Austria MotoGP Test, Day 2: Ducati Domination Continues

The second day of testing at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria saw the Ducatis continue to dominate the timesheets, as times continued to tumble. It was Andrea Iannone's turn to top the timesheets, the Italian posting a very fast lap to beat his teammate Andrea Dovizioso by nearly half a second. 

Test rider Casey Stoner set the third fastest time, though a late fall at the end of the session hampered any further improvement. Stoner put the fall down to using soft tires for the first time in four years. He was unhurt in the crash, but ran out of time to get back out on track. Stoner has spent all his time testing the GP16 without wings, while the two factory riders tested the bike with wings. 

Hector Barbera rounded out the Ducati top four, over eight tenths behind Iannone, and just ahead of the two Movistar Yamahas. Valentino Rossi was nine tenths slower than Andrea Iannone, but improved his time from Tuesday by nearly nine tenths. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo took nearly a second off his best time, setting the sixth fastest time.

The two Suzukis followed the Yamahas, Maverick Viñales leaading Aleix Espargaro by just over a tenth, Viñales inside a second of Iannone, Espargaro just over a second behind Iannone. Cal Crutchlow was the fastest Honda, 1.2 seconds off the pace of Iannone.

The KTMs continued to test, Mika Kallio closing the gap to the leaders by three tenths of a second. Kallio lapped around the same pace as Ducati's Michele Pirro, finishing a few hundredths off the pace of the Italian. The KTM appears to be making good progress.

Times from Wednesday, both sessions, and improvement compared to Tuesday:

Pos No Rider Bike Time Diff Prev Improvement
1 29 Andrea Iannone Ducati 1:23.240     -1.107
2 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1:23.680 0.440 0.440 -0.084
3 27 Casey Stoner Ducati 1:23.865 0.625 0.185 -0.637
4 8 Hector Barbera Ducati 1:24.091 0.851 0.226 -0.558
5 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:24.169 0.929 0.078 -0.885
6 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1:24.194 0.954 0.025 -0.981
7 25 Maverick Vinales Suzuki 1:24.208 0.968 0.014 -0.387
8 41 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 1:24.335 1.095 0.127 -0.888
9 45 Scott Redding Ducati 1:24.375 1.135 0.040 -0.086
10 68 Yonni Hernandez Ducati 1:24.396 1.156 0.021 -0.775
11 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1:24.455 1.215 0.059 -0.983
12 50 Eugene Laverty Ducati 1:24.497 1.257 0.042 -0.254
13 43 Jack Miller Honda 1:24.555 1.315 0.058 -0.790
14 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1:24.602 1.362 0.047 -0.390
15 53 Tito Rabat Honda 1:24.760 1.520 0.158 -1.435
16 51 Michele Pirro Ducati 1:25.139 1.899 0.379  
17 36 Mika Kallio KTM 1:25.191 1.951 0.052 -0.865
18 12 Tom Luthi KTM 1:25.705 2.465 0.514 -0.700
19 76 Loris Baz Ducati 1:26.453 3.213 0.748 +0.459


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In the F1 race recently, there was a lot of talk about the curbs being too violent. Any word on how this affects the GP bikes, or do they all wisely stay off of them?

I don't expect them to violently destroy the bikes like what was seen with the F1 suspensions, but I could see how it would be very upsetting to the bikes.

I did see some of the f1 coverage but I was kinda dozing through most of it, but If it's the kerbs I'm thinking of then they can and would be unbolted and removed from the track for motorcycle events

The idea of a race in which the pecking order is naturally reshuffled is terrific. It means there is enough variety between one circuit and the next. And maybe we'll even get a whole different result without the inteference of wet weather.

Fingers crossed.

Is there a reason why Aprilia opted not to use the transponders for the test? Could they possibly be afraid that KTM post better times than they did?

Any unofficial or rumored times for Lowes and other Apes? I'm in a social media blackout where I am just now so can't check the twitter feed!

"This is a Ducati track" - after all our years of asking if we were going to a Honda or Yamaha track, we have arrived. This is welcome.

Stoner is very fast, at least for the distances at hand for a test. No wings? Probably good for the 2 tenths to be in front of Dovi eh? We won't know until it is announced of course, but the idea that they are sniffing at a wild card at either here or Phillip Island seems a safe consideration. Quite a "test rider" - that bike needs an alien, let us hope that Lorenzo can adapt comparably to how Honda can right their unruly beast for next year.

KTM - looking GOOD. Kallio is with Pirro! Aprilia may well be outmatched, and Suzuki may get some orange company. Would like to see speed trap numbers, the power may be a surprise. Smith and P.Espargaro are you smiling right now? Not so much Lowes and A.Espargaro?

