Gigi Dall’Igna. He’s a tinker. Not only does he bring out a torque arm at the Jerez test last year to get everyone’s tongues wagging, he then, at Sepang, wheels out a piece of engineering last seen on a British Superbike ten years ago to further confuse the MotoGP pitlane.
On the top yoke of the Ducati GP19, a new lever/switch/knob/lever, call it what you will, was spotted and the best guesses seem to be it is a suspension lock to be used at the start of races. This has been used in motocross for donkey’s and Honda ran one in BSB a decade ago. It locks the suspension in place for a start so there is almost no travel, and then unlocks when the brakes are applied for the first time.
It would have to be a mechanical device as no electronics are allowed in the suspension setup. Or it is a massive mind-game on Dall’Igna’s part as while the other team’s are busy trying to work out what it is and how it works, they’re not getting on with their actual work. So it might have been an old radiator valve stuck on with some Gripfill.
Ducati also brought with them to test a triple-gilled aero package, which Andrea Dovizioso and Jack Miller ran before Danilo Petrucci smashed it to bits at turn five on his first lap. The torque arm also made another appearance - the thinking behind this is it’s an anti-squat device to help turn-in - as did new chassis, which didn’t work as well as the Bologna massive hoped.
On top of all that, there were two new fuel tank designs on show and a new version of the rear-mounted salad box which is believed to either hold some sort of chatter-damping electronics, or Jorge Lorenzo’s hopes and dreams…
Employing the adage that creativity is great but plagiarism is faster, Honda also rocked up with a rear-mounted salad box - also probably containing Jorge Lorenzo’s hopes and dreams - as well as a new seat unit and exhaust.
There was also a new look X-Wing type aero package around a new engine spec which was fed by the updated airbox arrangement debuted at Valencia.
Yamaha have already nailed down their engine spec, so concentrated on electronic strategies around acceleration and engine braking. A new aero package, which looked a lot like a depressed catfish, got a run out by both Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.
KTM reportedly brought 15 tons of shit with them to Malaysia in order to find some sort of spec for all four bikes. There were several engine specifications, fairings, seat units, exhausts and suspension - WP, for it is owned by KTM.
Suzuki had a new aero package and different chassis specs to try but didn’t give their riders the double exhaust that Sylvain Guintoli had been running during the shakedown test.
Aprilia rocked up with the bike they should have had last year, and also had a couple of swingarms to add into the mix.
Kawasaki. Oh, wait…