Mandalika MotoGP Test Sunday Times: Espargaro Puts Honda On Top As Test Ends

Pol Espargaro has ended the Mandalika test on top of the timesheets, the first time a Honda has topped the timesheets since Marc Marquez went fastest at the Jerez test which preceded the kickoff of the 2020 season. Espargaro came up just short of the 1'30s, recording a fastest time of 1'31.060 at the start of the day.

Fabio Quartararo ended the day in second, a fast lap a necessity for the Yamaha this year, as it was last year, the reigning world champion just a few thousandths shy of the time set by Espargaro. Yesterday's fastest man Luca Marini was quick once again, setting the third quickest time on the Mooney VR46 Ducati, and ending just ahead of Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia. Franco Morbidelli put the second Monster Energy Yamaha into fifth place, while Pecco Bagnaia was the fastest factory Ducati rider.

Alex Rins took seventh, the Suzuki Ecstar rider four tenths behind Espargaro, while Maverick Viñales put the second Aprilia into eighth. Marc Marquez ended the day in ninth, four tenths behind his Repsol Honda teammate, and just ahead of Johann Zarco on the Pramac Ducati.

There were a couple of absentees on the final day. Joan Mir came down with a stomach bug that left him incapacitated in his room, and unable to test all day. Raul Fernandez started the day, but was forced to stop after 7 laps due to vision problems. The Tech3 KTM rookie had suffered a bad crash on Saturday, which appears to have left him with a concussion which went unnoticed by the medical staff.

Action stopped for 45 minutes in the middle of the day, as an extra session of practice starts was inserted. There were concerns that the starts were damaging the track too badly, after worries about the surface of the track breaking up at Turn 1 and the final corner. But it was also an opportunity to allow everyone a chance to do a practice start, as many riders stopped before the end of the day, and there was less rubber on track.

Times:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1'31.060    
2 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'31.074 0.014 0.014
3 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'31.385 0.325 0.311
4 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'31.416 0.356 0.031
5 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'31.436 0.376 0.020
6 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'31.477 0.417 0.041
7 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1'31.478 0.418 0.001
8 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'31.488 0.428 0.010
9 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'31.574 0.514 0.086
10 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'31.603 0.543 0.029
11 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'31.620 0.560 0.017
12 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1'31.665 0.605 0.045
13 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'31.687 0.627 0.022
14 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'31.793 0.733 0.106
15 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'31.870 0.810 0.077
16 4 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 1'31.890 0.830 0.020
17 72 Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1'31.901 0.841 0.011
18 49 Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 1'31.915 0.855 0.014
19 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'32.010 0.950 0.095
20 89 Jorge Martin Ducati 1'32.544 1.484 0.534
21 87 Remy Gardner KTM 1'32.860 1.800 0.316
22 40 Darryn Binder Yamaha 1'33.049 1.989 0.189
23 25 Raul Fernandez KTM 1'34.896 3.836 1.847
No time set
  36 Joan Mir Suzuki      
Round Number: 
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2022
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Comments

…with the times quoted. Are you referring to overall times, or something else? Because the table you provide above David, does not correspond to your text. Apart from that, it seems Honda maybe on to something, and remains to be seen if the comfort of Pol will be the discomfort of Mark. Until he adopts of course. 
It will be very interesting to see how the Ducatis fare in the first race, because their performance during the tests does not exactly correspond to the winter hype. Are they holding something back? Did they focus on somewhat different targets and not on fastest time? You‘ll probably let us now in your upcoming report. Looking forward. 

This was always going to happen, he's one of "those" types. Quick, on the edge, in the gravel and often injured. I'll back Remy's cooler head to win the battle over the course of the season rookie vs rookie.

Yes, Gardner is the poster child for not riding over his head and not having any injuries 😂😂😂👍👍👍

My crystal ball says Miller was best Ducati of the day. Fabio best of all, Marc very close and Taka in company. Next is a group of Miller, Alex Marquez, Miguel Oli and Mav. Rins was there too but not many laps. Lots of riders without many laps. Martin very few laps and nowhere. Peco at least 1 second slower than Marc or Fabio. Either Ducati are carrying several bags of potatoes or they are in trouble...or testing lots of 'things'. Franco and Dovi looking better but still off Fabio. Honda looking like a real weapon and Marc is fit. . . .

