Ducati dominate on day 1 of testing in Jerez

by Alice Cipolat
Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo, Jerez test 2018

The second test for the 2019 season is officially underway in Jerez, with an Italian 1-2 at the end of day 1. Danilo Petrucci set the pace today, 0.217 seconds ahead of teammate Andrea Dovizioso. Petrucci was the only rider of the day to break the 1:38 barrier as he continues to make progress on the factory Ducati bike.

Testing in Spain in November inevitably does not create perfect conditions, so riders did not venture out onto track until late morning when temperatures had increased. Following on from the first test in Valencia, teams and riders are continuing to target the perfect machine for the 2019 season.

With Michele Pirro unable to carry out test duties due to injury, Alvaro Bautista was drafted back into the MotoGP paddock to test the Ducati in his place. He finished 9th fastest. In the satellite team, Alma Pramac Ducati rider Jack Miller is impressed with the development of the 2019 bike he will ride this year, finishing 8th fastest. His rookie teammate and Moto2 world champion Francesco Bagnaia put in 51 laps and finished 14th fastest, as he continues to acclimatise himself with the premier class.

Meanwhile at Honda, the fastest rider from the Japanese factory was LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami, preparing for his second season in the premier class. The Japanese rider finished 3rd, just behind the Ducatis, with a 1:38.348. In the factory team, Jorge Lorenzo may be adapting to his new bike quicker than most may have imagined. He topped the timesheets for a while in the morning, eventually finishing 7th fastest at the end of the day – just 0.232 seconds slower than world champion Marc Marquez. This is impressive considering Lorenzo is still slightly suffering from his broken wrist whilst attempting to adapt as best and as quickly as he can to the new bike. Marquez finished 5th fastest after 50 laps, trying out different parts and a new aero package.

Yamaha are continuing to work on their engine and are yet to find the perfect solution. Maverick Vinales was strong throughout the day in terms of times and finished 4th fastest, commenting that they were mostly working on race pace. Teammate Valentino Rossi suffered a technical issue but still managed 50 laps, finishing 17th fastest. Rossi didn’t use new tyres like his teammate did, which may explain the difference in lap times. Rossi’s protégé Franco Morbidelli is impressive so far on the Petronas Yamaha, finishing sixth fastest. His rookie teammate Fabio Quartararo finished 16th on the timesheets.

Joan Mir was the fastest rookie today on his factory Suzuki, 0.194 seconds faster than Alex Rins. Rins completed the highest number of laps of any rider today, with 87, and the factory has mainly been focused on the new chassis and engine. Test rider Sylvain Guintoli has also been in Jerez, contributing to Suzuki’s testing progress.

KTM were quite a way down the timesheets today but are keeping the focus on development rather than lap times. Pol Espargaro was the fastest rider for the Austrian factory in 15th, with new teammate Johann Zarco in 19th after his switch from the Yamaha machine. Hafizh Syahrin and rookie Miguel Oliveira are both getting used to new machinery on the Tech 3 KTM bikes, finishing 21st and 23rd respectively.

Finally, at Aprilia, Aleix Espargaro has been unable to take part in testing due to illness, so Matteo Baiocci filled in for him to get some laps in for the team. Espargaro’s new teammate Andrea Iannone finished 11th fastest, just over a second from Petrucci. Bradley Smith was also present in his new role as Aprilia test rider, finishing 18th fastest.

The Jerez test will continue for a second day tomorrow.

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