Suzuki take control in the heat of Qatar

by Robert Jones

The first of the three day MotoGP test is now in the books, and what a day it was for the Hamamatsu Factory as their rider’s finished one-two. 

Alex Rins left it late to produce a 1:54.464s which took top spot from teammate Joan Mir by the slender margin of +0.002s. 

Team Manager Davide Brivio confirmed that the team didn’t have anything new to test, but with their engine choice set for the new season, work will continue over the next two days on chassis work.

The new chassis tested in Sepang was successful compared to the previous carbon covered one, while the team’s holeshot device is scheduled to be in place for the Qatar Grand Prix

Third on the timesheets was Maverick Vinales for the Monster Energy Yamaha team. Like Suzuki, the team seem to be set on their engine choice, as the Spaniard looks to work on the electronics of the bike. 

Image Credit: MotoGP.com

Valentino Rossi on the other factory Yamaha was a strong P7, and put his fastest lap together on his penultimate lap of the day. The Italian completed 51 laps, as he too, was working hard on the electronics setup.

Petronas Yamaha had a decent day, especially in the case of Franco Morbidelli who finished ahead of Fabio Quartararo and fifth on the day. 

For the Frenchman, it was a best finish of eighth place. The two Petronas riders completed 57 and 56 laps each, which was the second most by a single team. 

The first non Suzuki or Yamaha, was Danilo Petrucci for Ducati. It was a difficult test for the team in Sepang, with adaptation to the new Michelin tyres proving to be a tough one. 

However, it was much better day for the 2019 Mugello winner as he finished in fourth place. Andrea Dovizioso was 11th for the team and eight tenths away from top spot. 

Dovizioso did have a fall, as did Pramac Ducati rider Jack Miller, but both riders came away unscathed, and in the Italian’s case was much more upbeat than Malaysia. 

Miller was last of all the Ducati riders in 13th place, while teammate Frnacesco Bagnaia ended the day ninth. 

Sixth was reigning champion Marc Marquez and top Honda with a lap time of 1:54.823. Marquez completed a positive 42 laps ahead of day two. 

Image Credit: MotoGP.com

His younger brother Alex Marquez had a tough day with three crashes, two at turn seven and one at turn 10 as he finished the day 21st. 

Alex was unhurt from the falls, and managed to complete 57 laps for the team, which was the most of any Honda rider. 

For LCR, steady would be the description of their running, as Cal Crutchlow was 19th, while his Japanese teammate Takaaki Nakagami finished four places higher up. 

Worryingly for Crutchlow when speaking after the day’s running, he characterised riding the 2020 year Honda like an ‘amateur’ due to the tough nature of the bike. 

Ride-ability was one of the major concerns for any Honda rider not named Marc Marquez going into this season, and the Brit’s comments suggest this is still an issue.  

It was another strong outing for Aprilia and Aleix Espargaro who finished 10th. Although Bradley Smith was last on the timing board, another 54 laps completed was a good step in finding a direction for the setup. 

What about KTM’s day? Well, Pol Espargaro was the top runner for the team in 14th position, while South African Brad Binder completed 53 laps on his way to a 16th place. 

The factory team put a lot of emphasis on their chassis, along with the new swingarm they are testing here in Losail. Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona were 18th and 20th respectively for the Tech 3 squad. 

Image Credit: MotoGP.com

And finally we have Reale Avintia. Johann Zarco was yet again in good form as he made further progress on his adaptability to the Ducati. 

He finished 12th overall, while Tito Rabat was 17th as both men completed over 60 laps. 

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