross the gates of the circuit, they give back prestige, considering laptimes, to the series derivative championship! All Ducati Superbike teams, the Kawasaki Racing Team and some MotoGP riders, including the official Aprilia and KTM teams, got the rust due to months of inactivity off on the Misano track, which was kissed by good weather and high temperatures.
Michael Rinaldi and the Go Eleven Team arrived ready and prepared for the appointment, bringing several innovative solutions and some comparative to be tested. The rider from Romagna was able to stay complete the huge work for the overall sixteen hours of the session, doing more than one hundred laps. The choices gradually taken helped the team to get closer, with the necessary improvements on the bike, to the best lap time, without neglecting the work with used tyres. Go Eleven was able to confirm and improve itself session after session, till best lap in 1.33.560 in race configuration at the end of the second day, following closely Scott Redding and Johnny Rea, a few tenths from the two official riders and widely ahead of Chaz Davies and the Championship leader Alex Lowes. Really astonishing two days for the Italian team returning from the lockdown; inside the box you can breathe a unique harmony!
Now it's time to prepare and arrange the final details in view of the restart of the season; there is only one month left for Jerez de la Frontera, the first European stage of this "caliente" WorldSBK 2020. Michael, stay focused and trained, that soon it will be time to give the other riders a hard time!
Michael Rinaldi (Rider):
"This two day test was very positive for us! After many months we went back on track and completed several kilometers obtaining useful information for the restart of the Championship. At the end of the two days we found the best solution, and we also managed to be very fast. Considering that our time was scored with race tyre, while most of my opponents used the qualifying tyre, I can be satisfied with the work done. In race configuration we were even closer to Scott! Now we have to fix some details when the tyres become used, in view of the first seasonal Rounds. In the two days the bike has always been improving, the changes have given me more confidence and therefore I was able to ride my Panigale as I wanted. Thanks to all our fans and sponsors who, despite the difficult period, allowed us to return on the track as soon as possible; see you in Jerez! "
Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):
"It was fundamental for Go Eleven to participate at the two days test in Misano. After such a long period at home, the technicians needed to resume their work rhythm and, for the rider, it was important to get back on track and ride his Panigale V4-R. We are happy with the result of these two days of testing, because we have completed an intense work schedule. The lap time is important and today it satisfies us! Michael was very good, fast both on one single lap and in race peace, in line with Redding and the World Champion Rea. We can't wait to race in Jerez!"