After successfully claiming first and second place at the fourth round of the MotoGP 2016 at the Circuito de Jerez, the majority of the field remained at the circuit to complete a day of testing. For the Yamaha team it was surely a matter of, “If it isn’t broke then why fix it?”
Valentino Rossi won the race after a faultless ride on the Movistar Yamaha where he seemed more than comfortable. He finished ahead of his teammate Jorge Lorenzo who appeared disappointed with his performance after struggling with his bike. The main objectives for the Movistar Yamaha team were to assess; the three tyre options presented by Michelin, multiple electronics settings, the rear fuel tank and Lorenzo experimented with an optional exhaust.
Quiet day for race winner Rossi
Rossi remains confident in his M1 and was the last to appear on track saying “We didn’t have a lot of things to test today just some small details.” He still however managed to improve his fastest lap time set during the race by 0.458 seconds.
New to the 2016 version of the M1, the team are looking to include a rear fuel tank however the nine times world champion who has just extended his contract with the Movistar Yamaha team for two years said, “I felt better with the standard fuel tank so I think we’ll continue with the normal one.”
Michelin introduce three front tyre options
The main focus for the test was tyres as Michelin brought three new options for the front tyre for the riders to try throughout the day. Rossi said “The most important thing was the front tyre for Michelin.” After trying the three over the course of the day he said they “found something good”.
Lorenzo a man of little words
Rossi’s teammate Lorenzo clocked the second fastest lap during the test day and managed to improve his fastest time from the race by one second; his fastest time during the test was 1:39.332. He had very little to say about the test bar, “We tried a different setting to turn better on the corners and I think we made quite a big improvement.” He also said, “We tried some little things but nothing gave a better improvement.”
Tech 3 team aim to bridge the gap
The French Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team were also present at the test ahead of their team’s home GP at Le Mans. The independent team are working to close the gap between themselves and the factory riders and explored setup options and tyres. Pol finished as the fastest independent rider at the fourth round in Jerez in eighth position, he is leading the list of independent riders in the championship.
Pol managed to improve his fastest lap time from the race by 1.453 seconds and finished ninth overall after testing as Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was able to improve since the race leaving him seventh fastest (fastest independent).
A lot of adjustments made
After experimenting with a “lot of adjustments” Pol found that “all of them turned out to be positive”. Describing Jerez as “a track with low grip” the Spaniard said the “solutions really helped”. Pol was “pleased” with the tyres provided from Michelin; he had to use the harder compound tyre during the race as there “Wasn’t too many soft ones left”. During testing, Pol managed to complete more than thirty laps on the soft compound tyre “without any issues” and said that it is currently his “favourite compound”.
Combining a setting change with the new tyres meant that he felt the team had “made progress with the locking issues” they were experiencing with the front of the Tech 3 Yamaha. He spoke positively about the tyre manufacturers Michelin despite riders remaining unimpressed with the performance of their rear tyre during the race saying, “the tyres Michelin brought seem to be performing well” and that he feels they “have some solid points to take home”. He confirmed they will have another opportunity to test the new compounds after the Catalan Grand Prix.
Smith season will not change dramatically after test
Pol’s teammate Bradley Smith lapped 1.34 seconds faster on test day, though he admitted “Even though the results from today’s test are not incredible, we’ve made some good progress but I don’t think this will dramatically turn around my season”.
So far Smith appears to have struggled, he admitted this saying, “I’ve never found something I’m really comfortable with”. The British rider has been way down in the free practice sessions but then somehow manages to get it together briefly in qualifying one, sometimes managing to progress to qualifying two. This is unusual for the Tech 3 rider who challenged the factory riders last year along with his teammate.
Smith has the “best package in the garage”
During the test he was reconfirming knowledge on adjustments made at the beginning of the season, he said that these “weren’t negative” and felt that overall they had “gone in the right direction”. They reconfirmed that they “have the best package in the garage”.
As well as this they tested the three tyre options which they evaluated the best they could, they preferred to work with the “normal” tyres as the options are “for the future”. The French team continued to focus on the bike, Smith said they, “established a base setting” and they also were “modifying the rear shock” and also worked on Smith’s position on the bike.
In what Smith described as a “busy day” he said there were “no miracles”, but also said “we weren’t really expecting any”, however they were able to beat their objective of gain 0.3 seconds per lap.