2014 Qatar MotoGP Test Day 2 Times: Bautista Takes Charge On Second Day

After the Yamahas took the honors on the first day of the Qatar MotoGP test, on Saturday, it was the turn of the Hondas to shine. Alvaro Bautista set a fast time early on during the test, which was good enough stay at the top of the timesheet for the rest of the session. Stefan Bradl grabbed the second spot behind the Go&Fun Gresini Honda of Bautista, the LCR Honda man three tenths slower than the Spaniard. Aleix Espargaro once again led the Yamaha charge with a late lap, but though he came within a tenth of the time of Bradl, he was nearly four tenths off the pace set by Bautista.

Bradley Smith led the Monster Tech 3 team, just behind Aleix Espargaro but once again frustrated at not being the fastest Yamaha. Once again, however, Smith's pace was consistently fast, posting a lot of laps in the high 1'55s and very low 1'56s. Tech 3 teammate Pol Espargaro was 5th, a quarter of a second behind Smith and seven tenths off the pace of Bautista, while Andrea Iannone was the first of the Ducatis on the timesheet, the last rider to get within a second of the time of Bautista.

A lack of top speed continues to punish Honda's production racer, especially difficult at a track like Qatar with such a long straight. Nicky Hayden was the best of the RCV1000R-mounted riders, 1.7 seconds behind Bautista on the satellite RC213V. Scott Redding has started to make strong progress, closing the gap on Hayden, and ending ahead of Hiroshi Aoyama, a sterling performance by the MotoGP rookie. Redding has been boosted by a big improvement in braking, the area where he had struggled most of all during the first two tests at Sepang.

There was also a major meeting of the Open class teams at Qatar, where they gathered with Dorna's technology chief Corrado Cecchinelli and Magneti Marelli staff to discuss the latest version of the spec software. The Open teams were unanimous in deciding not to run the latest version of the software - extremely powerful and complex, and based on the software provided by Ducati at the end of last year - as they simply did not have the knowledge or the staff to set it up or manage it. They will continue to run the 2013 version of the software for the rest of the season. Ducati, with factory budgets and levels of staffing, can get the most out of the upgraded software, and will run the 2014 version of the software. This appears to have been the reason for Carmelo Ezpeleta to have created the Factory 2 class. Given the fact that Ducati managed easily last year with 5 engines and 21 liters, running with 9 engines and 22.5 liters should be trivally easy.

The decision by the Open teams to avoid the more complex software lays bare the expense which electronics imposes on the private teams. For more detail on the Open software story, see the following series of tweets from MCN's Matt Birt. Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6.


Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Diff previous
1 19 Alvaro Bautista Honda RC213V 1:55.194    
2 6 Stefan Bradl Honda RC213V 1:55.508 0.314 0.314
3 41 Aleix Espargaro Yamaha Forward Open 1:55.586 0.392 0.078
4 38 Bradley Smith Yamaha M1 1:55.627 0.433 0.041
5 44 Pol Espargaro Yamaha M1 1:55.876 0.682 0.249
6 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati GP14 1:56.026 0.832 0.150
7 5 Colin Edwards Yamaha Forward Open 1:56.289 1.095 0.263
8 68 Yonny Hernandez Ducati GP13 Open 1:56.480 1.286 0.191
9 69 Nicky Hayden Honda RCV1000R Open 1:56.923 1.729 0.443
10 45 Scott Redding Honda RCV1000R Open 1:57.154 1.960 0.231
11 7 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda RCV1000R Open 1:57.281 2.087 0.127
12 17 Karel Abraham Honda RCV1000R Open 1:57.728 2.534 0.447
13 23 Broc Parkes PBM Aprilia 1:57.730 2.536 0.002
14 8 Hector Barbera Avintia Kawasaki 1:57.738 2.544 0.008
15 70 Michael Laverty PBM Aprilia 1:57.860 2.666 0.122
16 63 Mike Di Meglio Avintia Kawasaki 1:58.175 2.981 0.315
17 9 Danilo Petrucci Aprilia ART 1:59.305 4.111 1.130


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The continuing Saga of testing is showing some interesting things. Aleix is showing that he is deserving of the ride he has gotten. He seems to be one of the few pushing through any issues he is having to get good solid times. Bradl and Bautista seem to be locked into a battle of who is the best Honda outside the factory. Neither one of them seeming able to distance themselves from the other. I hope Bautistas times make other teams start using Showa again. They are a solid suspension company. The real surprise for me though is the times that Bradley Smith laid down a whole lot of 1'55"s in succession. I do not know if Randy Mammola was helping last year, but right now I am seeing a difference.

Last thought, I wish Nicky Hayden would go to WSBK, because he will not get another good ride in Motogp. Watching his luck getting the worst bike or short end of the stick is hard to watch. He is not the only one on the powerless Open Hondas, but as a fan, I would rather see him in a series where he can at least be apart of the action, and not rolled rubber that sits off the mainline of a corner.

Natural order seems restored. Good lap by Bautista, that.

This whole mess is pretty much Dorna's fault. They should have forced Ducati to use the 2013 MM software. That's the point of the Open rules, you sacrifice using your own developed software in exchange for more engines, fuel etc. Ducati is sacrificing nothing at the moment.

2 things:
This looks more like what one might expect for lap times, and keeping in mind that A.Espargaro is getting a boost from the soft tire that will only apply in qualifying this looks even more "normal."

Unfortunate news that EVERY team but Ducati is unable to run the significantly updated software for the whole year. Not good. Illuminates the need for Factory 2 specifications. If Cal or Dovi beat Lorenzo at Qatar be ready for a serious outcry! Watch for a possible return of the "Ducati power" comments on the big straight.

