The hour of truth is at hand. On Monday morning, MotoGP fans will get their very first look at how the 2016 season is really going to look like. We got a glimpse at Valencia, but it was not a uniform picture. Though the 2016 electronics and Michelin tires made their debut at the two-day test after the final race of 2015, there were still too many variables. Everyone was on the Michelins, but some riders were on the spec electronics, others were on the old proprietary software they had been using for the 2015 season, and the factory teams were using a mixture of both.
Press release previews of the Sepang MotoGP test from Avintia Ducati and Repsol Honda:
Repsol Honda Team ready to start the first pre-season test session in Sepang
The first official test of 2016 will start tomorrow at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit where Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa are looking forward to getting back in action on their RC213V after two months of test ban.
Ducati issued the following press release after Michele Pirro completed the second day of Ducati's private test at Sepang, in preparation for the main test which starts on Monday:
Michele Pirro continues development work for Ducati Team at Sepang
Casey Stoner's return as a test rider for Ducati has captured the imagination of fans and generated a huge amount of attention from the media. Given Stoner's role at Ducati is one of both test rider and brand ambassador, his return can be judged a success, no matter what the times set on the track.
Stoner spoke to the media after the first day of the private test at Sepang, used by the factories to prepare for the main test which starts on Monday. Being a private test, rather than an official MotoGP test run by Dorna and IRTA, Dorna do not hold the exclusive video and audio rights at the test. This allowed our enterprising friends over at GPOne.com to video the entire media debrief, where Stoner spoke the press present at the track.
Casey Stoner got the first testing miles of his return to Ducati under his belt on Saturday. The Australian started slowly and steadily doing a lot of short runs to get a feel for the Ducati Desmosedici GP15, on which he spent most of the day, before upping the pace later in the afternoon. Journalists present at the test said Stoner looked a little stiff in his early laps, not getting either elbow or knee down, but soon started to relax, and look more like his old self.
Jack Miller is to miss the Sepang MotoGP test, due to start on Monday, 1st February. The Australian broke bones in his right leg during a motocross training accident two weeks ago, and will not be fit in time for the opening three-day test of the 2016 MotoGP season. Miller is continuing his recovery, and already back in training, working on his fitness with the aim of being ready to participate in the second MotoGP test, at Phillip Island in his native Australia, on 17th February.
MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
MotoGP’s big change
Press releases from the World Superbike teams who tested at Jerez:
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team makes further progress ahead of its official debut in Australia
After the first tests of 2016 in Portimão last week, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team carried on with its program with two days on track in Jerez de la Frontera, the last ones before flying to Australia for the season opener.
If the first day of the combined WSBK test was hampered by a wet track at the start, on Wednesday, it was fog which delayed the action. The fog blanketed the track at 10am, when the track was due to open, but it lifted quickly in the warmth of the Andalusian sun. An extra ten minutes was tacked on to the end of the day, to compensate for the loss of the hour or so in the morning.
Tom Sykes was the fastest man after the first day of the group test for World Superbike series, lapping well under the race lap record set by teammate Jonathan Rea here last September. The Kawasaki riders showed that the ZX-10R is already an extremely competitive machine, needing only some minor fettling to get it ready for 2016.