Barcelona Tire Test Day 1: Iannone Fastest As New Asphalt And Layout Means Scorching Lap Times

After Le Mans, the MotoGP teams had rushed from France down to Barcelona to test the new surface and layout at the Montmelo circuit. The track has been completely resurfaced, and extra runoff created at Turn 13 (the old Turn 12) which means that the corner can be restored to its former glory, before it was altered in the wake of the tragic death of Luis Salom in 2016.

Rain on the first day meant that the teams without concessions were forced to sit out the day, and wait for Wednesday, when much better weather is forecast. But the afternoon turned dry, and times soon started to drop. 

The new asphalt is obviously fast: Aleix Espargaro's former pole record, set in 2015 on the Suzuki GSX-RR was beaten by three riders, Andrea Iannone, Pol Espargaro, and Aleix Espargaro himself. That is an impressive time, as thought Turn 12/13 has been reinstated, the old sweeping left at La Caixa, Turn 10, has been permanently abandoned due to the lack of runoff. So the riders are using the much tighter corner used by F1, while keeping the traditional MotoGP layout at Turn 12/13.

Tomorrow, almost the entire field takes to the track, and we see how fast the track really is.

Times after day 1:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 29 Andrea Iannone Suzuki GSX-RR 1:40.422    
2 44 Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 1:40.519 0.097 0.097
3 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia RS-GP 1:40.522 0.100 0.003
4 42 Alex Rins Suzuki GSX-RR 1:40.602 0.180 0.080
5 45 Scott Redding Aprilia RS-GP 1:40.928 0.506 0.326
6 36 Mika Kallio KTM RC16 1:41.096 0.674 0.168
7 38 Bradley Smith KTM RC16 1:41.134 0.712 0.038
8 50 Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki GSX-RR 1:42.162 1.740 1.028
Pole Lap: 2015 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki GSX-RR 1:40.546 169.2 Km/h  
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Good point. Aprilia badly needs a fast test rider for their MotoGP bike, like they used to have in the wonderful 250 days in the shape of Marcellino Lucchi and later Franco Battaini (if I'm not mistaken).

Next year there may be a couple of MotoGP riders out of a job that are at least at a reasonable level speedwise. I would not be surprised to see one of those taking on a testing role at Aprilia. Alvaro Bautista springs to mind, or maybe Scott Redding will be appointed to that role, with Iannone not unlikely to take the second seat in the Gresini team next year.

Edit: I am indeed mistaken. It was of course not Franco Battaini, but Alex Debón who was a very fast test rider on the 250.

why was never considered to use the old chicane, I think they used that in the 90s, just after the hill on turn 9; that way they would be able to use the old turn 10 as they should arrive with a lot less speed