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Feb 17, 2017

Maverick Vinales Fastest Again As MotoGP Test Ends At Phillip Island

Maverick Vinales (25).

FIM MotoGP World Championship Test

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Australia

February 17, 2017

Day Three Best Lap Times (all on Michelin tires):

1. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), 1:28.549

2. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:28.843

3. Dani Pedrosa, Spain (Honda), 1:29.033

4. Jonas Folger, Germany (Yamaha), 1:29.042

5. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Honda), 1:29.101

6. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), 1:29.103

7. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), 1:29.248

8. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Ducati), 1:29.342

9. Jack Miller, Australia (Honda), 1:29.358

10. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), 1:29.361

11. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), 1:29.470

12. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Suzuki), 1:29.547

13. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), 1:29.615

14. Johann Zarco, France (Yamaha), 1:29.670

15. Hector Barbera, Spain (Ducati), 1:29.791

16. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM), 1:29.857

17. Loris Baz, France (Ducati), 1:29.977

18. Bradley Smith, UK (KTM), 1:29.978

19. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Ducati), 1:29.984

20. Scott Redding, UK (Ducati), 1:30.005

21. Sam Lowes, UK (Aprilia), 1:30.200

22. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Ducati), 1:30.452


Best Overall Test Times (all on Michelin tires):

1. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), 1:28.549

2. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:28.843

3. Dani Pedrosa, Spain (Honda), 1:29.033

4. Jonas Folger, Germany (Yamaha), 1:29.042

5. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Honda), 1:29.101

6. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), 1:29.103

7. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), 1:29.248

8. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Ducati), 1:29.342

9. Jack Miller, Australia (Honda), 1:29.358

10. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), 1:29.361

11. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Ducati), 1:29.411

12. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), 1:29.470

12. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Suzuki), 1:29.547

13. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), 1:29.615

14. Johann Zarco, France (Yamaha), 1:29.670

15. Hector Barbera, Spain (Ducati), 1:29.791

16. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM), 1:29.857

17. Loris Baz, France (Ducati), 1:29.977

18. Bradley Smith, UK (KTM), 1:29.978

20. Scott Redding, UK (Ducati), 1:30.005

21. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Ducati), 1:30.142

22. Sam Lowes, UK (Aprilia), 1:30.200



More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Full house: Viñales tops the #AusTest

Movistar Yamaha rider once again tops the timesheets to make himself the fastest man at every test so far

New kid on the Yamaha block Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) has done it again at Phillip Island, going even faster on Day 3 to top the timesheets once more. Fastest on Day 2 and fastest during testing at Sepang and Valencia, the Spaniard has hit the ground running in his new MotoGP™ home – ending the Australia test ahead of the Repsol Honda Team: Marc Marquez in second and Dani Pedrosa in third.

Viñales put in a 1:28.549 early in his impressive day’s work; a time unthreatened until the final flag. Completing 101 laps and able to put in 1:28 laps in a row, the Spaniard also managed to rake in the laptimes in the 1:29 bracket in another ominous show of form. His teammate – nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi – ended Day 3 in P11 and 0.921s in arrears. The “Doctor” did a best of 1:29.470 in the third session, but is bumped down to P12 on combined times.

The closest chasers to the portentous pace of Viñales were Repsol Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. Marquez, who did 107 laps on Day 2 and is the only other rider in the illustrious 1:28 club, did a best of 1:28.843 as he prepares for his title defence – with another impressive 96-lap workload completed. Pedrosa, who was ill on Day 2 and only went out on track for the afternoon, was back on form on Day 3 and put in 65 laps with a quickest effort of 1:29.033, just missing the 1:28s and slotting into P3 on both Day 3 and combined timesheets.

The fastest rookie on Days 1 and 2 kept his crown on the third and final day of testing, as Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) shot up into P4. The German, who did an incredible 1:29.042, also suffered a crash but remained just ahead of 2016 Australian GP winner Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda). Folger’s teammate, two-time Moto2™ World Champion Johann Zarco, ended the #AusTest P15 on combined times with a 1:29.670.

With Crutchlow locking out the top five, another impressive rookie was hot on the Brit’s tail: Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar). Beating new teammate Andrea Iannone on the timesheets on Day 2 and repeating the feat on Day 3, Rins put in a 1:29.103 to end up only 0.002 off the number 35 on the combined timesheets – despite a small crash. “Maniac” Iannone ended up P13 overall and twelfth on Day 3, completing 77 laps in the final session with a best of 1:29.547.

