Jerez MotoGP test: Gossip, intrigue and rumour

Picture: GeeBee Images

Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone heaped high praise on Suzuki after the test, saying the policy of small steps instead of big leaps was the correct direction in which to progress. Rins spend the final day using a development version of the 2017 engine with which he found some pace and consistency.

The pair also had a couple of chassis to monkey with but didn’t attach the newer-spec engine to either, preferring to send back data to Japan in separate lumps.

Iannone was pleading with his crew to find some more soft tyres on the final day of the test so he could go and beat WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea’s 1’37.9s laptime. They did but he, erm, didn’t…

Pramac Ducati boss Francesco Guidotti enlisted the help of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizoso at Jerez to guide his new charge Jack Miller through some of the finer points of Desmo wrestling.

The youngster had impressed at Valencia on his first time out and continued the trend while Danilo Petrucci got on with the job of evaluating parts that may be nailed on to the 2018 bike that makes its debut at Sepang in late January.

Former Pramac pilot Scott Redding is apparently shocked over how much new team-mate Aleix Espargaro doesn’t weight and is now looking to lose a few pounds. Now, Redding is a long way from being Pukka Pies Customer of the Month but he is a big old unit naturally. Espargaro weighs in at around 66kg and is 1.8m tall. Redding is taller but is bigger built and about 10kg heavier so intends to get skinny with it…

Pol Espargaro is banking on KTM’s next new engine being available for the Sepang test. He requires a little more turn of speed on corner exit and a bit more speed mid-corner too. He, and Bradley Smith, were working with new swingarms to that very end.

Eugene Laverty finished his two days on the Milwaukee Aprilia Superbike and switched to a version of the RS-GP which he declared had a lot of ‘potential’. Laverty ended up a resectable 1.8s off the pace on a bike he had not ridden before.

Believe it or not, Cal Crutchlow has been a big help to Taka Nakagami, the Japanese rider has said. Crutchlow gave his new LCR team-mate a tow around a few times in order to better help him understand the lines but Nakagami said it wasn’t easy as Crutchlow was a second to the good.

Reigning and new MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez has gone to great lengths to assure everyone who will listen that staying with Honda from 2019 onwards is his priority when the contract men come knocking.

The Spaniard has been repeatedly linked to a big-money, Red Bull-engineered deal with KTM when his current tenure with HRC expires at the end of next season. It’s hard to see him moving unless he is bored with riding for Honda.

At this stage of the game, money shouldn’t be even the third thing on his mind but he will probably become the highest paid rider in the paddock.

Yamaha did not attend the test - and who could blame them as getting dusted by Alex Lowes would not have gone well - preferring to attend Sepang and go round and round away from the media’s prying eyes…

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