2016 Phillip Island MotoGP Test Thursday Times: Track Dries, Maverick Flies

After rain early in the day caused fears of yet another washout at Phillip Island on Thursday, the weather gods changed their minds and smiled on the second day of the MotoGP test. Sun and warmer temperatures in the second half of the day meant that everyone could get out in the dry, and get some serious work done.

Maverick Viñales ended up with the fastest time of the day, the Ecstar Suzuki rider having been close to the front all day and popping in an extra quick lap right at the end of the day. Viñales' time is a tenth quicker than Marc Marquez' best time from the race here in October, which was ridden in near-perfect conditions. Marquez took second spot, within a hundredth of his own race time, and over a tenth off Viñales, just edging ahead of the Movistar Yamaha pairing of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. Cal Crutchlow posted a strong time to take fifth, ending ahead Hector Barbera, the first of the Ducatis. The Avintia Ducati rider just pipped factory man Andrea Iannone by three thousandths of a second.

The times bear out that Michelin has done a good job in making a fast tire, but it was also clear that there was still work to do. Several riders fell on Thursday, including Dani Pedrosa and Yonny Hernandez, the crashes concentrated at Turn 4, Honda corner. That is the slow right-hand hairpin, one of just four right-hand corners. It is a common place to crash when the right-hand side of the front tire cools, and was one of the reasons Bridgestone debuted an asymmetric front at the circuit in 2014. Currently, Michelin have no plans of their own for an asymmetric front.

Times:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki GSX-RR 1:29.131    
2 93 Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 1:29.292 0.161 0.161
3 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha M1 1:29.357 0.226 0.065
4 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 1:29.404 0.273 0.047
5 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda RC213V 1:29.671 0.540 0.267
6 8 Hector Barbera Ducati GP14.2 1:29.854 0.723 0.183
7 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati GP16 1:29.857 0.726 0.003
8 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 1:29.917 0.786 0.060
9 45 Scott Redding Ducati GP15 1:29.941 0.810 0.024
10 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha M1 1:29.992 0.861 0.051
11 76 Loris Baz Ducati GP14.2 1:30.134 1.003 0.142
12 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati GP16 1:30.142 1.011 0.008
13 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha M1 1:30.154 1.023 0.012
14 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP15 1:30.156 1.025 0.002
15 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki GSX-RR 1:30.385 1.254 0.229
16 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati GP14.2 1:30.509 1.378 0.124
17 43 Jack Miller Honda RC213V 1:30.514 1.383 0.005
18 50 Eugene Laverty Ducati GP14.2 1:30.617 1.486 0.103
19 53 Tito Rabat Honda RC213V 1:30.650 1.519 0.033
20 12 Takuya Tsuda Suzuki GSX-RR 1:32.599 3.468 1.949
 

 

2016
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Comments

Really good, very strong in the race last year and another strong performance in this test. Really hope that he and the Suzuki will shine this year. Looking at the time sheets, it looks that the gap is really close in the top ten riders

So...Vinales near or at the top of the time sheets for the day and nearly the fewest laps compared to the rest of the field. Wondering if that should mean anything as well?

I am sincerely impressed by Vinales drive. He seems to be steady improving every time he goes out. Last year he had a good finish at PI, it is looking like he will be even stronger this year. It is no wonder so many teams seem interested in him. Marquez seems to be getting adjusted to the new bike. Lorenzo is Lorenzo, Rossi seems to be doing pretty good. Hector Barbera is a surprise, but keeps sticking his head above the line. Ian none I still believe is building on the new bike. All in all exciting stuff. Especially reading that Rossi has brought in Luca Cadalora as a riding coach. That is something I thought I would not EVER read. ;)

is the new Top Gun on the MotoGP scene! I am mightily impressed with his presentation and how articulate and analytical and patient he seems. And he is really just a kid. A thinking man, but still has that racer's edge.

He knows how to work with the team and the pressure, reminds me a little of a young Schumi or Vettel in F1. No drama just results.

It is as impressive as it is curious to see Hector Barbera consistently at the pointy end. He is on the Desmosedici GP14.2, a bike that is in essence still the 'old' Ducati, the one that was so terrible and killing careers. The modified version of the end of the 2014 season, but still. And here we are in 2016 and that thing is 6th and the fastest Ducati of all.
Is Barbera a genius or is that old Ducati concept not the turd we all thought it was, but actually very good now that it is running on Michelins? Did the spec Bridgestone tyre play a crucial role in Ducati's problems?
I know it is just testing and things will likely change quite a bit when the real racing starts, but it is not just this day that he's fast.

...said that Barbera made his best lap following him. Although I have no way to double check that, this isn't hard to believe! ;-)
Further, I believe that was his only lap in the 1:29 and the open software is not new to his team.
Anyway, even if I don't like him, I should give him credit, as he was able to do quite a few laps in the low 1:30s...