Maverick Vinales gave Movistar Yamaha another late-season boost by topping the timesheets on the first day of the Valencia post-season test. The team ended 2018 strongly with victory in Australia before leading for much of the Malaysian GP and Vinales gave them the perfect start to their 2019 preparations, leading Marc Marquez by three tenths of a second.
Much like the weekend’s Grand Prix, the day was disrupted by rain but Vinales was able to clock a 1:31.416 shortly before the heavens opened midway through the afternoon. The Spaniard, now sporting the no.12 on his Yamaha, was trying two different specifications of engine on his YZR-M1 as the team seeks to overcome the deficiencies which blighted their 2018 season. His fastest lap of the day did indeed come with the upgraded engine.
World champion Marc Marquez had three different bike specifications available and used all options on his way to second spot, just ahead of the second factory Yamaha of Valentino Rossi. Sunday’s winner Andrea Dovizioso was fourth for Ducati ahead of Honda test rider Stefan Bradl, continuing to deputise at LCR for the injured Cal Crutchlow. Franco Morbidelli, debuting for the new Petronas Yamaha SRT squad, was a superb sixth ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Ducati’s new factory rider Danilo Petrucci while Pol Espargaro and Michele Pirro rounded out the top ten, the latter crashing at turn six to end his day early.
Much of the focus on Tuesday was on the new rider/team combinations, the most intriguing being Jorge Lorenzo’s new adventure at Repsol Honda. The five-time champion, still riding short of full-fitness, completed 30 laps on his way to 18th overall while Johann Zarco finished one place higher on his opening day with the Red Bull KTM squad.
Four rookies featured with Moto2 champion Francesco Bagnaia impressing on his debut with Pramac Ducati. The Italian was less than a second off the ultimate pace in eleventh, even outpacing his team-mate Jack Miller, while Joan Mir was a creditable fifteenth on his first outing with Suzuki, racking up 59 laps. The other Moto2 graduates had quieter days with Fabio Quartararo 23rd on the second Petronas Yamaha while Miguel Oliveira was slowest of all as Tech 3 ran KTM machinery for the first time.
2019 MotoGP Testing – Valencia (Day One)
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