MotoGP: Bagnaia Best As Testing Concludes At Jerez

MotoGP: Bagnaia Best As Testing Concludes At Jerez

© 2021, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

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More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

#2022Loading: Bagnaia hits back, Honda continue stealing headlines in Jerez

Ducati return to the top of the timesheets as Pecco pulls clear, but there’s plenty more to see in pitlane on Day 2

Friday, 19 November 2021

 

Francesco Bagnaia (63). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Francesco Bagnaia (63). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Less than half a second away from the all-time Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto lap record, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) has ended the two-day Official 2022 MotoGP™ Jerez Test top of the timesheets, as could somewhat be expected based on the Italian’s recent form. Pecco’s 1:36.872 saw him beat Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) to the overall top by four tenths, with 2021 World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) third. But the timesheets were far from the whole story…

 

Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Straight out of the blocks on Friday, riding a 2022 prototype – the newer engine, front fairing, air intake and more – Bagnaia went just 0.3s shy of Maverick Viñales’ all-time lap record, seemingly a sign that Ducati have gone into 2022 testing carrying the momentum they ended the season with.

With regards to the engine, a big talking point across all factories for the Jerez Test and beyond, Ducati won’t be deciding their spec until the Mandalika Test in February. As well as the front fairing and air intake, the next biggest difference seen on the factory Ducatis has been the new, much long exhaust. Both Pecco and teammate Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) were using it on Day 1 and Day 2, it will be interesting to see whether it makes an appearance at the Sepang and Mandalika Tests next year.

And the end of both days, Pecco finished 0.4s clear after a further 42 laps on Day 2, adding to his 68 on Thursday, and was very pleased with the work done in Jerez. Johann Zarco’s (Pramac Racing) opening day time sees the Frenchman sit P4 on the combined timesheets, the second quickest Ducati, and he completed another 65 laps on Day 2. After 78 already put in on Thursday, Zarco was one of the busiest riders at the Jerez Test in terms of laps.

Miller and Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) were busy testing 2022 parts across the two days, the Australian was P9 on Friday and P10 overall, with Martin down in P18 on both. Luca Marini (VR46 Racing Team) is the other rider in the Desmosedici ranks who will be on the latest spec machinery in 2022, and the Italian was 14th on the timesheets after clocking 56 laps on Day 2. Former teammate Enea Bastianini (Team Gresini Racing MotoGP) ended the couple of days in P5 overall as the two-time premier class podium finisher got to grips with his GP21.

 

Fabio Di Giannantonio (D). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (D). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Ducati have two rookies in their ranks for 2022, both riding GP21s, and the fastest rookie across the two days was Fabio Di Giannantonio (Team Gresini Racing MotoGP). The Italian was an impressive 1.6s down on Bagnaia having completed 45 laps on Day 2, seeing the 2021 Jerez Moto2™ race winner lap 93 times in total. Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Racing Team) finished 2.4s away from good friend Bagnaia after two days on the bike, a cracking effort from the Italian, who got 115 laps in the bank ahead of testing continuing next year.

 

Marco Bezzecchi (72). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Marco Bezzecchi (72). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

As has been well documented, Honda have a brand-new bike for 2022. It’s the only machine at the test that looks completely new, with every other manufacturer having variations and adaptations from what we saw in 2021. Engine, chassis, aero, air intake, exhaust position… you name it. HRC have been working tirelessly to bring a new-look RC213V to the grid, and on first look, things are seemingly going well.

 

Pol Espargaro (44). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Pol Espargaro (44). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Marc Marquez’ (Repsol Honda Team) absence from the Jerez Test was bad news but the presence of Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) was very good news, the number 44 back despite his Turn 13 highside in Valencia. On Day 1, Pol Espargaro admitted that he was – unsurprisingly – riding with some pain in his ribs and wrist, with Nakagami and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) doing all the work on the new bike on Thursday. LCR boss Lucio Cecchinello also said that at one stage, there were six bikes in the LCR garage for Nakagami and Marquez.

