It is a busy schedule for the MotoGP teams since coming back from their all-too-brief summer break. After back-to-back weekends at Brno and Spielberg, five teams headed to Misano, for a private test this weekend.
For Ducati (the only team to issue a press release after the test, to be found below this article), the test was mainly about preparing for their second home race at Misano in three weeks' time. Misano is a huge race for Ducati, and a good result there is an absolute necessity. If the times released by Ducati are accurate, then a good result is almost assured: Jorge Lorenzo lapped at just about the circuit pole record, while Andrea Dovizioso was six tenths slower than his teammate.
The two Ducatis were the fastest at the test, according to unofficial times collected by the stalwart Italian website GPOne.com, with both Lorenzo and Dovizioso significantly quicker than Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda and the factory Movistar Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales.
The reports from Misano suggest that the Movistar Yamaha team were working mainly on electronics, with recent WorldSBK transfer Michele Gadda joining the team to add his expertise. That was not the plan as given to me by Yamaha bosses Maio Meregalli and Lin Jarvis in Austria. "At Misano, we will start testing something for next year," Meregalli told me at the Red Bull Ring. "That is not anything related to the electronics, but there are many areas where we have to improve."
The times set by Rossi and Viñales suggest they were not chasing race setup for Misano, but rather focusing on actually testing the fundamentals of the Yamaha M1. This would suggest that Yamaha had real upgrades they were trying to evaluate, rather than just refine what they already have. That may include updates for next year, such as a new engine, but that is extrapolating a long way using just the tiniest sliver of data. 86 laps for Valentino Rossi and 95 for Maverick Viñales would seem to confirm that they had a lot of work that needed doing.
Aprilia were perhaps even busier than Yamaha. Aleix Espargaro flew home exhausted after 100 laps on the RS GP. Both Espargaro and Scott Redding (posting contritely on Instagram how happy he was with what he tested in Misano) had a lot of new parts to test. The carbon swingarm got another run out, as well as a new evolution of the frame.
The biggest update, though, was a new engine with better power for the Aprilia. Speaking to GPOne.com, Aprilia Racing boss Romano Albesiano described the improvements to the engine as "extremely positive". The data from the test was "very, very good", he said. As a concessions team (unlimited testing and able to modify their engine design during the season), there is a chance that the parts tested at Misano could be available to Espargaro and Redding at Silverstone this coming weekend.
The schedule remains punishing for the MotoGP teams. After the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend, some of the teams will head to Aragon for another private test the weekend after. From there, they head to Misano, after which they will finally get a weekend off.
Unofficial times from the test, courtesy of GPOne.com:
Ducati press release after the test:
The Ducati Team riders wrapped up today’s one-day private testing session at the Misano Adriatico circuit at 18.30 after a full day of work out on track. The test revolved around preparations for the San Marino and Riviera di Rimini Grand Prix, which will be held at the Adriatic Riviera circuit from 7-9 September.
Perfect weather and track conditions allowed the two factory Ducati riders to carry out the testing programme they had scheduled with their respective engineers, and they both set some excellent lap times.
Jorge Lorenzo completed a total of 72 laps, setting his quickest time in 1’31.9 while his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso did 90 laps with a best time of 1’32.5.
Michele Pirro, who will take part in the race as a wild-card entry, was also out on track with a third Desmosedici GP18 of the Ducati Test Team. The Italian, who set a best time of 1’33.5 in his 74 laps, will continue to test at the Misano circuit over the next two days.
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