Sepang Shakedown Test Day 2 Times: Viñales Takes Over As Bezzecchi Makes A Big Leap

Maverick Viñales has ended the second day of the Sepang shakedown test as fastest. As Aprilia are the only factory to still have concessions, Viñales and teammate Aleix Espargaro are free to test outside of official testing. While Espargaro is expected to ride on the final day, Viñales was lapping three quarters of a second faster than Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, and a second slower than his best time on the Yamaha when MotoGP was last here back in 2020.

Marco Bezzecchi was the fastest of the rookies, a few thousandths of a second quicker than Raul Fernandez, the Mooney VR46 rider making a massive step forward in lap times, going nearly 1.3 seconds faster than yesterday. Remy Gardner four tenths slower than Bezzecchi and 1.3 seconds behind Viñales, while Darryn Binder was less than a tenth of a second behind Gardner. Fabio Di Giannantonio was absent due to a stomach problem.

Among the test riders, Michele Pirro was working with two versions of Ducati's aero package, the 2021 package and the new version first debuted at Jerez. The Desmosedici on both bikes was sporting the long lower exhaust also seen at Jerez.

Other notes from the day: the Honda RC213V turned up, so Stefan Bradl was out on track on Tuesday. So far, only Yamaha's Japanese test riders Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Kohta Nozane have been on track, with Cal Crutchlow expected to ride on the final day of the shakedown test, then at the two days of official testing. Telling which rider set which time can be difficult, as Dani Pedrosa has been riding, but the KTM test bikes are listed as "Mika Kallio Bike 1" and "Mika Kallio Bike 2".

Times on day 2:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Previous
1 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia RS-GP 1:59.833    
2 51 Michele Pirro 1 Ducati GP22 2:00.565 0.732 0.732
3 72 Marco Bezzecchi Ducati GP21 2:00.734 0.901 0.169
4 25 Raul Fernandez KTM RC16 2:00.819 0.986 0.085
5 51 Michele Pirro 2 Ducati GP22 2:00.822 0.989 0.003
6 50 Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki GSX-RR 2:01.102 1.269 0.280
7 87 Remy Gardner KTM RC16 2:01.177 1.344 0.075
8 40 Darryn Binder Yamaha M1 2:01.297 1.464 0.120
9 6 Stefan Bradl Honda RC213V 2:01.361 1.528 0.064
10 82 Mika Kallio 2 KTM RC16 2:01.923 2.090 0.562
11 82 Mika Kallio 1 KTM RC16 2:01.936 2.103 0.013
12 32 Lorenzo Savadori 1 Aprilia RS-GP 2:02.043 2.210 0.107
13 32 Lorenzo Savadori 2 Aprilia RS-GP 2:02.683 2.850 0.640
14 T1 Yamaha Test 1 Yamaha M1 2:02.870 3.037 0.187
15 T2 Yamaha Test 2 Yamaha M1 2:03.000 3.167 0.130

Improvements by rookies from day 1 to day 2:

No. Rider Bike Monday Tuesday Improvement
72 Marco Bezzecchi Ducati GP21 2:02.012 2:00.734 1.278
40 Darryn Binder Yamaha M1 2:02.146 2:01.297 0.849
87 Remy Gardner KTM RC16 2:01.852 2:01.177 0.675
25 Raul Fernandez KTM RC16 2:00.898 2:00.819 0.079
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Duc GP22 rear holeshot shapeshift switch and practice start, Pirro

Quick video, good view.

Question: if Duc can smoothly and even automatically drop their bike down, are they then also making the standard geometry shorter/higher too? 

Several variables concurrent in the 2020-2022 Red bike, difficult to differentiate and make clear. Aero means the bike COULD be shorter/taller, but we hear more just that it goes with dialing back the TC to allow more power. Shapeshifter, how is this relating to standard geometry changes? Tire saving electronics plus mechanical tech is there, but seems easier to see separately from the rest. 

The 2020 onward bike clearly turns better. It LOOKS shorter. Can anyone help with considering the changes making this bike handle so great and with less effort? Including please geometry changes? 