Seventh and eighth was a Ducati Team lockout. Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo were separated by less than a tenth, and both completed over 70 laps. “DesmoDovi” is on test duty for the team, with “Spartan” Lorenzo’s focus more angled at adapting to the Desmosedici. The Italian’s best was a 1:29.248, with the Spaniard just behind on a 1:29.342.

Local hero Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was the next man up, with the Australian impressing once again after proving a constant force to be reckoned with in the top ten. 2016 Assen winner Miller did a best of 1:29.358 to line up just behind five-time World Champion Lorenzo, flying the EG0,0 Marc VDS flag alone at his home track until injured teammate Tito Rabat hopes to get back down to work at the Qatar test.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was another who impressed, taking P6 on Day 2 and locking out the top ten on combined times. The Spaniard, whose best lap was a 1:29.361, put in 65 laps on Day 3 for the Noale factory, with rookie teammate Sam Lowes adding another 57. Lowes’ best was a 1:30.200.

Espargaro’s compatriot Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) was one of the few riders to not improve on Day 3, but his time from the second session is enough to keep him P11 on the combined timesheets – just ahead of Valentino Rossi. Former 125 World Champion Bautista’s best was a 1:29.411.

Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci was the final rider in the top fifteen, taking P14 overall – just ahead of Zarco. The Italian, on the GP17 Desmosedici, did a 1:29.615 to end the Australian test just over a second off the best lap by Viñales.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing made a huge leap up in laptime on the third and final day at Phillip Island. Both riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith put in laps under the 1:30 barrier, with the Spaniard’s best a 1:29.857 and the Brit’s a 1:29.978. Both within a second and a half of P1, the timesheets bode well for the Austrian factory as the road to Qatar gets shorter.

Next up is Losail International Circuit for another test – the last – from the 10th to 12th of March, before the lights go out at the same venue later in the month and 2017 hits the gas. 



More, from a press release issued by Marc VDS Racing Team:

Positive Phillip Island test for on form Miller

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller heads home from Phillip Island in a positive frame of mind after an extremely successful three-days of testing. The 22-year-old improved his lap time once again on the final day to end ninth on combined timings.

Warm and sunny weather greeted the riders as they arrived to start the third and final day of the test but, once again, with a strong and unpredictable wind causing some issues especially through turns two and three.

This was a particular problem during Miller's race simulation, which he undertook just before the lunch break, as it was impossible to predict the strength or the direction of the wind, both of which changed with each lap.

Despite the wind the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider managed to set his fastest time of the test today, to finish just 0.809s off the fastest time, set by Maverick Viñales.

Jack Miller: 9th – 1'29.358 – 93 Laps

"These three days here at Phillip Island have been really positive for us. For the first time in a long time I feel like I'm in charge of the bike and not the other way round. We came here to confirm what we learnt in Sepang and we've done that, so we know our base set up works at two very different tracks and I'm confident it will be the same in Qatar at the final test. There is still some work to do before we get the season underway next month, but we've done much of the hard work and it's now just a case of refining what we have to find the final few tenths we're missing. Overall I'm pleased with our preparations for the new season and looking forward to the final test in Qatar next month."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

"This was another very positive test for Jack and one that will further boost his confidence as the start of the season approaches. He proved once again in Phillip Island that this year he's both fast and consistent and the fact that he completed three days of testing with no mistakes and without a single crash shows that he still has something in his pocket if it's needed. A good job by Jack and a good job by the team and one that I'm confident will be repeated during the third and final test in Qatar, where we hope Tito will be back in action too."



More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech3:

Folger fires warning shot to rivals after finishing Phillip Island test in 4th – Zarco confidently looks towards the future

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo rounded out the second pre-season test in Australia with two solid performances, which leaves them fired up for the next outing in Qatar as the 2017 season gets closer. Jonas Folger delivered a determined and highly impressive showing by concluding the event in 4th and as the quickest rookie after finishing just 0.009 behind Dani Pedrosa and less than half a second from the front. Whilst, Johann Zarco dug deep as he gathered vital knowledge before speeding to a personal best that left him six-tenths behind his teammate and 0.200 back from Valentino Rossi. The third and final MotoGP pre-season test will commence on the 10th March, with the highly anticipated campaign kicking off on the 26th March.

