Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo topped the timesheets on day one of MotoGP testing at Misano, putting in a 1’36.996 to end only fractions ahead of team-mate Franco Morbidelli who shot into second in the final minutes.
Quartararo was the only rider under the 1’33 barrier but Morbidelli scraped it with his 1’33.019 to end only 0.023s in arrears. The lap put reigning champion Marc Marquez and his Repsol Honda down to third with 1’33.222.
Both Quartararo and Morbidelli weren’t testing anything in particular. It was the 20-year-old’s first visit to the venue on a premier class machine so the main aim was to find the best setup for the Grand Prix weekend, with electronics the main goal for Friday. Morbidelli wanted to test the Michelin tyres to find the best balance, with the aim of improving his grip.
Monster Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales were trying a second version of Yamaha’s 2020 engine, having tried a first one at the Brno Test. Viñales and Rossi finished 4th and 5th respectively to place all four Yamahas inside the top five, with the Iwata factory rolling out a different exhaust, similar to Suzuki’s double exhaust setup, as well as a carbon swingarm and a carbon cover on the front brake. The Doctor has three bikes in his garage, while Viñales was out testing the front aero that was seen in Brno and the new tail unit we saw in Brno.
Championship leader Marquez had three bikes at his disposal for most of Thursday, four by the end of play, with fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) having three to play with. Marquez’ completely black bike seemed to have a cover on the swingarm, while there was also some carbon reinforcement at the top of the chassis. HRC test rider Stefan Bradl was also on track with two bikes to use, one in Repsol colours and one in his usual red, white and purple livery. The German was also on track with EG 0,0 Marc VDS duo Alex Marquez and Xavi Vierge on Wednesday.
At Ducati, Andrea Dovizioso was back on his GP19 in the afternoon session having been declared fit to ride earlier in the day. Team Manager Davide Tardozzi said the Italian’s testing plan was cancelled as Dovi checks his physical condition on the bike after his Silverstone crash, with teammate Danilo Petrucci testing electronics. Test rider Michele Pirro had new chassis parts and settings to try, with the fairing he used at the Kymiring being used at Misano on Thursday. In addition, Petrucci, Pirro and Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller had the swingarm attachment back on their bikes.
In terms of lap times, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing had a very positive day. Pol Espargaro and Johann Zarco finished 6th and 8th respectively, with the duo both working towards the race at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. As always, KTM are constantly developing the RC16 and while working on race setup, the Austrian factory were also busy trying items on the chassis and engine. In the afternoon, test rider Dani Pedrosa took to the track before the MotoGP Legend does a full day of riding on Friday, with Zarco only riding on Thursday.
On the Red Bull KTM Tech 3 side, Miguel Oliveira’s test ended after two laps as the Portuguese rider was still feeling the pain from his Silverstone crash. He flew home on Thursday, with Hafizh Syahrin aiming to regain his confidence on the RC16.
In the Team Suzuki Ecstar garage, it was a return to action for Joan Mir after his injury layoff. The Spaniard finished P9 on the timesheets with a best time of 1’33.763 to finish 0.767 off Quartararo’s lap. British GP winner Alex Rins suffered a crash at Turn 8 near the end of the morning session. He was testing some settings for the race weekend, as well as checking parts on the swingarm, some electronics and a slightly different chassis they used in Brno to do some comparison work.
According to Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Technical Manager Romano Albesiano, his team were trying a very different setup on the RS-GP. In addition, both Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone were working on electronics, engine braking, the swingarm and the chassis. Espargaro finished 12th fastest with a best time of 1’33.842, with Iannone claiming P17.
Reale Avintia Racing’s Karel Abraham left the circuit early as he was suffering from injury. The Czech rider was on the bike in the morning, with teammate Tito Rabat completing an impressive 74 laps in the afternoon. The Spaniard will complete a full day of testing on Friday.
Michelin provided the teams with the same allocation as they will have for the race weekend. In addition, the tyre manufacturer gave the riders the new rear that had previously been testing in Barcelona and Brno in a medium compound. And, there was also a new casing to be tested on the front, which has been developed to improve grip under braking. This was tested for the first time on Thursday.