(Not stopping there, next stop: 2022 Honda. When it was first started, EVERYONE next door at Suzuki dropped everything to stare. It is THE hot scoop of interest right now, eh?)

5 mins video and photos Day 2, offers some good views of bikes and body positions in corners.

Odd offhand bit to notice, but have you taken in the 2022 Ducati livery? Anyone else blink and squint at the different red color on the top vs lower? The lower is the 2021 red, and the upper/tail is a less bright fire - more deep cherry new color. Isn't that weird? Had to triple take here. Suzuki and Yamaha are about to launch. We're in Feb (happy new year Eastern friends! Tiger years are good). Qatar is coming!!

JINX, please come to the Red courtesy phone. Your party is waiting. Jinx to the Red courtesy phone. Thank you.


I’ve thought for a while that the variable geometry rear linkage doesn’t just lower the centre of gravity for better drive and fewer wheelies but also decreases the angle of attack on the front wings for a lower drag coefficient. If you look at the fork stanchions during corner exit when they’re on the top out springs at full extension, I swear Ducati and KTM have incredibly long travel forks. In Ducati’s case it wouldn’t surprise me if this is some surreptitious “variable aero” shenanigans.

The lorenzo and Iannone era aero always looked like it was angled to increase front tyre load when they couldn’t make the bike turn, the aero element geometry looked pretty ineffective with the front and rear suspension at full extension in full throttle/power mode, decreased wheelie intervention might have been a side benefit but I think they were looking at turning performance, especially late Bridgestone era with that mad front tyre.
Does anyone remember Lorenzo saying at maximum lean angles he was suffering a decreasing turn rate? That’s gotta be weird aero effects at 65 degrees right?

Good points. The aero drag coming down could be good? And/or, not as important for anti-wheelie as the rear squat?

The aero has come far from the initial Fokker Triplane one. So has the bike! I am just not sufficiently understanding the shapeshifter unfortunately. And/or, how the Duc got itself to handle so much better. Tech is changing a great deal. My brain is having trouble with the tail dragging part and I may be chasing mistaken simple assumptions. 

It would depend on the speed, the wings will be doing next to nothing at many corners...mind jumps to Phillip Island T1, fast and Ducati struggle there. Changing the attack of the bike to the air flow could be nice for drag but would kill the anti-wheelie of the wings to some extent, i guess. The bike squats so much at the rear that depending on the relative position of sprockets and swing arm pivot etc, you would get big changes in the effect of the chain force, if desired. The device does seem to be a 'form shift' rather than just a ride height device. Same same but different i know but it looks more like a two form b. To be honest i wish they'd throw it in the bin it looks awful, adds zero to the racing.

With you on wishing it was binned. (Can it go back in Pandora's box?). Trying to get past it, understand and accept. 

The Honda and Duc are really interesting now! If Yamaha has a successful year, I am going to eat a lot of crow. It might be accompanied by tasty racing though, so there's that. 

Pecco looks so good on the bike. Martin too. It is an amazing piece of kit! The Honda looks to be taking a step in their direction in basics of longer and lower, eh? Not hearing resistance to aero being here much anymore either. "Can't beat em, join em." Or is it? The new tank is flatter and lower, and front upper fairing flatter in a more "Ducati looking" salad box tail - am I just seeing things?! It APPEARS lower! Is it?

According to a revisit of Mr Emmett's late Sept "Deep Dive into the 2022 Honda" the chassis bears a resemblance to the Yamaha. Great info in there, glad to give it a 2nd go. Sometimes great articles get scooted out of awareness after leaving the front page of latest news.

I think with aero you'd have to ban the atmosphere and race in a vacuum. As for shape shifters...just need to tweak the rules. The Honda looks a lot different to Ducati. No idea how it will make its time. Will be fun to watch and find out.

Crutchlow and A.Espargaro join for Day 3 at Sepang Shakedown. Everything else is more of the same. More info should be leaked out by now maybe, but more is coming when the racers hit the track. 

Bit of video. Mid day break a bit ago, Aleix #1 and Maverick #2 on timesheets. "It's only testing" stuff applies.