2014 Qatar MotoGP FP2 Result: The Aleix Espargaro Show Part Deux

In the second MotoGP practice, open class rider Aleix Espargaro accomplished much of what he did in the first session at the Losail Circuit: Top of the timesheet and well clear of the field.  And while Andrea Dovisioso (2nd) closed within three-tenths of a second, he did that lap on a soft tire which he is unlikely to use in the race. Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top three with a 1'55.446, a lap time he consistently ran for much of the session.

The factory Hondas lurk in fourth and fifth. Dani Pedrosa, the quickest factory bke in FP1, managed to close within half a second of the elder Espargaro. World Champion Marc Marquez greatly improved from the first practice session, to claim fifth. Pass through another strata of satellite riders -- Bradley Smith (Yamaha), Stefan Bradl (Honda), Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) -- and there you will find the factory Yamaha of Valentino Rossi (9th) almost exactly a second slower than the open class Yamaha at the top of the charts. Andrea Iannone, just over a second off the pace, rounded out the top ten. Rossi's factory Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo was slower still in 11th.

The rider will practice again on Friday (FP3) to determine who goes straight to Qualifying Practice 2.


Pos. No. Rider Bike Time Diff. / Prev.
1 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha 1'54.989  
2 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'55.320 0.331 / 0.331
3 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda 1'55.446 0.457 / 0.126
4 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 1'55.562 0.573 / 0.116
5 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'55.607 0.618 / 0.045
6 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha 1'55.650 0.661 / 0.043
7 6 Stefan BRADL Honda 1'55.856 0.867 / 0.206
8 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha 1'55.913 0.924 / 0.057
9 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'55.984 0.995 / 0.071
10 29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 1'56.006 1.017 / 0.022
11 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 1'56.172 1.183 / 0.166
12 5 Colin EDWARDS Forward Yamaha 1'56.238 1.249 / 0.066
13 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati 1'56.720 1.731 / 0.482
14 69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda 1'57.006 2.017 / 0.286
15 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati 1'57.119 2.130 / 0.113
16 45 Scott REDDING Honda 1'57.296 2.307 / 0.177
17 17 Karel ABRAHAM Honda 1'57.368 2.379 / 0.072
18 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda 1'57.634 2.645 / 0.266
19 8 Hector BARBERA Avintia 1'58.290 3.301 / 0.656
20 63 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia 1'58.410 3.421 / 0.120
21 23 Broc PARKES PBM 1'58.436 3.447 / 0.026
22 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ART 1'59.078 4.089 / 0.642
23 70 Michael LAVERTY PBM 1'59.646 4.657 / 0.568


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is the answer to your question: when he put it on he went top three from below 10th position. So I guess it does make a difference. Given that, it won't be a huge surprise if a satellite Yamaha of 2013 starts from the front row on Sunday.

His race pace, though, at the test was only impressive when compared to last year's pace. Track looks faster this year (according to the times) so perhaps last year's race winning time won't be enough for a podium this year.

are we still not supposed to be excited? sky falling?

I'm not sure JL99 would relish the prospect of being teammate to MM93 on a bike that plays more to the Marquez style than to the Lorenzo style. Perhaps he would prefer to work to develop a weapon to beat MM93. Time will tell. My personal preference is to have the very top riders on different teams (but Jorge has not asked me what I think about it).

worst case scenario, if Lorenzo struggles this season, I'd much rather see him come back with fire in his eyes on the M1 hunting for #93

I'm w you Lew. The Yamaha is tailor made for Jorge's riding style and is going to SURGE back into contention w the Honda when it is Open. On that note -
Jorge has immediate fish to fry w Bstone for the tire scheduled to come out for round 6. He will be joined by some others that prefer the 2013 tire and don't see the need for the extra heat layer that they aren't getting up to temp ranges on many of the tracks. Bstone can do this. Will they?

Next bigger fish to fry? Jorge demanding Open Yamaha for 2015 pushing the entire new rules through the pipeline. This is a good thing that I hope is successful!

Let's assume the super soft tire is generally good for 5 tenths. Here at Qatar it is unusually helpful, good for an extra couple of tenths. Do you think any of the bikes will run it in a race? Will it make it past the halfway mark if they do?

This is fun having had the satellites and Opens test here! This race is going to be a hoot! (Sorry Jorge and Marc, but it IS interesting).

On MotoGP.com, Livio Suppo has offered the view that the opportunity to suggest software development ideas makes the 2016 spec ECU software rule acceptable to Honda.

http://www.motogp.com/en/videos/2014/Qatar+2014+Moto2+News (free video)

My interpretation: HRC has caved, and can save face by making this claim. Good news for all MotoGP fans who value closer competition and less rider reliance on electrons, IMO.

Or ... HRC, Yamaha and Suzuki have recognized (based on Ducati's experience with this new system) that MM will basically give them whatever they agree on as a group, and in effect, the factories will be the ones writing the "spec" software. That's what it sounded like to me from the video interviews.

IMO, it is doubtful that Dorna will be dis-interested in the software. Dorna has been pretty open and vocal about their objectives for reducing the role of advanced electronic rider aids. I'm not sure Dorna will be able to implement all that in 2016, but I feel confident they will move in that direction. And I also believe Ducati's recent experience with MM (basically, "crazy like a fox") is completely consistent with Dorna wanting to move that way over the longer term.

Um, yah. Have you noticed that the "Championship" software is getting more and more sophisticated, not less? What are the chances that the factories are going to be suggesting less sophistication, and that Dorna is going to be able to reject software specs that ALL of its MotoGP participants want to use?

It is definitely the soft tire that is contributing to these fast lap times. Dovi's other lap times were considerably slower- mostly in the 156s. Cal said in the press conference that he won't be able to race the soft tire in a single race this season. It definitely gives the open class bikes and Ducati a qualifying advantage. It's like they brought the qualifying tire back! Aleix was putting in some fast race simulations in testing but we may see a back up of bikes in the early laps on Sunday if we get a mix of open and factory bikes in the front two rows. I just don't see these fast times for the guys exploiting the soft option holding up over 22 laps. I would be stoked to be proven wrong but I imagine the factory boys will be charging to break through and away within the first 3 laps of the race. Jorge Lorenzo may be frustrated now but I'm not fool enough to bet against him at Qatar.

It is clear by this point that the factory bikes and riders have been absolutely neutered by the new system (Open rules, fuel, inferior tires). Sure, the "racing" looks to be closer and more diverse than it has been in many years. But any success the Open bikes will achieve will be overshadowed by the fact that the factory riders are riding with one hand tied behind their backs, so to speak. You want real speed? Free the factories!

You mean from their self-made prison, right? Because the factories are the ones that wanted this. Feel bad for the riders on the factory stuff if you want. But don't feel bad for the factories. This is the kind of theing they've been denying the fans for a decade.

What we're seeing here is that if you give a rider a little more fuel and a little more control he can out-perform the factories' vaunted electronics. Throw in a de facto Q tire and you've got a winner.

I can't imagine why anyone would be proud to win a fight with someone who has a hand tied behind their back.

You blame the factories, but they are the only ones racing. Just who were they holding back? Themselves?

What's with Cal? I thought he's gonna be up there neck n neck with dovi and CE? it's like a night and day with AE...

Any rumors about whether or not the soft tires can provide consistent performance over race distance?

On the Dorna feed they quoted a few riders absolutely excluding that possibility. It's also why EsA keeps on trying the harder option despite being a second slower. Not to say that he won't be a podium threat and perhaps challenge for the win, but he's not gonna run away with it as easily as practice times suggest.