Gotta give Pol some credit too. It might be a flash in the pan but I'm happy for him to be showing some early speed.

I wonder how far along those Fabio to Ducati talks are, because Jack seemed a little.. dejected to me even though his performance was pretty solid. He's definitely under the pump and there's no much he can do about it outside of talking to Suzuki and HRC promptly.

Duc riders have said they need to get electronics sorted for the new motor, but like the bike. It may well be that they are working on the bike more than chasing times? Looking for more rider quotes...

Peco said he was very happy with his 'race simulation' but it looks very strange. He was doing high 33's then drop to 42 for a lap, back to high 33's then bang in a 55, 18 lap run in total. Fabio also did an 18 lap run which was mostly low 33's and high 32's. Marc did a 10 lap run and was all in the 32's bar a 33.0. Jack did a 17 lap run, very consistent and around mid to low 33's. I noticed last year that Jack and Zarco tend to do better when the other Ducati struggle.

Bez did a great 25 lap run. The first 15 laps were all 33's up and down, the last 10 laps he dropped into the 34's + 1 lap of 35.2. Oliveira also made a good run, 20 laps, mid to low 33's plus the odd high 32.

Very hard to know what anybody is doing. The teams have their programs and they run them. What they then say to the camera is an entirely different thing I think. Don't forget the team reactions to Dovi's negative comments concerning the red bike. It might very well be that when they turn up to Qatar at the usual time, at a usual track, everything clicks. On the basis of the runs today, as they are, they need best part of a second per lap but I don't imagine that will be the gap come real race weekends.

If Fabio is seriously talking to other teams (rather than simply adding force to Yamaha negotiations) he would be wise to focus on Honda. Today Taka did very well, Alex has shown good form since day 1 Sepang. All four Honda riders are finding pace and not having to go far to find it. A completely new bike, new new new new complete change and it's looking mighty fine. Pol has always been quick, Taka has shown he can be very quick and Alex in a race has always been the invisible Binder. All the riders saying the times are coming easier. The Honda might well be losing its reputation as the most difficult bike on the grid.

....and they let Marc have this bike.

Hey WaveyD1974, where did you source the lap analysis of the test sessions? The results page at motogp.com has been upgraded and I cannot find the pdfs. Any help is appreciated.

Thanks.  

Hey mate. Results page, top right there's 'test results'. Then you have a series of filters, they just call the days FP1,2,3 etc. Then you get the results displayed and on the left of them you can see session info, analysis, combined seesions...right click save link as etc. Hope it helps.

The fast lap Martin crashed on was looking to be a few 10ths faster than Pol's. "Engine braking" not set up well enough as cause. 

Even though Quarty was quite fast on his longer runs, he was said to be openly very angry and loudly swearing in the box while trying to get the medium rear to work. Despite his times, he said "it was a disaster." 

Ducati didn't do fast lap runs until later in the day than everyone else and were focused instead on electronics settings. 

The Honda riders are fast and very happy. Right away.

Binder says he is happy with his bike finally nearing the end of the test. New swing arm, aero, etc all selected. They were quite focused and methodical. 

Tire sorting was a focus for everyone. Plus, track surface cleaning quickly turned to shredding. Sub par process and or materials have been used, it should be much more resilient and consistent. They must be preparing to patch it. 

they only have five weeks, race is March 20. Is the tarmac dissolving, or is it just a case of a new track needing to be broken in? I am having trouble understanding if this is serious (e.g., Silverstone drainage serious) or not.

Pecco's arm, protected by his red leathers I assume, looks like it was hit by more than a dislodged pebble, although any really small object can cause a lot of damage at 200mph.

So far, we just seem to have info from the riders. The "pebbles" are pieces of the surface coming free. In some turns, the track is visually having lowered spots where the line is. Like it is...eroding? Not normal, not wearing properly. Grip is generally fine after clean and rubber down. 

They should just push it back until the Asian fly-aways and put PI as the last stop. That way I can attend all of the rounds in one big hit and finish off with a bang back at home.

I mean.. just to make sure they get the tarmac right of course.

Sure, everybody had fast laps. The Ducati has shown itself to be super-fast in all days of both tests. Fabio has always been punching his tank and being very unhappy, never satisfied, always wanting more. The medium was not a happy tyre for anybody. Pol had the fastest lap but I think Marc and Fabio had the better of the test. It's just testing, ask Mav.

