Table of contents:
- Viñales and Aleix Espargaró, the fastest of the preseason
- Espargaró progresses fast with a Honda that is more docile
- Problems for KTM, bad Bagnaia and unnecessary falls for Álex Márquez
2023 Author: Nicholas Abramson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-09-01 00:14
The first MotoGP tests have already finished and, with great caution, we can make a first analysis of the preseason. Prudently because almost all the starting drivers have only had two days of training, and because there have also been various factors that have affected.
What we make clear, at least for the moment, is that Yamaha is strong. Despite the first complaints from Valentino Rossi, the other three riders of the Iwata brand had very good training sessions. And not just on a lap, but also at the constant pace of the race. They are the big winners of the first preseason tests.
Viñales and Aleix Espargaró, the fastest of the preseason
At Yamaha they worked against the clock to make their 2021 bike look like their 2019 bike, and also looking for a solution to the engine problems that weighed down on them last year. With the times in hand, the fastest time of the tests was Fabio Quartararo on the last day, the only driver to go down from 1:54.
We already knew that the Yamaha is fast one lap, but in race rhythms, Iwata's bike has also taken the top positions. In this case it is Maverick Viñales who has had a more constant rhythm, regularly in the 1:55 medium or high. Also Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli, who runs directly with the 2019 bike, have been there, although somewhat looser.
The two drawbacks of Yamaha are expected. The first, top speed, which has touched 15 km / h behind the Ducati. It is a common feature of Yamaha's inline engine, but it seems to lead them into another season with trouble starting and overtaking.
The second very worrying problem for Yamaha is Valentino Rossi. We already know that 'Il Dottore' is a racing driver who grows on Sundays, but without times in both fast lap and race pace they have been terrible. In fact, Cal Crutchlow, the brand's tester, has not stayed too far behind, and he has been changing bikes during the tests.
To relativize the value of what is seen in these tests, it is necessary to clarify that, Along with Viñales, the other rider with more rhythm has been Aleix Espargaró. In fact, the Aprilia is the other that has been able to run in 1:55 average with relative constancy. It is difficult to imagine that Noale's bike is in a position to fight for victories, even if the times say so for now.
Interestingly, Espargaró also suffers the Yamaha effect: it appears way up in time classifications but way down in top speedAnd his Aprilia does have a V-engine. The most bleeding thing for the brand is that, having concessions, they are only riding with two bikes, and one is driven by a rookie like Lorenzo Savadori.
The champions haven't fared bad in Losail either. Suzuki has returned to a fairly solid race pace, both in Álex Rins and in Joan Mir. Maybe not at the level of Viñales, but close to the other fast bikes from Yamaha. Tire care remains the Hamamatsu's great secret weapon.
Finally, Marc Márquez must be included in the list of winners of tests in which he has not even been. Stefan Bradl has set great times with the Honda and, above all, he has been very constant. It is true that he had the advantage of riding the new bike all winter in his work as a tester, but the times are positive. The bike is easier.
Espargaró progresses fast with a Honda that is more docile
And the proof of this is that Pol Espargaró is taking giant steps in his adaptation process to the new motorcycle. The Spaniard has ridden a lot, in more than decent times and without mishaps in his first steps with the Honda. His pace has been very promising, matched by the LCR drivers, who already have more experience in the brand.
Aside from the rookies, there has only been one other rider who has changed brands: Danilo Petrucci. The Italian went from Ducati to KTM, and his pace in these first tests has been terrible. It is nothing serious, on the contrary, it is normal. But it speaks very well of how Espargaró has fallen within Honda.
Speaking of the newbies, Jorge Martín has not shone in times to one lap, but in race pace he has been the best. The Spaniard has some responsibility for wearing an updated Ducati, but it seems that he is the one who is suffering the least to adapt to MotoGP first.
Enea Bastianini and Lorenzo Savadori, who must be considered a rookie according to MotoGPThey are at a similar rate of growth, while the most off the hook gives the impression that it is Luca Marini. The brother of Valentino Rossi still needs a lot of travel to curdle within the MotoGP category.
Problems for KTM, bad Bagnaia and unnecessary falls for Álex Márquez
Although it is early, there are also those who have to reflect after these tests. Drivers and brands that at the moment do not find the key, and there is KTM. After a brilliant season in 2020, this preseason they are far behind. The only one who has had an acceptable rhythm is Miguel Oliveira, the rest lousy.
Especially worrying on the part of Brad Binder, who is called to make a difference as a brand leader. Nor has Iker Lecuona been at all fast, even behind a newcomer like Petrucci. Either they are clogging up or KTM has not started 2021 well. Bear in mind that they are only running on one circuit, which may not adapt for whatever reason.
Another one who has not had good training sessions is Álex Márquez, not because of his pace, which has been decent, but because of the falls. The two-time world champion went to the ground twice, and in the first of them he directly destroyed his motorcycle. It's a sin that someone like Marquez can't afford early in the preseason.
Finally, and remembering that Rossi was mentioned before, let's talk about Pecco Bagnaia. The young Italian from Ducati ended up lost in 2020 and has started 2021 just as thick, with the aggravation that he is now a starting driver. While Jack Miller has mixed with Yamaha and Suzuki, Bagnaia has been accompanying his teacher, Valentino Rossi. And that's not good.
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