The good entrance of the KTM has me pondering Kawasaki. Whatever reasons you have had to decline invitations to the party must be seeming decreasingly relevant. I bet you HAVE a design. Come on in, the electronics are there, and your old chassis builders would love a call! Grab some youngster and J Rea. The Michelins are going to be easier to develop around, the Bstones were so unconventional. How long will your WSBK accomplishments satisfy you? Go for it greenies.

The bike he crashed had wings (there is a photo of the damaged fairing) so he was testing with wings at least once.

Agree; it appears that Stroner went out with the older chassis wings, and soft tyres to have a blast.  Last time he rode a motoGp bike with Michelins was 2006, and on a second-string Honda.

Going out on a limb here: that wasn't testing - which has been 95% of Stoner's  focus in his test rides - but playtime with just maybe a personal element to see how he might go on a wildcard at say...P.I.? ( Hope springs eternal).

If I had to take a guess here Casey was most likely testing the bikes without the winglets for the 2017 sesaon when the ban goes into effect. I am quite sure that Ducati wants to see what the impact of no winglets is gong to have on their bikes. This will no doubt prompt fairing redesigns, so I think they need to establish new baselines in order to move forward. Just a guess, but it would seem logical to me. Regardless, seems he was doing a pretty fair job without the Winglets! It would be cool to be able to look at the data to see just what the difference was.

Stoner's own FB feed shows him on a Ducati with winglets. He doesn't appear to have made any comments as to whether he found any difference with/without them.

Are you kidding me? Off the bike for how long? Soft tires? And still that FAST?!!? Come on David......there's gotta be some rumors/gossip!

Promising. Both days at Austria have featured an interesting half second(ish) gap between first and second. Times also dropped substantially day over day. Both likely due to the unfamiliar nature of a brand new track. 

But if you squint, that half second from first to second may also be obscuring the fact that Kallio's actually running about 1.5 seconds off the leaders' pace. An idea that's somewhat reinforced by the fact that he's running only a second behind the factory Yamahas. 

I've been disappointed before. I'll try not to get my hopes up. But I think this bike might really prove to be a contender once it finds itself under the transplanted Tech 3 teammates in oh-so-familiar Valencia come November. (Hopefully at least a threat to the Ducatis and Suzukis, if not the Hondas and Yamahas.)

Realistically, the gap is 1.5 seconds as you've mentioned.. but, I also have to wonder how much faster a top rider could go.. No offence to Kallio

Has anyone heard of/seen any speed trap numbers? I heard that KTM is quite powerful already. 

From what I gathered some of the riders said the the circuit has some dangerous spots and are concerned about safety. But I have the impression that now that they've voiced their concerns nothing will happen - the organizers are not gonna remove a wall, right? From what I read and the type of danger it represents, they should simply cancel the race.... of course they won't.
So the terrible death of Salom seems to be already in the very remote past.
What's the point of having the safety commission?

If we look at the last FP3, we see that Aprilia were only .5 sec closer to the top than KTM in this test, and that after 9 races in the season, with full time GP riders. I know it's not an exact comparison, but I think that Aprilia, and even Suzuki, should be worried.

Good to see him getting a little bit highter up the timesheet every race.  But where's the BIG jump I know he's capable of bringing? Is he being too cautious?  Come to think of it, does he ever crash?

I am just as impressed as everyone else and all credits to KTM, but you also have to remember that this is the track that KTM had been using to develop their bike till this point, so the bike and rider are both dialed in for the track, which gives them an advantage over others too.

That is definitely worth recognizing. Do we know yet whether KTM will be participating (and publishing times) at the remaining official tests for the season? 

KTM, Luthi nor Kallio have never 'tested' RC16 in Red Bull Ring. They had the initial roll out there in October 2015 when Hoffman rode the bike around for 3 days.

After his crash Stoner could have criticized the Michelins (lost the front before full lean). Or the bike set up. Or parts he was testing and how they matched up with the package. Or the track. NOPE.

“It's the first time I've put a soft tyre in for many years. The corner before I had more chance of crashing probably, because I went in there and was ready for it. Everything went well. Then I went into the next corner and the front just closed on me. 

“For sure I had maybe a little bit more speed, but because we arrive on the limiter you can't really go faster into that corner. The limiter just arrives earlier because you have more grip. 

“So it was a little bit strange for me, but anyway clearly because of the soft tyre. We've been running the hard tyre all day for the last two days. So we probably had a little more weight coming from the rear onto the front and just wasn't ready for it. 

“It was just on the way to Turn 6. I didn't even get to maximum angle. It was disappointing but at the same time it's been good; four years without basically making a mistake - it had to come to an end sometime!”

Btw, yes he had the full Red Baron wings fitted.

Re a wild card at this track he said "it's not going to happen." On a twitter post about the crash he ended it with #leaveittothepros

I like this guy. Even way back when, when he was a bit off put by the media while racing. I always appreciate his manner of speaking, even when he wasn't saying what I preferred he would. Now Casey, for the record you still are a pro! A pro tester. Sometimes they do wildcards. Especially at their home tracks...