Jonas Folger

Position: 4th Time : 1'29.042 Laps: 190

"Today was another good day and we can head home feeling positive for the future and happy about what we accomplished at Phillip Island. This morning, I got straight to work and I was able to cut my lap time further, which was a strong start. After that, the team and I tried a lot of settings on the bike but I was never 100% sure about which direction was the best one to take, despite the rhythm being quite good. Then, I started a race simulation but after three or four laps, I crashed at turn six. I returned to the track on my second bike that had a different setting, and after completing eleven laps or so, my confidence came back and I became faster and faster, which was very important. Now we know which direction we have to head towards and we will try again in Qatar. However, for the moment, we can be fully satisfied about what we completed here because the rhythm was good, the lap time was strong, we tried many options and we sorted a lot of things out, so we can all be really content."

Johann Zarco

Position: 15th Time: 1'29.670 Laps: 255

"The third and final day at Phillip Island went smoothly for me and now I am looking forward to the next track appearance in Qatar. Once again, the conditions were clear and sunny, which was good for my confidence and it meant that we could ride uninterrupted. I improved on yesterday’s best time in the morning and then I just kept working and completing laps. In the end, I am pleased about the distance that we covered today. This circuit is not one of my favourites but because of the number of laps which I rode, I am now able to understand the bike better and we can adjust and improve more settings. This is important for the next test because I know that I will be stronger at other venues."



More, from a press release issued by Octo Pramac Racing:

Octo Pramac Racing team concludes the second official Irta testing at Phillip Island

The second official testing of the 2017 MotoGP season came to an end with the third day of activity at the Phillip Island circuit today. Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding have concluded in thirteenth and twentieth position respectively, but the classification is not as important in the light of the great work done during the three days spent in Australia.

Petrux and his team brought forward the development - in terms of set-up configurations and experimentations - of the Ducati Desmosedici GP 2017, going back home with a significant amount of data as well as very interesting improvements on race pace.

Scott tried to improve the feeling with his Ducati Desmosedici GP 2016 but has not found the ideal conditions to make the most of the bike. After lapping well both in the first run of the morning and immediately after the lunch break, Redding failed to take that step forward that would help him to get closer to the Top 10.

13th – Danilo Petrucci - 1:29.615 – 57 laps

I go home with the certainty we have done a great job of development. We had some little issues that did not allow us to be effective on lap-time, but this is not so important right now. I'm happy with race pace. Of course we are not close to the top yet, but we are improving.

20th – Scott Redding - 1:30.005 – 74 laps

In these three days of testing we made some improvements even if we didn’t manage to find consistency. We have to work still a lot on the set up to find the best feeling. The bike has a lot of room for improvement and I hope to explore it in Qatar, on a track more suited to the Ducati.



More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Strong final day for the Repsol Honda Team at Phillip Island

The second official three-day pre-season test proved to be very productive for Marc Marquez, who today celebrated his 24th birthday, and for teammate Dani Pedrosa. Both riders were able to keep a very strong pace throughout the day and concluded the test in second and third positions, respectively, in the combined times.

On another fair day blessed with sunny conditions, the Repsol Honda riders wasted no time in taking to the track at 9:45 a.m. in order to take advantage of a 15 minute practice-start window that was implemented at the beginning of day. After that they continued to work positively on their RC213V setup and on engine mapping, in addition to testing the new tyre specs that Michelin brought to this test.

Marc Marquez

2ND 1:28.843

“I’m very happy with how it went today because we improved a lot, especially in the afternoon, even if I did my best lap time in the morning. In the end I felt much more comfortable and it seems that yesterday’s long runs were useful for improving the electronics and getting closer to the level we wanted to reach. Overall, I think it has been three very positive days, and we did a good job. Of course we shouldn't forget that this circuit is quite particular, and in Qatar we’ll see where we really are. Today I had a funny present from my team, a magnifying glass; I know I’m quite persistent in asking to check the data to find the issues we had, and they told me to find it myself! I’m very thankful that HRC is putting in a lot of effort, and step-by-step we’re getting better. I’d like to wish all the best to my Crew Chief Santi [Hernandez], who wasn't able to be here at Philip Island because of some medical checks. We all missed him and we’re looking forward to seeing him with us again at the next test!"

Dani Pedrosa

3RD 1:29.033

“Overall I think it’s been a very positive test, especially considering that this isn’t one of my favourite tracks. I was riding quite well and I think we improved day by day. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling well but today I felt a bit better and we were able to do a good job on the track. The team has worked very well. We focused again on electronics and on the setup of the bike, and the only thing we missed was a long run, as we ran out of time. Michelin have also made some good steps forward with the tyres. All in all, we can say we’re heading in the right direction, even if we still have some work to do.”