Software is an interesting issue. Do you remember pre-season 2019 ? Honda had issues, they were in trouble ! The issue even cost Marc a win in COTA. However, Marc's season wasn't too bad eh ?

One interesting thing about Ducati's software/engine braking issues. The image presented is that they have 'just' software issues and yet despite two test weekends + whatever testing has been done previously they still have issues with that pesky spec software. Sooooo much data. How many 2022 Ducati are there ? Do the '21 bikes also have the new engine ? Something vague, Sepang it was first touch of throttle, now it's engine braking not set up correctly....at the end of a test. It's that new uber powerful next level warp drive engine. Hmmmm more like rear grip issues and the software issue is the problem of trying to get as much as they can, as it is, which is not what was expected. Chassis. New ride height system throwing a curve ball ? Tardozzi mentioned braking, problems on exit, new bike turns better. The problem front end ceases to be a problem when the rear is a bigger problem. All very relative. If you create a problem and everything else doesn't fit with that problem, sometimes it's everything else that is suddenly the problem. When all is settled, +'s and -'s, maybe it's ok. The bike has shown that it can get from A to B, including the twisty bits, at a rapid rate.

It's just testing and 2019 is the perfect example.

Remy was dead last in crashes for full time riders in 2021.

Race stats - Raul left 75 possible points in the gravel. Remy 25 (again, dead last across all full timers). He literally IS the poster child, and 2021 Champion. Sorry to burst your bubble. 

So yes, I stand by my comment.

Cleaned up his act, and now you comparing it to a rookie’s year where Fernandez  almost beat Remy for the championship, that’s not exactly comparing apples to apples, is it?

Yes Remy was inconsistent earlier in his career. Fast at times but... Up & down like a bi-polar kangaroo I think I said.

I predicted that if anyone could get the best performance out of Gardner it would be Aki Ajo.

Now Remy is Moto2 world champion.

Lets see how R.G. 87 goes in some MotoGp races. Just over two weeks till it begins in Qatar.

The season starts in Jerez as they once said. By then we will have some real results to ponder.

Riders vary quite a bit in the lower classes. It took Raul until his 5th Moto3 season before he won a race (Ajo). Double crown Moto2 ace Zarco had three seasons of steady (not riding a Kalex) Moto2 improvement until he won a race and the championship in his 4th (got a Kalex). Also the only 125cc race Zarco won and all of his Moto2 wins were won with Ajo. Franco 4 Moto2 seasons before winning, Alex Marquez was here, there, not there, champ. Bastianini has 8 seasons in the Championship and 6 wins, 3 of which were in 2020. Even Marc didn't win a race for his first 2 seasons but he didn't have a Derbi. Third season he got a Derbi and won 10 races and the title (Ajo). Always worth imagining how Raul's season would have been if he had been elsewhere on another chassis, Remy too.

How did the medical staff miss Raul Fernandez with concussion! no excuse for that. Being a big rugby fan as well as motoGP there are now protocols in place to protect players from themselves .Let alone someone let loose on a + 200mph race bike with other riders close on track-Shocking.....   

Regardless of the history or recent safety changes - the kid was literally bruised down his face and across his temple etc.

Very strange one. With that much bruising and comments like "my reflexes weren't there so I crashed again".. it's a bad look.

And thank you for raising the matter - rider safety gets too little attention. To miss concussion in a man David says ‘took a very big tumble’ and ‘was wandering round on Saturday afternoon with bruises on his face from the impact’ is completely unacceptable. In my view, officials owe a special duty of care to riders new to the MotoGP paddock. This should not be allowed to happen again. 

I used to fake it REALLY well. I would know in real time that I was rising out above real cognitive defecits, it eas not just a source of pride, but one of survival.

Can we stop and reflect on "what was beautiful" at the Winter Tests?

This Aprilia, Wow! So beautiful. I want one, and wish it to succeed.

Honda...they LOVE it and the stopwatch agrees.

What would you add?

Zarco is done. Crested. Hey, you have a Quartararo about to be aboard a Ducati. No complaints heard here now!

Yamaha/Suzuki track. Torrid conditions.