Fabio Quartararo led a Yamaha clean sweep of the top three times at today’s Brno MotoGP test where the leading 12 riders were covered by less than a second.
Quartararo, on the Petronas-backed satellite M1, was a second off Marc Marquez’ pole record with a 1’55.616 for top spot and he was followed by the works Yamaha of Maverick Vinales, just 0.012 behind. Franco Morbidelli, on the sister Petronas bikes, was third and a further 0.127s in arrears.
One of the main talking points leading up to today was Yamaha rolling out the first version of next year’s bike. Valentino Rossi was out on a blacked-out YZR-M1 early in the day as he and teammate Maverick Viñales got their first taste of what the 2020 bike will be like.
In addition, the pairing had a new seat unit to test for their 2019 bikes. The duo were out on track until the chequered flag was waved as ‘The Doctor’ shot up to P6 on his final run, 63 laps were completed by the nine-time champion with Viñales getting 74 laps under his belt ahead of Austria.
In the Petronas box, pacesetter Quartararo tested carbon forks on his M1, the same as the factory team use. Meanwhile, Morbidelli improved his time last in the session to set the third quickest time of the day and got a solid 78 laps under his belt – the same total as Quartararo. The Italian tried a thumb brake which he has already used on some occasions, with his main focus being on settings.
For Czech GP winner and Championship leader Marc Marquez, three bikes were at his disposal. One bike was the one he raced with which has no carbon fibre reinforcing, the second had a small carbon fibre insert near the steering head and the third had a smaller carbon fibre insert. The seven-time champion also tried a new Honda aero package on one of the RC213Vs, but he did most of his work on his standard bike and as he completed 70 laps, finishing eighth on the times.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) also had three bikes to play with during the test. Similar to Marquez, one was his standard 2019 bike while another had the reinforced carbon chassis. Another had some “test items” on it and, again similar to Marquez, the British rider did most of his work on his standard 2019 package to end the day P5. Teammate Takaaki Nakagami was mainly focusing on improving his setup, with the Japanese rider doing a Michelin tyre test at the end of the day to work on edge grip.
At Team Suzuki Ecstar, there was a high-speed crash for rookie Joan Mir with just under 45 minutes of the session remaining that brought out the red flags. Mir’s GSX-RR flew over the fence and into the forest at turn one and as a precaution, the Spaniard was air-lifted to hospital for further checks.
Teammate Alex Rins continued to work with the new aero package seen across the weekend, but he also had a small evolution on the chassis and swingarm that he tested in Barcelona. The Spaniard finished fourth fastest having completed 69 laps at Brno, with Mir also completing 69 laps – some while using the aero package for the first time - before his crash to end the test in seventh.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso completed a steady 48 laps on Monday to finish 12th on the times, with the Italian testing a new swingarm for the Bologna factory. Teammate Danilo Petrucci was working on setup as they try to understand why the performance wasn’t quite there at Brno.
In the Pramac box, Czech GP podium finisher Jack Miller confirmed he had been trying a new Ducati chassis during the weekend. The Australian was back to the one he used for the first half of the season for most of Monday’s test, with Miller doing back-to-back runs to confirm the new one was the way forward. Moreover, Miller made progress with the shock and he was happy with the new tyres he tested for Michelin.
Teammate Francesco Bagnaia was focused on getting more miles under his belt and having found a new setup in FP4 at Brno, the reigning Moto2 World Champion will hope to take more confidence into Austria. Bagnaia ended the test as the fastest Ducati, placing ninth – 0.632 from Quartararo’s time.
Red Bull KTM’s Johann Zarco had a short day to keep his energy levels high for the team’s home race in Austria this weekend, the Frenchman completed the least number of laps of anyone – 31. On the other side of the factory garage, Pol Espargaro circulated 49 times as KTM worked on a little bit of everything: settings, electronics, chassis, aero package and suspension.
Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira got the chance to ride a full factory spec machine at Brno, he finished just over a tenth off Espargaro on the timesheets in P14 and P15 respectively.
Aleix Espargaro had a carbon-reinforced chassis to try during the morning hours for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, and in the afternoon the Spaniard tested a new swingarm.