Barcelona MotoGP Test Times: Quartararo Fastest As Riders Work On Aero And Settings

Fabio Quartararo ended the Monday test at Barcelona as fastest, with a time that was nearly three quarters of a second faster than his fastest lap on Sunday. Pecco Bagnaia ended the day in second, just four thousandths off the time of Quartararo, while Johann Zarco was third fastest, and Aleix Espargaro was fourth fastest.

Not too much should be read into the times. Track conditions on a Monday after a race are always much better than on race day, with nobody having removed the Michelin rubber laid down during the race. In Barcelona, where the track has very low grip, the additional grip was almost welcome, making the track feel almost like a normal circuit. The downside of course is that it makes comparisons with the data and feeling of Sunday difficult, though the data itself is still valuable.

With 11 races left in the MotoGP season, this was the test used to evaluate aero for the remainder of 2022. Aprilia, Ducati, Honda, and Suzuki had all brought aero updates, while Yamaha and KTM went back to retest the two options they have already used this year. For Fabio Quartararo, it was a chance to try the new low downforce aero he had debuted at Mugello, but the test merely reconfirmed his decision to ditch the new aero for the race in Italy. They lost too much to wheelie in acceleration than they gained on the straight on top speed.

Similarly, the KTM riders stuck with their aero update already used this year, which consisted of removing the side pods to reduce the resistance to turning.

Aprilia brought the biggest update, a new fairing with a wider bottom half and a longitudinal ridge. Though the Aprilia riders did not speak after the test, we can assume that the new fairing is to help produce ground force in the corner and perhaps function like side pods, perhaps pre-empting any attempt at restricting aero add-ons.

Aleix Espargaro also tried the tail wing and aerofoil-style tail section Lorenzo Savadori tested at Mugello.

Suzuki also brought a new fairing, which Joan Mir tested alone, Alex Rins ruled out due to a fractured wrist. Mir was positive, and told us it helped reduce wheelie, and that on the basis of his feeling in the test, he would be keen to have it for the Sachsenring, where wheelie is a big problem.

Ducati brought a revised version of the 2022 fairing, already being used by the factory and Pramac riders. The fairing is slightly larger than GP22 version, providing a fraction more protection while still making the bike easy to turn, and even helping with top speed.

Enea Bastianini also tried the new fairing, and was keen to use it on his GP21. He felt it would work well at tracks with fast changes of direction, saying that it would be well-suited to a track like Silverstone. He had no idea whether he would get the fairing after the summer or not, however.

Honda also had a new aero package, a lower downforce package which Pol Espargaro tested. That helped with the wind, Espargaro said. Espargaro also tested the swingarm and chassis used by Taka Nakagami this weekend, confirming that the differences were small.

Apart from aero, there were swingarms and frames also being tried, as well as a lot of setup changes. At KTM, they were working with different front fork setups in the pursuit of more feel and confidence. For Remy Gardner, they found a better feeling by torquing a bolt at the rear of the bike to improve the feeling at the front. Gardner would not be drawn on precisely which bolt it was.

The satellite RNF WithU riders had a good test as well. Andrea Dovizioso found a setting which helped him brake without locking the front, something which helped a lot, while Darryn Binder felt improved confidence from the front with some fork changes.

The paddock packs up now and heads north for the next two rounds, starting at the Sachsenring. But first, a week to rest and recover.

Times:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'39.447    
2 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'39.451 0.004 0.004
3 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'39.500 0.053 0.049
4 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'39.558 0.111 0.058
5 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1'39.688 0.241 0.130
6 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'39.742 0.295 0.054
7 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1'39.780 0.333 0.038
8 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'39.795 0.348 0.015
9 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'39.844 0.397 0.049
10 49 Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 1'39.963 0.516 0.119
11 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'39.998 0.551 0.035
12 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'40.027 0.580 0.029
13 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1'40.047 0.600 0.020
14 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'40.088 0.641 0.041
15 87 Remy Gardner KTM 1'40.197 0.750 0.109
16 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'40.335 0.888 0.138
17 6 Stefan Bradl Honda 1'40.474 1.027 0.139
18 51 Michele Pirro Ducati 1'40.610 1.163 0.136
19 4 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 1'40.627 1.180 0.017
20 40 Darryn Binder Yamaha 1'40.746 1.299 0.119
21 72 Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1'40.765 1.318 0.019
22 25 Raul Fernandez KTM 1'41.144 1.697 0.379
Round Number: 
0
2022
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Comments

Impressive seeing Enea's bike with the full fairing without decals and paint... amazed to see all the different bits and pieces, bubbles, lines, contours etc...

Hey, look. We have to do this again, we lost a second Supersport RR guy today on The Mountain Course.

Davy Morgan, 52 yrs (Fifty Two!) from Northern Ireland was involved in an accident on the third and final lap of the first Supersport race. It was hotly contested. There are repaved parts of track and great conditions giving motivation. Records are at risk of falling.

Davy was an old school TT competitor, he ran them ALL since 2002. What the feck have ANY of us done so consistently? This guy is a CORNERSTONE of the TT. Today’s Supersport Race was his 80th TT start. His career included a 7th place finish in the 2006 Senior TT (and a 5th place in the 2008 Lightweight). A 7th in the Senior is MASTERCLASS. 

Davy had recorded 49 finishes which included 25 top-twenty results, and his previous performances had earned him 14 Silver Replicas and 30 Bronze Replicas. His best lap around the TT Mountain Course was at an average speed of 125.134mph which he set in the 2010 Senior TT.

Our warmest appreciation, chapeau mate. Lovely job. Who has lived so richly?

Whatever anyone thinks of the TT, it remains the ultimate challenge, in a risk averse world. We smile through the tears for Davy and the others but would we-or even could we-deny them this life so lived?

I was never a fan until I went there in 2010. Still not a great fan, sad about the human wastage although seriously impressed with the sheer balls (or ovaries, in the occasional case) of the riders, but I understand better why those riders do what they do. I actually ran into Mitsuo Itoh -- he was the first (and I think, only) Japanese racer to win there, in the 50 cc race in 1963. I'd met him at a couple of press intros when he was a top gun in Suzuki management, and he told me there that he'd come back every year since 1963 on holiday to watch the TT. Definitely seems to get into your blood.