More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Andrea Dovizioso seventh and Jorge Lorenzo eighth overall at the end of the final day of MotoGP testing at Phillip Island

Three days of MotoGP testing came to a close today at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia, with Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo finishing seventh and eighth on the day and in the timesheets. The Italian rider did a total of 73 laps, setting a best time of 1’29.248 while his Spanish team-mate was close behind with a quickest time of 1’29.342 in his 75 laps.

The MotoGP riders will return to the track for third and final session of pre-season testing from 10 to 12 March at the Losail circuit in Qatar.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 73 laps - 1’29.248 (7th)

“In these three days at Phillip Island we have managed to get through a lot of work, gathering lots of useful information. We worked hard on the set-up and on several aspects of the chassis, further improving the feeling. Overall it was a good test, above all I’m happy I managed to do my times when it was the right moment and this makes me feel good. However I’m not completely satisfied because we still haven’t managed to totally improve several characteristics of the bike and so we will have to put more effort into our work.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 75 laps – 1’29.342 (8th)

“Today we made an important step forward to better understanding the bike, just like we did on the final day of the test in Sepang, and my lap times improved a lot. It was a pity that we were not able to use the soft tyre this morning, when the track conditions were ideal, because I think I could have got my time down by another three-tenths. But, as I said, for me at this moment the times are not as important as the feeling on the bike and understanding the most efficient way to ride it. For the moment we’ve still got a lot of work to do, especially to get the bike to turn in the corners. In any case, all things considered, I think that we finished this test in quite a positive way.”



More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:

RINS 6TH IN AUSTRALIA TEST AS IANNONE FOCUSES ON PACE

Team Suzuki Press Office – February 17.

Alex Rins – 6th (combined times)

Andrea Iannone – 13th (combined times)

The second pre-season testing session ended today in Phillip Island with the positive result of Alex Rins well into the top-10, with a best lap of 1:29.103s that positions him in sixth place for the day; the same as the three-day combined classification. More race-oriented work prevented Andrea Iannone from going for a proper time-attack, resulting in his 13th place in the classification.

The growth by Rins and his crew finally created positive results with the young Spaniard making progress with his riding style. This allowed him to consistently place in the highest part of the timesheets. Steps forward were also taken in regards to his capability to understand the machine as well as to report feedback and directions to engineers who were able to try several options to determine the correct development path for him. Even though he also incurred a slide, he managed to get back on the bike immediately and regain his pace, which is an important and positive sign.

Important progress has also been made by Iannone, who had been requested to do more in order to give important feedback to the development team. He struggled to find the needed confidence for a proper time attack, but he managed to make a long test run that gave the engineers important data. He will take advantage of the next test in Qatar to check the improvements that will be made and also find a more effective performance on the single lap.

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“This test was different from Sepang. In Malaysia we could find a good lap time, while we left many things to be tested. Here, we struggled more with the lap times but the work has been very intense and we could test many possible solutions. From my point of view, this is very important because we can bring back a great deal of information to Japan to develop some improvements for the Qatar test and eventually, the race. For this reason, this test has been positive. We tried new cowlings and they proved to have positives and negatives that will have to be analysed. We also tried different swing arms and set-ups, finding important indicators. Andrea struggled here a little more to have a good feeling about it, but soon we will be able to deliver him better settings. I trust he is a very fast rider, so I don’t have many concerns for his position in the timesheets. Alex did quite a good job; very consistent in the lap-time and often into the top-10 which means he is progressing well and gives us good hopes for further improvements.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“We had a positive last day of testing with both riders, although from different perspectives. Alex managed to score a fast lap time, which is something positive, but equally important is that he consistently improved his performance throughout the entire three days and we’re satisfied by his progress. Another positive sign is that although he incurred a slide very late this afternoon, he managed to recuperate his confidence immediately and lap-speed soon after. That indicates he is getting more-and-more mature. Lastly, Andrea struggled today, but we have called on him to further our development work; he managed to make a long run whose data will be very helpful to our engineers. Now that we have concluded this second test, we move to what is probably the most important of the pre-season series, the one in Qatar. It will be the very last one before the season kicks off. We have to look ahead and get ready for the first race.”

Alex Rins:

“The truth is that I’m very satisfied with these three days of testing. Apart from the best lap, the most important thing is that our progress during the sessions has been consistent and significant, cutting more than 2.3 seconds since Day One. We are able to better understand the machine and also develop a finer sensitivity with the settings and the changes. With my team, we are working very intensively, and this pays us back in the end. We still have many areas to improve, both in the GSX-RR and in my riding, but our ideas are getting clearer after each session. I also had a little crash today, but this didn’t affect my performance. I’m satisfied with these days and confident that we will be able to further improve.”

