Bagnaia and Marini edge out Aleix Espargaro on Day 1 of the Misano Test, Quartararo reports key progress for Yamaha.
Day 1 of the Official MotoGP™ Misano Test is done and dusted and topping the timesheets is San Marino GP winner Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) with a 1:31.292. But Tuesday – and the two-day test in general – is more than just looking at the timesheets, because Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) made his long-awaited return to action and Yamaha rolled out a 2023 engine.
Undoubtedly, the biggest news of the day was the return of Marc Marquez. After completing 39 laps ahead of the lunch break, the eight-time World Champion and his team decided to sit out the rest of the afternoon in order to be ready for Day 2 – a great sign that his comeback was a success. The other great sign is that it didn’t take long for the number 93 to start testing new parts for HRC, as the Japanese giants continue to focus on getting their 2023 package right.
Marc Marquez, who finished 1.1s off the quickest time, was riding a black Repsol Honda with a new air intake, aero and downwash ducts on the side fairing, similar to what we’ve seen Ducati using for the past couple of seasons. The downwash ducts are believed to create some ground effect when the bike is on its side, giving more stability and more grip. It now looks like Honda are playing with this idea. In addition, Honda have another set of new side fairings just like the Aprilias that have the large, bulged-out side fairing that seems aimed at creating some ground effect similar to the way a floor does in F1.
One very notable thing to point out was HRC Test Rider Stefan Bradl testing a Kalex-built aluminium swingarm, as shown below. It’s a huge change for Honda as they have used their own in-house carbon swingarm for several years now.
Furthermore, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was running a brand-new, never seen air intake on one of his bikes. It’s a little wider and not quite as tall as the standard air intake, and differs from the one Marc Marquez was using too. As expected, there was plenty going on in the HRC ranks.
As we heard ahead of the test, the Iwata factory have a new engine to try in Misano. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) – who completed 80 laps – used it on Tuesday and confirmed that it’s a positive step, which is good news for the Iwata factory. The title chase leader was sixth quickest on the opening day, just under three tenths away from main rival Bagnaia.
A new chassis was also being put through its paces, while one of Franco Morbidelli’s (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) YZR-M1s was spotted with a new air intake. It’s possible that could be part of the 2023 engine package. Moreover, new wings were being tested, which seemed to be larger than those they have on the 2022 bike at the moment.
Aprilia Racing Test Rider Lorenzo Savadori has two bikes to test on Day 1, while it’s believed the Noale factory were testing some new wings. And talking of wings, Aprilia were back running the rear wing that we’ve seen appear a couple of times.
Both Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) and teammate Maverick Viñales took turns topping the times in the afternoon. Eventually, the Spaniards occupied P3 and P5 respectively at the end of play. Espargaro crashed unhurt at the tight, tricky Turn 14.
As strange as it sounds, there wasn’t too much to shout about in terms of updated parts in the Bologna stables on Tuesday. Visibly, anyway. Bagnaia did hint over the weekend that he didn’t think he would be testing too many new things, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t testing anything – far from it.
One thing that was noticed however was the sidepod wing extending down slightly further than the standard one Ducati have been using for some time.
Six Ducatis finished inside the top 10 with Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) second fastest, 0.181s off VR46 Academy colleague Bagnaia, while Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) – who crashed unhurt at Turn 15 – was the third quickest Desmosedici rider in P4.
Three-time World Champion and MotoGP™ Legend Dani Pedrosa was back on testing duties for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and the Spaniard was seen trying an updated seat and tail unit.
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the quickest RC16 rider on track, the South African finished P11, 0.624s down on Bagnaia’s pace. After an impressive ride last time out, Raul Fernandez (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) was just 0.059s off Miguel Oliveira’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 1:32.336, but the Spaniard’s day was slightly blighted by a crash at Turn 14.
With Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) sidelined through injury, 2022 FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup winner Dominique Aegerter was given the opportunity to throw his leg over the GSX-RR. The Swiss rider ended the day just 2.6s away from Pecco’s pace; a very impressive performance. On the other side of the box, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was trying some cooling parts for the rear of the bike. The Spaniard finished P12 on the timesheets, 0.6s off top spot.
Make sure you keep a keen eye on motogp.com and our social media channels throughout the day on Wednesday, because we can expect it to be another busy day on track. Simon Crafar will be live at 13:00 local time (GMT+2) for the latest updates, so be sure to tune in!
Marc Marquez returns at Misano
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) made his long-awaited return to the track at the Misano Test. The goal was to do 40 laps and ride during the morning session only, and it was mission accomplished for the eight-time World Champion
There was plenty of positivity from Marquez in his interview (quotes below) and, as he did feel up to it, plenty for him to test.
How was it?
“Tests are never easy, even if you do a normal pre-season, when you arrive in Malaysia you feel tired and feel the speed of the MotoGP. Here was no different, it was even more difficult. The first run was impressive to feel the torque of the MotoGP bike, but then step by step I started to get faster and especially more comfortable. Riding in a good way. It’s true I already realised that to do a long or race distance I still need to work a lot and work on the muscles in the shoulder, but ok. Already on the second run I was already doing quite good laptimes and we started to try new items for Honda and for the future. It’s an important test for me but also as important test for Honda.”
Is Honda on the right path for 2023?
“Honda is working a lot, they know and realise we’re in a difficult moment. Conditions in the test are very different to a race weekend, here now we have a lot of grip and rubber and we need to be careful what we try and what is what. But they are working, they are making a big effort an know they need to make a big change for 2023. They are about all the areas of the bike because to be competitive like the others you need to have a perfect bike.”
Are you riding the same as before?
“Of course before the operation I was riding in a different way. Still, now I feel it’s more a natural way, the arm was more in a natural way, especially in the left corners. But still I did two weeks in the gym, two days on the bike and then straight into MotoGP. The timing is quite tight and I still need to ride in a different way, more comfortable, and especially the consistency isn’t there, but it’s normal. I’m coming back from a big injury and even like this the laptimes were there, but everyone is so fast at this test, they come in with another rhythm from a race weekend, but that’s not our target. Today our target was do these 40 laps, try to understand first of all how was my condition, which wasn’t that bad, and that’s why I tried the aero items, and tomorrow we’ll try to do more laps.”
Are you coming to Aragon?
“I don’t even know if I’ll ride tomorrow, or in Aragon! Today I rode only the morning to try and ride tomorrow, now we already have stuff to do, stretching and physio, to be allowed to ride tomorrow. We will see! We can’t decide today, can’t decide tomorrow and won’t decide on Thursday if I’ll ride in Aragon or not. We need to understand how the arm reacts.”
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