Today, it was the turn of Monster Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales to lead a YZR-M1 clean sweep of the top Valencia MotoGP test times, setting a sub 1’30s lap to head Fabio Quartaro and Petronas SRT team-mate Franco Morbidelli.
Vinales was the only rider to drop into the 1’29s With a 1’29.949 on his 56th lap of 67. Yesterday’s quickest man Quartararo was only 0.164s in arrears with Morbidelli a further tenth behind. Vinales fastest was set on the ‘new’ bike – with a different chassis and new engine.
Team-mate Valentino Rossi was once again ninth, and The Doctor did 68 laps on Wednesday. He was within 0.968 of the top and suffered a mechanical problem in the afternoon, but got back out.
Quartararo and Morbidelli, meanwhile, didn’t say much about what they were working on – “some small things” and the Frenchman said it was more a day of riding than testing as yet. For a man only just starting his second season, the 64 laps were doubtlessly useful, however, and Morbidelli added another 52 to the team’s count.
For Cal Crutchlow it was a mammoth day of work. The Brit headed out on the 2020 bike, suffered a crash and but managed to prove Yamaha’s closest competitor on the timesheets with a 1’30.316 and improve his laptime from the weekend after 73 laps. Alex Marquez, on the other side of the LCR Honda garage, was the only man to do more laps. The rookie put in 79 on his second day as an HRC MotoGP rider, shaving six tenths off his time from Tuesday.
Reigning Champion Marc Marquez made some more Honda headlines, however. The number 93 premiered the aero seen on Crutchlow’s bike yesterday, with the all-black Honda breaking cover bearing a 93 in the afternoon, and he ended the day in seventh after 71 laps. He also suffered a failed getaway earlier in the day, and his teammate for the test – in the garage at least – also suffered an issue on Wednesday as Stefan Bradl ground to a halt. Nevertheless the German was able to complete 53 laps by the end of play.
Team Suzuki Ecstar were fifth and sixth with the new engine – previously having been put through its paces by test rider Sylvain Guintoli – the big focus for the Hamamatsu factory as they look for a step forward in terms of outright speed, and Joan Mir was the quickest Suzuki on day two. He put in a 1’30.427 and did 61 laps, teammate Alex Rins was just 0.076 off and did 47 laps. They plan to continue testing the engine at Jerez.
KTM stole a few headlines today, their speed, Pol Espargaro’s impressive showing and that of Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Iker Lecuona, and they had the new kids on the block, Brad Binder and Lecuona, taking some tips from the veterans. But there were also a few crashes, with each of the three racers all going down. Espargaro first, Lecuona later and Binder even later in the day.
Espargaro’s crash, however, led to his fastest lap as he was then forced to switch bike to another new chassis – and found immediate positives. He was eighth and did 46 laps, Pedrosa 14th after 48 laps and Lecuona just 0.045 off the three-time World Champion by the end of play. Binder did 66 laps.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso focused on gathering more information on what they tested yesterday – one big thing of note being a new chassis. Some sensors were spotted on the rear of the Borgo Panigale machine too on Wednesday, and the ‘salad box’ was back.
Danilo Petrucci, however, was not back. The Italian remained sidelined by his bothersome shoulder, although Michele Pirro was once again on track to put the laps in – 40 of them – and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) was all action stations too. The Aussie explained he’d been doing back to back comparisons with the first version of the 2020 machines because the number 09 was ruled out. Miller was fastest Ducati in 10th, just ahead of Dovizioso. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) was 12th, ahead of Pirro.
For Aprilia, it was another day of track action working with their 2019 machines. Aleix Espargaro was 16th after 43 laps, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini teammate Andrea Iannone in 19th. Espargaro crashed at the final corner, and Iannone ran on at turn one with the RS-GP then setting itself on fire. Test rider Bradley Smith was also on track and did another 32 laps to add to the information-gathering tally.