Andrea Iannone:

“We understand more-and-more the direction we need to take for the future. I managed a very constructive long run where we could put together all the information collected in these three days and I must say the result was not bad at all. Obviously, I couldn´t take advantage of the new tyres for a proper time attack. I ruined the front tyres as I used them so much for the long run attempts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Therefore, my position in the classification is not the one I’d like, but looking overall, we did a good job. We are working on the electronics but not just there. We have many areas where we can make big or small improvements, and we are trying to fix everything. These kinds of tests require time and patience. It is like being a test rider more than a race rider. It is hard to be in the position of tapping the bike´s full potential, but I’m confident that in Qatar we will reap the benefits of this hard work.”



More, from a press release issued by Movistar Yamaha:

 MOVISTAR YAMAHA POSITIVELY WRAP UP PHILLIP ISLAND TESTING

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi successfully signed off their testing programme at the second official IRTA test today, securing first and twelfth place respectively in the combined standings.

Phillip Island (Australia), 17th February 2017

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP ended the Phillip Island MotoGP Official Test with positive findings today. With the importance still firmly set on bettering tyre life and improving their race pace, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi completed the third and final day of testing taking first and eleventh place respectively in today's timesheets and first and twelfth in the combined standings.

This morning, Viñales was once again on the attack in the early stages of the eight-hour session. Making the most of his YZR-M1's nimble character at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit he dropped the best time of the test, a 1'28.549s on lap 13, within the first hour to slot into first place in the rankings with a margin of 0.294s.

The young Spaniard‘s attention shifted to the last details of his bike's setting in the afternoon before it was time for two race simulations. Posting strings of low to mid 1‘29s, he completed 101 laps today. All the while, his best time remained unchallenged, leaving Viñales unbeaten in the overall results of the first three 2017 MotoGP pre-season tests in Valencia, Sepang and Phillip Island.

Teammate Rossi had a more challenging outing, but stayed focused on his goal. Determined to give his engineers as much data as possible to base the next development steps on, he worked down his testing checklist, making decisions on various settings.

In the afternoon, the Italian embraced the last opportunity to lessen his bike‘s tyre degradation at the Phillip Island circuit, which is known to be hard on tyres. He completed a total of 52 laps today. His fastest morning time, a 1‘29.470s, initially earned him provisional sixth place, 0.921s behind his teammate. However, as his competitors‘ pace quickened throughout the day, Rossi was pushed back to eleventh.

The team and Japanese engineers will go over the data to prepare the next steps ahead of the upcoming MotoGP season. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Qatar MotoGP Official Test from March 10th - 12th.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

Today we had the opportunity to attempt two race simulations with Maverick and we also tried some new settings with Valentino. The fast pace that Maverick was able to keep up during the long runs proves that we have improved the rear tyre life, which was one of our main objectives for this season. Though we couldn‘t fully decide which chassis we will use, we accomplished most of what we had set out to do here and we leave Phillip Island topping today‘s and the combined timesheets thanks to Maverick‘s impressive 1‘28.549s lap. We secured a lot of interesting information, which will allow our engineers to prepare another step for the test in Qatar in March.

MAVERICK VIÑALES

It was a very positive test for us. We came here to try many items and now we got things clear and we already know which set-up we can start using in Qatar. We did a lot of work and I‘m happy about that. Today we concentrated mainly on the race pace and I‘m satisfied, but we‘re still able to improve. We didn‘t decide on the fairing yet, it‘s still totally open, you never know.

VALENTINO ROSSI

Today we worked a lot on the pace for the second half of the race, because we suffered in that area last year. We tried something quite different, but in the end we didn‘t improve a lot, so we‘ll have to try something else. I think the bike has good aspects, especially the engine, but for sure this test was more difficult for me than the one in Sepang. I‘m not very happy and we need to try to do better.



More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:

MOTOGP - POSITIVE TESTS FOR APRILIA AT PHILLIP ISLAND

ALEIX ESPARGARÒ FAST AND CONSISTENT ON HIS 2017 RS-GP, SAM LOWES ALSO MAKING CLEAR PROGRESS

ALBESIANO: “WE KNOW HOW TO IMPROVE MORE, OPTIMISTIC FOR THE SEASON"

During the three days of MotoGP tests at Phillip Island, Aprilia was consistently among the protagonists, with Aleix Espargarò in the top-10 of the final combined standings, showing promising potential in terms of race pace. His best lap, done today at 1'29.361, places him just over 8 tenths from the leader and only 4 tenths from the virtual podium. These are positive signs that confirm a growth trend which had the 2017 version RS-GP as protagonist, already well-liked by Aleix at Sepang and progressing further in these Australian tests.

