While most of MotoGP is still in launch mode, the test riders and concession teams have been busy preparing for the 2021 MotoGP season at Jerez. Honda, KTM, and Aprilia have been taking advantage of the warm spring temperatures at the Circuito de Jerez to test their bikes ahead of the first official test of the season at Qatar.
On track are Honda's test rider - and provisional replacement for Marc Marquez, should he not be fit at the start of the season - Stefan Bradl, KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa, and Aprilia's test rider/candidate for a full-time ride, Lorenzo Savadori. As Aprilia are the only factory still with concessions, not yet having scored sufficient podiums to lose their extra testing and development privileges, Aprilia's number one rider Aleix Espargaro is also there, testing the 2021 spec of the Aprilia RS-GP, which includes a new aero package according to the well-informed Italian website GPOne.com.
While Stefan Bradl had been quickest on the first day, it was Espargaro who was fastest on day two, the Aprilia rider posting a 1'37.747, according to the Jerez Circuit live timing website. To put that into perspective: in July last year, at the Andalusian Grand Prix (aka Jerez 2), Espargaro posted a time of 1'37.070 in FP3, a time which he would not match during qualifying. This early in the season, that is a promising time.
Stefan Bradl was second fastest on the Honda RC213V, which is said to have a heavily revised chassis for 2021. Dani Pedrosa continued his refinement work for KTM, posting the third fastest time, while Lorenzo Savadori, who has to see off Bradley Smith in the chase for the second Aprilia seat, was fourth fastest. Savadori is still struggling with a shoulder injury, so it should come as no surprise that his best time is over 2 seconds slower than his stablemate Espargaro.
Absent from the test are Ducati, Suzuki, and Yamaha. Michele Pirro has already tested at Jerez for Ducati back in January. Yamaha, meanwhile, won't start testing their new version of the Yamaha M1 until the Qatar test, scheduled to start on March 5th, where Cal Crutchlow will get his first taste of the Yamaha.
The reason for the delay, team manager Maio Meregalli explained during the launch, was the sheer quantity of new parts Yamaha had to test. "We are going to bring a lot of material, and as far as I have been told they don't remember in Japan the last time they have been able to prepare so many parts." Preparing, catalogging, packing, and shipping those parts to Qatar in time for the test was time consuming, leaving no room in the schedule to test earlier.
|6||Stefan Bradl||Honda RC213V||1:38.968|
|141||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia RS-GP21||1:38.975||0.007||0.007|
|41||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia RS-GP21||1:39.196||0.228||0.221|
|26||Dani Pedrosa||KTM RC16||1:39.209||0.241||0.013|
|32||Lorenzo Savadori||Aprilia RS-GP21||1:40.679||1.711||1.470|
|132||Lorenzo Savadori||Aprilia RS-GP21||1:42.385||3.417||1.706|
|41||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia RS-GP21||1:37.747|
|6||Stefan Bradl||Honda RC213V||1:38.289||0.542||0.542|
|26||Dani Pedrosa||KTM RC16||1:38.607||0.860||0.318|
|32||Lorenzo Savadori||Aprilia RS-GP21||1:39.869||2.122||1.262|