However, on Day 2, Pol Espargaro got his hands on the 2022 prototype. Pitlane reporter Simon Crafar confirmed that the Spaniard now has better rear grip, and the number 44 also tried different aero packages with the new bike. Nakagami was second quickest overall and seventh on Friday, with Pol Espargaro setting his best time of the test on the new bike to take fourth on Friday and seventh overall. Alex Marquez also went quicker on Day 2 as all three Honda riders head into the winter with a very good idea of what the 2022 bike needs to be faster. Overall, it seems it was a positive test for HRC.

The new Yamaha chassis seen on Day 1 sported some modifications on Friday, and despite testing that and a new fairing, as well as continuing on engine testing, Quartararo said he struggled to find any clear positive step: the lap time with the bike was too similar to the older spec. He’s searching for better power, less wheelie and more rear grip for next year. He was second on Friday and third overall, as Nakagami slots into second on the combined Thursday-Friday timesheets.

Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli also had a new front fairing, with the same ‘wings’ but a different, more smoothly rounded fairing. The side fairing was also different, likely to aid cooling – seemingly a similar goal to Suzuki.

Andrea Dovizioso (WithU RNF Yamaha MotoGP) is now on the 2022 Yamaha, but not quite the same as the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP line-up. The Italian was positive about his riding in the afternoon although said it wasn’t yet instinctive, and reported the new bike has better braking, enabling the riders to brake harder, and a bit more power but the same DNA.

 

Darryn Binder (40). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Darryn Binder (40). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Teammate Darryn Binder, barring an out lap crash that slowed progress somewhat, was positive about his test too. The South African rookie started working on different tyres, electronics and traction control as he settles in.

 

Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

The word on the street from Suzuki was almost singular up and down pitlane: their 2022 engine is reportedly decided, although Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was more coy in his debrief. The 2020 Champion said a huge focus was on electronics with that new engine, and work continued on the chassis side.

There were also some aero updates on show on Day 2, as promised, with different side fairings breaking cover for Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), although Mir said he’d also tried them on Day 1. A new swingarm was put through some more paces too.

Rins ended the day in third after 59 laps, and sixth overall. Mir was sixth on Friday after 73 laps, and ninth overall. Test rider Sylvain Guintoli added another 56 to the Hamamatsu lap count on Friday too.

Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing Team) was once again the fastest Aprilia, slotting into fifth on Day 2 and P8 overall. He was trying a new fuel tank cover, and working on body position to be more comfortable. 82 laps later, and having tried a chassis different to that of the Valencia GP, the number 12 said they had a clear direction. Viñales also said the new exhaust spotted at Aprilia was a similar feeling, which he also said was a positive after it was test back-to-back with the previous version.

 

Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Viñales’ teammate Aleix Espargaro put in another 55 laps on Friday too, and aero remained on show at Aprilia overall. Test rider Lorenzo Savadori had another new-look set of ‘wings’ that were different again, making it three aero packages on show from Noale. Their overall 2022 package will reportedly only be finalised at the Mandalika test.

 

Brad Binder (33). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Brad Binder (33). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira were back out on a new aero package, but slightly different to the one seen on Day 1. The two both spent a lot of time on it, and MotoGP™ Legend and KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa was also back out – and also using the aero.

The Austrian factory were the most publicly coy of all. “Positives and negatives” were reported from both Brad Binder and Oliveira, and they’re expecting more to test at Sepang. Binder was 11th on Friday and 13th overall, with Oliveira 14th on Friday and 16th overall.

On rookie watch at Tech3 KTM Factory Racing, Raul Fernandez retained the upper hand on newly-crowned Moto2™ World Champion Remy Gardner… by just 0.037. Diggia pipped both to fastest rookie honours by the end of the test, with Fernandez 0.163 off the Italian. The number 25 ended the test in 20th on both Friday and overall, and the number 87 in P22 on both too.

That’s a wrap on the first glimpse of next season… but we’re not going anywhere! Keep up to date on everything happening over winter break and 2022 pre-season on motogp.com!

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