Ducati handed out their software to everyone. This software cost them millions to develop and they gave it away for free. I know it helps them but it could help every open team out there. They should be commended for such a thing not ridiculed. If HRC and Yamaha don't like it then ante up or shut up.

This factory 2 business is complete and utter nonsense. Once again the fans aren't even in the discussion. Open rules for Ducati presents a more competitive series all the way around but hey we can't have that. I hope Ducati, Gigi, Dovi and Cal rub their noses in it this year. I can't wait to hear Cal's interview about all this foolishness.

The software was almost worthless to anyone not using their exact setup so it's value to other teams is highly questionable. Ducati gamed the rules, it's been their modus operandi for years, look at SBK.

I know that there's a lot of weird hate for Honda here, especially from Americans, but Ducati are hardly squeaky clean.

BTW the development cost of the software is irrelevant, it's a cost of business, not an investment. It gets written off every year in the marketing budget (where MotoGP participation will sit in the spreadsheet) so don't act like they're being in any way altruistic.

You could make exactly the same point about the mega money gearbox in the factory Hondas. Rules were made with the intention of forcing conventional boxes (no dual clutch), Honda spent large on finding a way round this, ended up so far in front that Yamaha had to develop their own version. The rules are the rules, and Honda played them to their advantage. Ducati have done the same thing, and again it is 'piracy' that they've done it!

Development cost irrelevant? I think these companies would differ in opinion. That's millions and millions of dollars spent. Trust me, the furthest thing that is, is irrelevant.

The software is complex so in time the other teams will learn how to use it. This whole debacle has shown that the MM spec ECU and software has the potential to completely replace the factory software adequately. That's why HRC is so pissed.

HRC will cry and whine their way to a competitive advantage. You make the factory software a requirement for all bikes and one mfr cannot outspend the others any longer. HRC is going to continue to cry about this. Instead of having some confidence and settling this on the track they instead chose to moan and whinge and went to Dorna's head office and had a temper tantrum.

HRC has been gaming the rules for years. Ducati exploits the rules, much like HRC has in the past, and it's a crime. What a sham. Strange thing seeing a large company and the biggest motorcycle mfr on the Earth act like a small child who has just had their sucker stolen from their mouth.

Ignoring the fact you presumably mean value-less, it is not that either.

Why couldn't/wouldn't Yamaha, through Forward, analyse and adopt or adapt the more complex software? Surely this could provide better electronics for another Open team.

Ducati did what was asked, Honda and Yamaha declined but could benefit and, in Yamaha's case, appear to have.

If the software had been handed out the day after Valencia that would be one thing. To drop it on the other Open teams this late means that only Ducati has any hope of using it. Huge advantage for them vs. other Open teams, and not close to fair.

Honda seem to have been caught on the hop by Ducatis' & Yamahas' whole-hearted embrace of the open rules. Honda has supplied an open class bike intentionally spec'ed to ensure that it is uncompetitive with the satellite factory bikes of Bradl & Bautista, just as their bikes are spec'ed to be a tier down on the Repsol bikes. This cynical manipulation has been laid bare by Yamaha playing by the open rules & supplying bikes to Forward capable of challenging the Tech 3 Satellite bikes & the official entry at least on a one lap flyer basis.

In other words Hondas' focus was on stacking the deck, Yamahas' was on preparing well for the inevitable change to spec software.

There are 2 'open' software options, one for Ducati and one for everyone else? How is this a level playing field for the privateer teams? Since they say they need to hire more engineers to deal with the sophistication where is the cost savings for them? With complex software the bikes won't be sliding sideways and puling big wheelies so where is the better spectacle for fans?

The more time goes on the more this farce of control electronics is revealed as nothing more than a power play by Dorna to control even more of the series. IMO the only thing they do well is produce a great video feed, too bad the FIM can't restrict them to this activity only.

9 riders will be using the simple software and 4 riders will be using the complex software. Why even have the complex software as an option if not to do a favor for one manufacturer, something that reeks of favoritism and collusion? And when does paring back the software functionality start to happen?


MotoGP is supposed to be about the pinnacle of motorcycle racing.

Isn't it sad that all the discussions and rules lately are all about software and electronics?

Those that have the best computer boffins and hardware will win, whereas the rest will fight it out depending on what level of electronics, tyres and politics will come good?

It seems this championship will be decided on the right choice of rubber and electronics?

How long before Duracell, Apple, Microsoft and even Durex become major sponsors of MotoGP?

Heard Nicky blipping the throttle on his proddy Honda, it went woof, woof, woof. What a mutt.

If you can't see how Honda influences this series to their advantage from the inside then you are very naive. They have from the beginning. This isn't a singular incident, there's a pattern here. Were it through blind threats of leaving or through the japanese-centric MSMA they get their way 99% of the time.

The switch to 800's- Honda "that ducati is waaay to fast!" Aka "um yeah top speeds are getting dangerous!"

Control tires- Honda "the bridgestone tire is giving Ducati an advantage" Aka "Spec tires is a cost cutting measure"

I think it's funny that Honda talks about the "Spirit of the Rules" when their entire tactical approach to racing involves crushing the opposition through unbiased technical and financial advantages.

I'm a big fan of Honda products, but HRC's unfair influence on the sport makes me cringe...

... rumor or hints that Honda might actually give a sh*t about the RCV1000R teams that plunked down enormous sums for one of the worst bikes on the grid? Power upgrade, ongoing development, anything?

I wonder if Alvaro "torpedo" Bautista will be making an appearance in the first few turns on lap 1? :)