2016 Phillip Island MotoGP Test Wednesday Times: Petrucci Fastest in Day Lost to Rain

The weather was the main protagonist on the first day of the Phillip Island test on Wednesday, the rain dominating proceedings, limiting track time and frustrating the work of development. The track opened with rain still falling, no one venturing out for the first hour, and only a slow trickle of riders emerging in the second hour. Some riders chose to put in some wet time to work on the common software, and gauge how it reacts in the wet, while also taking the measure of Michelin's wet tires.

The weather improved as the day went on, though the track never really reached its peak potential, damp spots remaining throughout. It did dry out reasonably well during a couple of spells, late in the afternoon and then in the final twenty minutes, allowing most of the riders to take a run out on slicks and set some sort of time. Even then, Danilo Petrucci's quickest time of the day was still well off the usual Phillip Island pace, three and a half seconds off the lap record, and two and a half seconds slower than the fastest lap of the spectacular 2015 race.

The tricky conditions rendered the timesheets even more meaningless than they are normally at a test. Pramac rider Petrucci was the fastest man on the day, leading the way ahead of Maverick Viñales on the Suzuki, with Bradley Smith on the Tech 3 Yamaha in third. Scott Redding put the other Pramac GP15 into fourth spot, ahead of Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda and Movistar Yamaha's Valentino Rossi in 6th. A handful of riders decided against trying to put in any laps, including Andrea Dovizioso and the two Avintia Ducatis of Loris Baz and Hector Barbera. Jack Miller, freshly back from a broken leg, only put in a total of six laps, to assess his fitness.

There was one brief flurry of excitement, at least among photographers, as Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi encountered each other on the same piece of track for the first time since Sepang. Marquez caught Rossi, and sat on his tail for a moment, Rossi sitting up to let him pass, then pitting shortly afterwards. No drama, as in Malaysia, but a hint of the simmering resentment which remains between the two.


Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati GP15 1:31.764    
2 25 Maverick Viñales Suzuki GSX-RR 1:32.483 0.719 0.719
3 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha M1 1:32.590 0.826 0.107
4 45 Scott Redding Ducati GP15 1:32.864 1.100 0.274
5 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda RC213V 1:32.948 1.184 0.084
6 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 1:33.088 1.324 0.140
7 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha M1 1:33.126 1.362 0.038
8 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati GP14.2 1:33.841 2.077 0.715
9 43 Jack Miller Honda RC213V 1:33.992 2.228 0.151
10 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati GP16 1:34.049 2.285 0.057
11 53 Tito Rabat Honda RC213V 1:35.273 3.509 1.224
12 93 Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 1:35.354 3.590 0.081
13 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki GSX-RR 1:35.584 3.820 0.230
14 50 Eugene Laverty Ducati GP14.2 1:35.679 3.915 0.095
15 12 Takuya Tsuda Suzuki GSX-RR 1:36.166 4.402 0.487
16 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha M1 1:39.825 8.061 3.659
17 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC213V 1:40.138 8.374 0.313


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Yesterday you wrote "Testing at Phillip Island does not teach you as much about the motorcycle underneath the rider as it does about the rider on top of the motorcycle" and today "The tricky conditions rendered the timesheets even more meaningless than they are normally at a test. Pramac rider Petrucci was the fastest man on the day". Petrucci put in impressive performances on all 3 Sepang test days yet his efforts were generally dismissed because he set his best time overall on the softer rear tyre that was withdrawn after the Baz incident. Satellite riders (and their teams) have to suffer the disadvantages of "hand-me-down" equipment but shouldn't have to suffer back-hand complements in reportage.

To put himself in the frame for Dovi's seat on the factory team all Petrucci can possibly do is outperform the factory riders in every session, every race. So far in 2016 that is what he is doing. Similarly for Bradley Smith, a rider that looks to be working hard to put himself in the frame for Lorenzo's seat if he moves on to Ducati, unlike his team mate Pol who's aim is no higher than hanging onto his ride at Tech 3. Viñales is not the only rider capable of using a good 2016 to springboard to a front row seat in 2017.

How honest reporting = back-hand compliments is beyond me. Reporting on facts and remaining seemingly unbiased is what David is really good at. Here is what David reported

Jorge Lorenzo is third fastest, nearly three quarters of a second off the time of Petrucci, but the Yamaha man suffered a crash in the early afternoon, sliding off at Turn 5 and damaging his M1. Pol Espargaro also crashed at around the same time, track grip reducing in the afternoon.

Then Baz's tire let go.

So yes Petrux was ahead early but this was the only time during the test that he was clocked fastest. No one dismissed his accomplishment but it should definitely be taken with a grain of salt.

IMO I can't see Yamaha putting Bradley on Lorenzos bike should he leave for Ducati but crazier things have happened.

... Suzuki have gained enough power and their seamless gearbox works, i'd argue that the Suzuki actually has the potential to be a front row seat as it is.

The chassis looks to be very, very good and the bike was performing well beyond expectations, especially considering the power deficit and lack of seamless gearbox last year.

This year with the spec electronics, seamless box and more power, I think Suzuki are a team to watch, Maverick especially so.

As per Thursday's PI test, he's doing extremely well on it.