The sweet sound of MotoGP™ returns with a one-day test at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto.
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) finishes Wednesday’s MotoGP™ Jerez Test at the top of the timesheets, just as he did in Qatar last time we had MotoGP™ bikes on track. A 1:37.793 in the afternoon session saw the Spaniard take the first spoils of a restarted 2020 as we heard the sweet symphony of MotoGP™ machines roaring out of pitlane. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) claimed P2 as both Yamahas went quicker in the scorching afternoon temperatures, with reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) sitting P3 – but his morning time the best of his day.
The top track temperature recorded in Jerez on Wednesday was 57 degrees, adding an extra challenge to that of returning to the track after four months without MotoGP™. That was in the afternoon session, taking place at a similar time to when the race will be held, making it all the more vital for the riders to get accustomed.
The morning session went ahead without any drama but at the beginning of the second session, Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia Racing Team Gresini bike encountered an issue, dropping some fluid on the circuit at Turn 11. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) were the unfortunate duo to crash as a result, riders ok but red flags shown to enable the track cleanup.
Once play resumed, Marc Marquez was the man to beat as he – at one point – sat 0.7 clear of his nearest rival. After HRC seemingly suffered some troubles in preseason testing, that was a good sign for the marque and the number 93 was looking like his normal self on track. Quartararo didn’t leave it long to strike back, however, subsequently getting the better of the eight-time World Champion by 0.030 on the combined times to go P1. The shuffle still wasn’t done though, as Viñales then hit back with less than five minutes on the clock to go over a tenth clear and keep the P1 he’s so often occupied in preseason.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) claimed P4 on his GSX-RR, another with previous form for 2020 pace, although everyone down to fellow Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Joan Mir in P9 failed to go faster in the afternoon conditions. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was P5, with Aleix Espargaro giving the Aprilia another good showing in P7 despite the earlier issue encountered. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) made for close company though, with Mir and fellow MotoGP™ sophomore Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) rounding out the top ten… and a top ten split by just 0.624.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) was P11, ahead of a good day’s work from Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing) in P12. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) – the latter on the way back from his collarbone injury – completed the top 15.
That’s it from Wednesday’s action and after a scorching first day back, it looks to be as close as ever. In total, out of the 22 riders, 10 were able to go quicker in the afternoon – will that stand them in good stead for Sunday? We’ll start to see more answers from Friday morning at 9:55 (GMT +2).
MotoGP™ combined standings
1 Maverick Viñales – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha 1’37.793
2 Fabio Quartararo – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha +0.118
3 Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team – Honda +0.228
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