On the other side of the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini garage, rookie Sam Lowes quickly recovered the right confidence after his two crashes on the first day, continuing down the path toward his first race in the premier motorcycle racing category. The English rider did a total of 156 laps over the three days, the best of which was logged at 1'30.200, 1.651 seconds from the leader. This is a gap that, with reference to the points zone, drops about a half a second.

ALEIX ESPARGARO'

“We are leaving these tests at a good overall level. We really worked hard. Today we focused on consistent performance. The RS-GP did very well in race simulations but we know that there is still room for improvement on that front. Here at Phillip Island I found a bike that once again suits my riding style in braking, whereas we were able to improve in terms of grip compared with the Sepang tests. After talking with the others, I think that we should be able to gain something in the turns, especially the fast corners, speaking of which, we tried a few changes to the chassis architecture to see if we could find more speed in the centre of the turns. In Qatar we will continue in this direction, trying both the new fairing and the evolved engine again to establish the base for the first race weekend.”

SAM LOWES

“There are many more positive aspects of our tests than it may seem. I started off with a few difficulties, but growth was constant. I managed to stay up with the group of riders ahead of me, despite a few uncertainties in my fast lap that cost me a couple of tenths. We obviously need to be faster, but I think that all the riders on the grid would say the same. The gaps are incredibly close. With the exception of the top two, practically all the other riders are within just over a second. To be honest, if we were to race tomorrow I think I could battle for the points zone, but I know that our potential is much higher, so the tests in Qatar will be our chance to look for another step forward. What Aleix demonstrated with the 2017 bike is an important sign. I know that I have a good technical package to start the season in the best possible way.”

ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER

“Our test was definitely positive. We identified the areas where we need to improve rather precisely and, in light of our performance, this makes us optimistic for the beginning of the season. Here at Phillip Island, Aleix once again confirmed his good feeling with the RS-GP, as we had already seen in Valencia and Sepang. Now we need to combine the information gathered to optimise our package. We know that it will not be easy. The level of competition this year is incredibly high and a few tenths can make a huge difference. As for Sam, after a few initial uncertainties, things began to head in the right direction and he finished on a positive trend, working like a MotoGP rider. We know his talent. If he is able to channel is energy, he will be able to achieve any result he sets his mind to.”

FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER

“These were very positive tests. We took some more steps forward in terms of the new bike and Aleix was able to reduce the gap behind the leaders, who are not at all that far ahead. Our work is obviously not done here. We need to continue developing various things, from every point of view, but up to this point, the winter tests have provided us with good feedback, so we are satisfied and confident that we can do well. I am also satisfied with Lowes' performance. On the 2016 bike, just like in Sepang, he gradually lowered his times over these 3 days, finishing at less than a second behind his teammate. Sam has time to improve more and we will give him the best possible support to do just that.”



More, from a press release issued by Avintia Racing:

Positive final day for Barbera and Baz at Phillip Island

Reale Racing riders Hector Barbera and Loris Baz finished the last day of MotoGP official testing at the Phillip Island circuit today. After two difficult days were the lack of feeling with the front end became a nightmare for the riders, this afternoon both riders found the right direction with the set up of their bikes.

Hector Barbera did 83 laps today, with a personal best of 1’29.791, 16th today and 17th in the combined time sheets, and just 0.543s from Andrea Dovisioso, the fastest Ducati at this test.

Also Loris Baz found the way to improve today at Phillip Island. The 24-year-old French, has been working really hard during the last three days to get feeling with the front of his Desmosedici GP15, and today, he finally found the right direction.

Action will resume in Qatar next month for Barbera and Baz, with the last test of the preseason at Losail International Circuit from March 10th.

Hector Barbera | 1'29.791 | P15

“The most positive after three days is that today we finally found the way. With two hours to go we touched the key and I began to feel good on the bike and I was faster, but the best is that my feeling is back. I have been very overwhelmed because this happened in Malaysia and every time since I got on this bike. We have finally found the solution! I started to feel good straight away, having fun riding the bike, but this was only for two hours and in the end we didn’t have any more tyres to try a flying lap. At the end I was able to improve a lot with a seven-lap-tyre, and I think that with fresh tyres it was possible to lap in 29 lows. So in the end we are happy. Now it is time to prepare well before the next test in Qatar.”

