Marc Marquez once again led the way on the second and final day of the MotoGP post-season test in Valencia, Spain, where most of the teams concentrated on testing the new spec software. Dropping his time by nearly half a second, the Repsol Honda man edged out fellow Spaniard Maverick Vinales on the Team Suzuki Ecstar machine .103 of a second, although Marquez said there was still a lot of work to be done on the electronics. And although he apparently did run a few laps with the new 2016 version of the RCV engine, the two-time MotoGP World Champion felt that it was useless to make a judgement with the electronics being so far off.
“Really difficult because today we only ride with the Magnetti Marelli software, and we must improve a lot of things, we need to understand more. We are very far from the potential of the Marelli software, but OK, we are working to get there. We try to understand the Michelin tires, especially the front one, it looks like everybody is struggling.
“The first problem is we have to fix the electronics. Because if you don’t have the electronics working well, then the bike setup, everything is worse, is wrong. So first we need to have a base setting with the electronics, and then try to understand where the Michelin tires are. And of course when we have the base setting for the electronics, we must try the new 2016 engine. Looks like it has some potential, but also some good points.”
Viñales was the star of the second day, although the Suzuki Ecstar team concentrated on getting their chassis dialed in to the new Michelin tires, and did not run the spec software during the two-day test. They will save that for the three-day Sepang test in February. Both Viñales and his teammate Aleix Espargaro suffered some crashes during the two-day test at Valencia, the inevitable result of trying to find the limit of the new Michelin front tire that has a completely different feel and performance to the previous Bridgestones.
“Everytime we went out onto the track, we improved,” Viñales said. But in the last exit I was trying too much, I was trying to beat the 31.0 [lap time] and finally I crashed. But anyway I think the whole test was really positive, we are working really hard on the tires, especially the front, but I think we start to understand which is the way to make it work. I think the bike can still improve.”
Marquez’ Teammate Dani Pedrosa was once again in third spot, also improving his time on the second day, but he was also unhappy with the new electronics. “Today we were testing with the tires to get a little bit more feeling, and also focusing on the electronics, this is the main thing now. We wanted to try the new engine, but unfortunately with the electronics, it’s so hard to judge it. We need to get the electronics working properly, and then we can try the new engine more carefully and know things better. So we now have to focus on the next test to try different things.”
Vinales’ teammate Espargaro made big progress, moving up to the fourth spot on the charts and giving some hope to maybe closing the gap to the other factories in this new era of a spec ECU and a fresh brand of tires. “I’m happy overall with the performance on the Michelins,” Espargaro said. “Yesterday I struggled a lot, I crashed twice. And today this morning again I (crashed). Actually after my fast lap I crash again in a small corner, really slow. After I crash, we decided to really change the bike, to put a lot more weight on the front, and we make a really longer bike, longer than ever before with the Suzuki. And it started to feel better. With this new style we have a good pace, quite easy to go 31 highs, and then with a new tire we did a competitive lap time, 31.2 . We know the direction we have to go to improve a little bit more the bike, and especially the feeling with the front tire. Now we move to Malaysia to keep working. The more important thing right now is to be more safe. We saw a lot of crashes in the two-day test, I crashed three times, so we need more feedback from the front tire, especially when I used the front brake, so this is the goal, to try to have better feedback.”
Jorge Lorenzo remained fifth and the top rider of the Movistar Yamaha squad. The Majorcan was pleased with the progress made with the spec software. “I was a little bit scared (of the spec software) because I make only one run with the new electronics yesterday, but the new electronics weren’t completely ready like today. Today I could brake [with more confidence] from yesterday because I saw that we were not so far from the old [electronics]. Half a second is not so from the other electronics, and it’s much better than yesterday for sure.”
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow also retained his sixth-place position. “Not too bad, we were quite impressed with our pace today, we were fast immediately and able to keep a really strong lap time with used tires. Learning the Michelins is difficult, proving difficult for many riders I think at the moment. We are trying to adjust the setting and our riding styles a lot, but as we saw today, there have been quite a few crashes again. And I was one of those guys, but I believe the reason for our crash is that we were the only team to test a new front tire that nobody had tested yet over the two days. But overall I was pleased, we went faster again in the end on a chassis I didn’t like because it was the spare bike. I’m positive we could’ve improved the lap time quite dramatically if I needed to. We worked closely with Honda and gave them a lot of information, we did a lot of donkey work with regards to some parts; but it was nothing to be improved, more endurance tests or some small things.”
Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi improved his position to seventh, learning more about the new Michelin tires. “The second day for us was quite positive, because it was a long day, I did a lot of laps, and I tried to improve my feeling with the new tires. I’m happy because in the afternoon my lap time was not so bad. I always did long runs to better understand the tire and I was always quite fast. We improved the bike a lot compared to yesterday. The tires, especially the front, give better feedback now, so this is most important. After we also work a little bit on the electronics for next year, and that already improved a lot compared to yesterday, but there is still a lot of work to do. We need to do some more work because it looks like with the Michelins we are in trouble. Especially in the (corner) entry and the weight distribution, it’s just the first step. It’s not so bad because we improve a lot, we improve by one second from yesterday.”
Rounding out the top 10 was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro, Ducati’s Iannone and Pol’s teammate Bradley Smith.
The consensus at the end of the day was that the spec Marelli software will need a lot of work before it gets anywhere near usable, but they at least got a start.
2015 MotoGP Valencia Test Day Two Results
1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1:31.060
2. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:31.163
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1:31.180
4. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) LCR Honda 1:31.212
5. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha 1:31.282
6. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) LCR Honda 1:31.494
7. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha 1:32.498
8. Pol Espargaro (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:31.619
9. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati 1:31.619
10. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:31.694
11. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 1:31.717
12. Loris Baz (FRA) Avintia Ducati 1:31.796
13. Scott Redding (GBR) Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 1:31.901
14. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Ducati 1:31.937
15. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati 1:31.967
16. Jack Miller (AUS) Marc VDS Honda 1:32.100
17. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar Ducati 1:32.377
18. Tito Rabat (SPA) EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1:32.402
19. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:32.492
20. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Aspar Ducati 1:32.510
21. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:32.847
22. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati 1:33.568
23. Takuya Tsuda (JPN) Suzuki Test Team 1:33.797
24. Mike di Meglio (ITA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:34.372
25. Nobuatsu Aoki (JPN) Suzuki Test Team 1:37.031