There’s almost nothing in it on the timesheets and plenty to see in pitlane at the one-day official test.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™’s Fabio Quartararo flexed his speed around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya once again on Monday, putting in the fastest lap of the Official Catalunya Test just one day on from victory at the track. The Frenchman’s 1:39.447 in the opening part of the eight-hour Official Test was enough for him to cling on to top spot by the narrowest of margins, with Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia only 0.004 seconds adrift in second. Completing the top three was Prima Pramac Racing’s Johann Zarco, who, despite claiming the final podium place on Sunday, nevertheless completed a whopping 93 laps during the day.
A small crash at Turn 2 didn’t deter Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro, as he quickly put Sunday’s embarrassment behind him by finishing the day fourth on the timesheets and only a tenth away from his title rival Quartararo. Repsol Honda will be hopeful they’ve managed to make a breakthrough on the new RC213V after Pol Espargaro grabbed the final place inside a top five split by only a quarter of a second.
Ducati Lenovo Team’s Jack Miller posted a 1:39.742 inside the opening hour to end up sixth, half a tenth clear of Aprilia Racing’s Maverick Viñales. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™’s Franco Morbidelli suffered a crash late in the day at Turn 5 but showed positive signs of improvement by closing out the Official Test in eighth. Completing the top ten was the Gresini Racing duo of Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio, while top KTM was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) in eleventh, ahead of the top, and only, Suzuki present: Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar).
All six factories unveiled a raft of brand-new parts throughout the course of the day as they look to springboard themselves towards glory in the pivotal middle part of the 2022 World Championship. Here’s what was spotted in pitlane at the Catalunya Test.
Fresh from the top step, Quartararo was focussing his work on a revised swingarm – the one he used to great effect in Sunday’s race. The Frenchman was swapping between the updated version and the one he started the year on as Yamaha’s search for more rear grip continues. Speaking afterwards, Quartararo and team boss Maio Meregalli confirmed that ‘El Diablo’ has permanently reverted back to the original 2022 aero package and will not use the upgrade first seen at Mugello for the rest of the season.
WithU Yamaha RNF’s Andrea Dovizioso was also seen with the latest swingarm, plus the aerodynamic upgrade as they try to get the Italian comfortable on the Yamaha M1. Morbidelli, meanwhile, was working with a carbon swingarm, plus continued to use the upgraded aerodynamics package.
As ever, there was a lot going on down at Ducati and one interesting innovation was a rather different chassis spotted on test rider Michele Pirro’s GP22 and, even more interestingly, Johann Zarco’s Prima Pramac Ducati. Both the Frenchman and Davide Tardozzi neglected to confirm whether we could see the chassis in action at some stage through 2022 or whether it was early work on the GP23…
Bagnaia and Miller, plus Bastianini, were all seen testing a slightly revised aerodynamics package, with the Bologna factory yet to use their one allowed upgrade for the 2022 campaign. There was also a black fairing on display, pictured with Bagnaia above.
Aprilia had the entirety of pitlane talking when they rolled out a radical new side fairing, pictured below. Both Viñales and Aleix Espargaro tried it throughout the course of the day. Espargaro was also spotted trying the new rear wing that Lorenzo Savadori first used in Mugello. Viñales had a slightly different chassis to try during the day, plus the pair worked on an upgraded engine that Technical Director Romano Albesiano confirmed they hoped to be able to use at the Austrian Grand Prix.
The importance of the test was evidenced by the fact nobody did more laps of the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya than Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) as he got close to a full century, and that despite his Saturday crash. The 2014 Moto3™ and 2019 Moto2™ World Champion had two different chassis to try during the day, plus got the chance to try the swingarm first seen on brother Marc Marquez’s Repsol Honda Team bike in Mugello. Pol Espargaro was seen with a third different chassis that had carbon bonded to the main beam.
The Austrian factory will be hoping they’ve made a step forward at the Catalunya Test and they had plenty of items to try. Team boss Francesco Guidotti confirmed they were trying new parts, doing further work on current parts even re-evaluating last year’s parts. Slight changes to the chassis and switching between aero packages were the most notable things from the orange part of pitlane, which was coy as ever.
Riding solo as teammate Alex Rins is sidelined following the Turn 1 crash on Sunday, Mir had two different aerodynamic packages to try. One had side pods added to the current version, and the second was a totally new design. The 2020 World Champion confirmed he would be using one of them from the Sachsenring onwards… and on that segue, join us then as the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland gets in gear from the 17th to the 19th of June!
1 Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) – Yamaha – 1’39.447
2 Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Ducati – +0.004
3 Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) – Ducati – +0.053
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