Loris Baz | 1'29.977 | P17

“It has been a difficult three days but today we found something. We have improved little by little to lap in 29 and we are not so far, but I am happy because we have found the way, and it has not been easy. Overall I leave Phillip Island satisfied, because we tried a lot of things and the team did a great job. My crew chief, Paolo did the right things and in the end of the day we leave with a clear direction. I think that I could go even faster with a new tyre at the end, so I’m happy, much more than I was until today at lunch time.”



More, from a press release issued by Aspar Team:

Pull&Bear Aspar complete Australia test with good feelings

Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham complete second preseason test just eight tenths and 1.5 seconds off the fastest time respectively, after focusing final day on race simulations

The 2017 MotoGP World Championship preseason is now two-thirds in, with the second of three test sessions concluding today in Australia with the same name at the top of the time sheets as in Malaysia last time out. Maverick Viñales' lap of 1'28.549 was enough to continue his winter domination and after being the only man inside 1'29 yesterday he was joined today by Marc Márquez, although the World Champion was still three tenths adrift. Dani Pedrosa completes an all-Spanish top three with Jonas Folger proving to be the surprise of the Australia test in fourth place, half a second off Viñales. The times are close throughout the field, with thirteen riders separated by less than a second and five factories in the top ten. The third and final test of preseason gets underway in Qatar on 9th March, two weeks ahead of the first race there.

There was an early finish for the Pull&Bear Aspar Team, who completed their testing programme today with both Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham completing at least one race simulation. Bautista put together a run of 14 laps an another of 25, whilst Abraham completed a 20-lap stint. The Spaniard was consistent, with a parameter of less than 1.2 seconds between his lap times, comparing the set-up he started the test with to some of the solutions he has found over the previous two days here. The Czech rider was disappointed not to improve on his best lap from yesterday but happy with his pace and consistency in race trim. The Pull&Bear Aspar pair both leave Australia having set their best lap time on the second day: Bautista's 1'29.411 leaving him eleventh overall on the combined timesheets and as the top independent Ducati rider, with Abraham's 1'30.142, leaving him a second and a half shy of the best lap of the test.

19th Álvaro Bautista 1.29.983 (74 laps): “In general we have not found the best feeling over the last three days here. Today we went back to the set-up from the start of the test to compare the data we have gathered since then and the truth is we have made some steps forward to improve my confidence. We also had the intention of completing a long run today but on the first attempt we had a problem with the front tyre and after fifteen laps it was virtually destroyed. I had to put a fresh front tyre in, which had a longer life but I didn't have the same feeling. It was difficult because the tyre was more aggressive and in the end the performance also dropped off with this one. At the end of the day we tried a quite different setting with the second bike and after just three laps I felt more comfortable than I have done over the last three days. We needed a little more time to work in this direction but we have gathered some data that could be useful in the future.”

22nd Karel Abraham 1.30.452 (61 laps): “We are leaving Australia feeling a little frustrated after this final day because we were unable to improve on our lap time from yesterday, when I was able to set a bunch of low 1'30s. We tried different set-up variations but I just couldn't go any faster. The positive part is that we managed a long run, which was good, especially the first part when I was fast and consistent. I have spoken with the team about the next test in Qatar and we agree that it is a very specific track in terms of set-up so we will see what happens when we get there. I think I am capable of good results and I want to get back to the kind of position we were in yesterday.”



More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:

CRUTCHLOW COMPLETES ENCOURAGING TEST IN AUSTRALIA

Cal Crutchlow enjoyed another positive day at Phillip Island on Friday, ensuring he and the LCR Honda team finished the official pre-season test in Australia with plenty to be encouraged about. The Briton was again up towards the top of the timesheets on his Honda RC213V and looks in a good place with just one testing session left before the start of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship.

While his best time was a 1’29.101, Crutchlow was strong throughout and finished with an impressive 15-lap run at an average of 1’29.5s – similar to Maverick Viñales, who went quickest overall on the final day in Victoria. Having not pushed for an out-and-out fast lap, the British racer was pleased with his efforts and remains confident he has plenty more in hand.

A final three-day test now takes place at the Losail circuit in Qatar next month before the 2017 season gets underway at the same location on March 26.

