MotoGP 2021: Katar-Test Day 2

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Am zweiten Tag der MotoGP-Tets gestern in Katar drehte Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) die schnellste Rundenzeit, vor Ducatis Jack Miller und dem erneut stark aufgeigenden Aleix Espargaro auf der Aprilia RS-GP. Jetzt ist zwei Tage Pause, am 10. März folgen drei weitere Testtage für die Teams in Katar.

Zum Vergrößern der Fotos einfach draufklicken!

Fabio Quartararo: “I’ve been doing a lot of training in the off-season, motocross and also flat track, but riding a MotoGP bike is a different story. I am looking forward to some days off now so the blisters on my hands can heal. Still, I am so happy that we get to ride again in two days, because I am enjoying it so much! We improved the pace, that’s something really positive that we take away from today. The feeling is great, and I made good lap times. We will use these upcoming two days off to look at the data and decide on the next steps.”

By just over half an hour to play, Quartararo struck in the first 1:53 lap time of the test as the pace intensified under the lights, with Miller slicing up into P2 not long after. That was all Day 2 wrote at the top. So what was on the agenda barring simple speed? Fastest man Quartararo confirmed late on Saturday evening that Yamaha have a new chassis to try in Qatar, and the Frenchman was trying a carbon swingarm although he said he wasn’t using it when he set his best lap. After struggling to get the feeling on his YZR-M1 the first 30 or 40 laps, Quartararo was happy by the end of 59, but said that he needs a little bit more time compared to teammate Maverick Viñales to set that quick lap time from the off on new tyres, and it’s difficult to say whether the new chassis is better or not.

Viñales also confirmed that Yamaha have been trying plenty of things and his main focus so far has been rear grip. Judging from the timesheets, it’s going pretty well for the Iwata factory. Both riders seem to be very pleased with their progress so far with Viñales ending Day 2 in P7, 0.455s from his teammate. It wasn’t a totally slick day for Viñales though as both he and test rider Cal Crutchlow crashed at Qatar’s notorious Turn 2 – both were ok.

Both Petronas Yamaha SRT men also felt great after Day 1 and although Valentino Rossi’s was in P20 the day after. The Doctor seemed upbeat as he and Yamaha go through plenty of different things to try. After a great first day at the office, Morbidelli’s second day at the office also looked to have gone well after finishing up in P4.

Jack Miller: “I’m pleased with these first two days of testing with my new team. Today I lapped mainly with the new fairing: the sensations are very positive, and the bike seems more stable. For now, as is often the case here in Qatar, we are all very close, and we will be even closer at the end of these two tests! I expect a very fierce race weekend.”

Ducatis front-end holeshot device was confirmed today and this is something that Aprilia, Honda, KTM and Suzuki have at their disposal too. The second fastest Ducati on track was Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) in P6, with Bagnaia ending the day P9 on the timesheets. Miller confirmed that he’s enjoying himself on the bike and was able to push a little for a time attack towards the end, and the Australian also ran with the new aero for pretty much the whole day.

Aleix Espargaro: “It’s just a test, that much is obvious, but our step forward is just as obvious. We’re not talking about just one aspect of the RS-GP, but many small changes. The weight reduction is a benefit and the greater aerodynamic load provides stability, which translates into a bike that accelerates better. The important note is not so much the flying lap as the pace: we are consistent. Today during the race simulation, pace was objectively significant. The other side of the coin is the great physical effort required, especially after 10-12 laps. We need to work on that and on the right compromise between stability and handling.”

Over at Aprilia, the Noale factory tried to play down their Day 1 success but on the evidence that Aleix Espargaro was third fastest on Day 2, there’s plenty of reason to be excited. The entire new package seems to be going well as Aleix Espargaro put 69 more laps on the clock, with teammate Lorenzo Savadori adding 41 to his tally. The latter finished P17, 1.630 seconds away from top spot.

Aleix Espargaro explained that he did a long run to understand what the bike is going to be like over race distance, and he had good reports but said he and Aprilia need to find a way to enable him to ride it more relaxed as the new bike is more physical than last year. The number 41 improved by half a second though they’ve been trying lots of different things. 


Pol Espargaró: “We were not at the top but I am satisfied. We were 0.7s from the top and 0.5s from the top five which is a positive after only two days on the bike. I am happy with how the adaption to the bike is going, there are still areas to work on but physically I am coping well with how to ride the Honda. It is just a matter of time to understand how to make the most of the Honda, I think today we showed the progress you can make in just one day.”

At Honda, there was some new aero to try on Day 2 and all four riders were seen sporting the new fairing during Sunday’s action. Repsol-liveried duo Stefan Bradl and Pol Espargaro were sitting pretty at the top of the timesheets at the halfway point as the latter’s adaption from KTM to Honda continues to be smooth. Eventually, Espargaro finished the Day in P12 after another 62 laps under his belt on the RC213V, with Bradl continuing to mix it with the top times to finish P5 and impress once again.

Demolierte LCR-Hondas: Zwei Stürze für Alex Marquez am zweiten Tag, auch Takaaki Nakagami (Foto) landete im Kiesbett. Nach den Crashes vom Vortag können schon mal die feinlackierten Ersatzverkleidungen ausgehen, dann wird halt zusammengestückelt.

LCR Honda Castrol’s Alex Marquez crashed unhurt twice on Day 2, one at Turn 16 and one at Turn 2. Teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) also went down, the Japanese rider suffering his second crash of the Test – also at Turn 2 – but he too was ok. The duo were seen on Honda’s new fairing and finished together on the timesheets, P12 for Nakagami and P13 for Alex Marquez. 

Alex Rins: “I’m feeling quite good, today went pretty well and we tried quite a few different things. I tried the first version of the engine for 2022, which felt good and seems that it might have a bit more speed. After that we tried a few other small things. The times are really tight, but I’m happy with my pace at the moment. I had a small crash at Turn 2 at the end of the day, but there were no consequences. I’m looking forward to the next testing days.”

Team Suzuki Ecstar were one of five teams to bring a front-end holeshot device to the Qatar Test. World Champion Joan Mir and Alex Rins were both comfortably sitting inside the top 10 heading into the final hour of the day. A new chassis is on the agenda for the Hamamatsu factory as well as some other as yet unconfirmed parts, but so far it looks like all is well in the silver and blue ranks as they packed up early on Day 2.

Mir enjoyed his second day on track, rediscovering his feeling from 2020 was on the agenda and the number 36 did exactly that. One of Mir’s main aims is to improve his qualifying pace, but the Spaniard said today wasn’t the day to properly delve into that. Rins tried a new swingarm which made the bike a little more stable, and the number 42 also tried the 2022 engine. Great reviews, especially on top speed, were given.

Oliveira/KTM.

KTM were another manufacturer that debuted a new fairing today in Doha. This was narrower than the previous one and it was pictured on Miguel Oliveira’s Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine, with initial feelings seeming positive. However, with the wind, the word was that it’s difficult to properly tell how useful it is. Oliveira was the fastest RC16 rider on circuit though, claiming P11, 0.726s from Quartararo.

Verdient den Preis für die geilste Farbe: Petrucci auf der Tech3-KTM.


Fotos: Dorna, Yamaha, Repsol-Media, KTM/Polarity Photo, Suzuki

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Gerhard Rudolph, fährt Honda CB 1300 und am liebsten Jethelm mit dunklem Visier.

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