Portimao MotoGP Test/Track Familiarization - Aleix Espargaro Fastest Of Timed Riders

The first day of the Portimao test is done and dusted, though calling it a test is a misnomer. The full-time MotoGP riders attended the test to learn the layout and to give feedback on the safety of the circuit. The MotoGP test riders are in Portimao to test tires for Michelin and help the French tire manufacturer put together the allocation for the race, and to figure out gearing and electronics at a circuit which is notoriously tricky for electronics setups.

All that means that the times are not particularly meaningful, a fact pressed home by the fact that most of the full-time MotoGP riders elected to ride without a transponder. The one point which may have some relevance is the fact that Aleix Espargaro - riding a MotoGP-spec RS-GP, as Aprilia have concessions and are allowed to test at any circuit still - was two tenths faster than Jonathan Rea's 2019 WorldSBK pole record, and 1.1 seconds faster than the WorldSBK race record, also held by Rea.

Times of riders who used a transponder:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia RS-GP 1:40.170    
2 38 Bradley Smith Aprilia RS-GP 1:41.122 0.952 0.952
3 6 Stefan Bradl Honda RC213V 1:41.726 1.556 0.604
4 51 Michele Pirro Ducati GP20 1:42.189 2.019 0.463
5 26 Dani Pedrosa KTM RC16 1:42.289 2.119 0.100
6 50 Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki GSX-RR 1:42.336 2.166 0.047
7 12 Maverick Vinales Yamaha R1* 1:43.699 3.529 1.363
8 88 Miguel Oliveira Yamaha R1* 1:44.700 4.530 1.001
9 41 Brad Binder Yamaha R1* 1:44.820 4.650 0.120
10 99 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha M1 1:44.910 4.740 0.090

* On Yamaha R1 road bikes

WorldSBK records:

Pole (SP) 2019 Jonathan Rea 1:40.372
Race (SPRC) 2019 Jonathan Rea 1:41.272
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With Motomatt w curiousity re what road bike KTM is running. Wild guessing not a competitor...Kawi? No pictures out yet. 


This is a WEIRD test - have we ever seen this array before? No. Not even close. 

From what I’ve read, Binder and Oliveira were on Yamaha YZF-R1’s, while Pol was on a Honda CBR1000RR-R, preparing himself mentally for 2021 along the way, apparently.

Since it was just a track familiarisation test for the regular riders, KTM could also have brought some ‘old’ RC8R’s, that would have been cool. Preferably with those loud pipes from the German Superbike championship, which they won in 2011, by the way. Those exhausts were bloody brilliant, I rode there once while two of those IDM superbikes were on track. I was worried they would crack the structure of the main grandstand, such was the thunder. Excellent haha

Pol was on an old 'Blade, Taka on the new FiRR-RBlade.

..but it's still amusing to see three road based R1 track bikes (I'm assuming with tire, exhaust and safety mods only?) ahead of Lorenzo on an M1. This is not to bash Lorenzo, but to point out how bloody good the open class road bikes are.

It cannot be any more perfect. In this year of uncertainty, the 2020 Motogp season ends at a track that is an almost complete unknown for the majority of the entire Motogp grid. No riders are willing to venture out on a limb to profess expectations. Most describe it as a rollercoaster with only blind corners. And most say they like the track a lot. But there is a lot of conservatism in the comments. Only Petrucci and Morbidelli spoke with any semblance of confidence due to prior racing experience with the track. But home track advantage usually ends by Sunday morning. Should the title be decided at Portimao, welcome to the absolute unpredictability that defines this year of Motogp. Awesome!

I am a little worried about Rossi's comment that it was fun but dangerous. 

Fun but dangerous is the definition of the mentality of the racer's mind. And those where fear is exciting...

I LOVE this track. It has a few roller coaster bits. They are perhaps best suited to a 600. Safety problem?! Nah, that is Tilke rubbish. What did they say about some beautiful tracks like Laguna?

Attacking that monster crest wave of a hill, descending into a left sweeper? Balls. And your electronics will NOT sort that out for you. This is a "rider's track." Horsepower can't rescue you. 

Mir. Here comes Mir there. Oliviera, give us a show. Love it. BraaaAAAAP!

3 Min Test Highlights