#35 Cal Crutchlow – 5th (1’29.101 – lap 72 of 85)

“We were happy with today’s test, and even though we were unable to set a fast lap time this was just down to a couple of slight problems in the morning when the track was in the best shape. That was when the temperature was good and the faster laps went in for other riders. The priority for our day, however, was to do a long run and get some more information for Honda.”

“We managed that in the end and we were quite pleased with how it all went considering we also had a small issue in the long run. Our big limitation of the day only seemed to be the new front tyre, and not just for us, for many riders, when we found we were really on the limit and unable to push.”

“Now we have to give all the information we have gathered in the past three days to HRC, and I think we can be positive ahead of the next test in Qatar. We look forward to going there now, and working well as a team once more.”



More, from a press release issued by KTM:

MOTOGP RIDERS AND TEAM QUITE HAPPY WITH PROGRESS MADE AT IRTA TEST ON PHILLIP ISLAND

MotoGP IRTA Test 2017 – Phillip Island (AUS)

Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing on Friday wrapped up three days of official IRTA tests at Australia’s Phillip Island circuit, which allowed the team to further advance in their development program ahead of their debut in the premiere class of the MotoGP World Championship.

The team came away satisfied that they had made solid progress after three long days and nights of intensive work, both on and off the track in preparation for the first season in MotoGP. It was also the factory team’s first visit to Phillip Island and a chance to test in very different track conditions to what they have experienced on other circuits. Senior team officials and the two factory riders, Pol Espargaro (ESP) and Bradley Smith (GBR) all confirmed they had been able to further advance the development program with the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike.

Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): "I'm quite happy because at the end of these three days our riders put in good lap times. This is really promising because the start here is very special and unique, so it isn't easy to come here and put in good lap times. We did a lot of test and setup work, and the team did a great job. They pushed hard and put in long nights. Also a big compliment to all the people back in the factory. They’re working hard on all the material that we're testing. We have to keep pushing because it will still be a long way for us to get to a very good level. But both riders are working well, and we're going in the right direction."

Wednesday saw temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius, with the track registering about 40 degrees, and a strong wind. Factory rider Pol Espargaro tested a new frame and put in 59 laps, with the quickest in lap 54 when he was 1.703 off the front pace. Espargaro had a low-sider in the afternoon, but both rider and bike were okay. Teammate Bradley Smith tested a new front fairing on the first day and gave the team positive feedback.

Espargaro: “We've improved the pace quite a lot, and that's where you earn the points. Being on the bike is much better and the lap times are quite close to the first guys. We were really close many times, and I'm very happy about that. The team is working hard, and I think we're putting it all together." When asked what the team hoped to gain before the next tests in Qatar, Espargaro said he felt there were still gains to be made in the engine and the electronics. “The engineers know what to do and how to do it, and they will do something great for Qatar, so I am very happy."

Temperatures dropped by 10 degrees on the second day, and there was also a little bit less wind. Both riders resumed testing a variety of options and provided good feedback to the team. Espargaro’s had a small crash around midday and was not hurt, but there were some repairs necessary on the bike.

Smith also said it had been important to test at Phillip Island because of the different character of the track. “It helped us to understand our complete package. As far as the electronics go, it's important to have a good balance here because of the long corners and the hard drive areas. I'm generally pleased with the improvements. On days one and two the lap times were not what I expected, but by the end, I felt a lot more comfortable. I was pleased to do a +1.429 at the end of the session. That was 1.4 off, and about what we would expect. We'll still work on the electronics, and the drive area because the acceleration phase is so important in MotoGP, and we’re always looking for a bit more.”

The third day saw similar conditions to day two and both Espargaro and Smith improved their lap times right at the end of the day. Espargaro rode his best lap in his 62nd, his last of the day, to finish overall 17th in the combined timesheets to be +1.308sec off the pace. Smith was 19th overall on the combined sheets, and like Espargaro, clocked his best time in his final, his 73rd for the day.

Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP): “Once more we saw how we could develop when we come to a new track. We tried a lot of new things, mainly on the chassis and the electronics, and with a lot of success. I think that when it finally comes to putting down lap times, the riders are very happy. Both pushed hard, and we can be pleased with these results. We can also see the progress in the pace, and when it comes down to it, we can put in a good lap time. We have quite a good picture of what is still missing, and we’ll try to work on this as much as possible between now and the next test.”

After the official team presentation next Monday in the new KTM Motorsport Building in Munderfing, Austria, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team heads towards Losail International Circuit in Qatar for the final MotoGP IRTA Test starting on March 10, 2017, before the season really kicks off at the same venue two weeks later.