Just before the MotoGP field headed off for four whole weeks for the ‘Summer Break’, some made a quick two day stop at the Red Bull Ring in Austria for two days of private testing. Although there are still a few weeks between the test and the race, it could be an indication of what was to come as Ducati Team rider Andrea Iannone was the fastest over the two days.
The majority of the teams took to the Red Bull Ring to test
The test comes just after a second consecutive wet round at the Sachsenring were Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez won the race extending his championship lead. However the Spaniard was not present along with his teammate Dani Pedrosa.
The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith were also missing as was Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider Stefan Bradl who also missed the race at the Sachsenring after he suffered a concussion following an incident during the morning warm-up session.
KTM tested alongside the other manufacturers
Now not only were the MotoGP riders present, but their test riders were also there; for example Casey Stoner was present continuing to help with the Ducati Team.
Also at the test was the KTM who are due to join the field in 2017; it was an important opportunity for the team to see how they fair against the other manufacturers.
KTM test rider Mika Kalio and Moto2 rider Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) were there to test the KTM RC16 that will next year be ridden by Smith and Pol Espargaro.
Second chance for Lowes to experience his new machinery
British Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 rider Sam Lowes had the opportunity to adapt and learn about his new ride for next season as he will be promoted to the MotoGP class where he will pilot the Aprilia RS-GP; test rider Mike De Meglio was there along with current team rider Alvaro Bautista however they did not run transponders and a time was not recorded for other teams to see. The test was Lowes second experience aboard the RS-GP.
Extra opportunity to test Michelin tyres
As this is the first season in which French tyre manufacturer Michelin are the new suppliers to the MotoGP after taking over from Bridgestone, it was an extra opportunity for riders to work on their setup of the bike with the latest tyres available. Tyres was the main focus for a lot of riders and they tested various setups and compounds.
Over the two days conditions were ideal for the riders, unlike what they have experienced during the last two rounds at the Assen GP and the German GP. On day one Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Maverick Vinales fell whilst working on speeding up at the Red Bull Ring before turning their focus to electronics; Vinales was unharmed.
Ducati dominated at the Red Bull Ring
Both Ducati riders took to the Red Bull Ring aboard the new chassis for the Desmosedici and what an improvement it must have been to performance as Iannone dominated, and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was the only person who could get anywhere near to his time. By the end of day one Ducati had eight bikes within the top ten fastest!
Unofficial test results
Iannone finished the test with a fastest time of 1:23.240, his teammate Dovizioso 1:23.680 and test rider Stoner was third with a time of 1:23.865. The Ducati Team completed the top three and were the only riders able to lap under 1:24 minutes. Stoner had a small spill towards the end of the session; his first time using a soft tyre in four years caused his first crash in the same time.
Avintia Ducati rider Hector Barbera finished fourth fastest aboard his Desmosedici GP14.2 with a time just outside the 1:24 minute barrier. He finished ahead of Movistar Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo who were almost a second off the fastest time set by Iannone.
Six Ducatis in the top ten
Vinales finished seventh fastest despite his crash on day two, his teammate Aleix Espargaro was over a tenth slower in eighth. British rider Scott Redding (Octo Prama Yakhnich Ducati) who just missed out on a podium at a consecutive podium at the German GP was ninth fastest and Pull & Bear Aspar Ducati rider Yonny Hernandez completed the top ten; this mean that after day two six Ducatis finished within the top ten.
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow just missed out on the top ten but remained the lead Honda. Irishman Eugene Laverty (Pull & Bear Aspar Team MotoGP) finished twelfth fastest ahead of Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller in thirteenth and Tito Rabat in fifteenth, Danilo Petrucci split the two Honda riders finishing fourteenth aboard his Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati.
Michele Pirro, who has made several ‘wildcard’ appearances this season as he has stepped in for injured riders finished sixteenth ahead of the KTM test riders Kalio and Luthi who took seventeenth and eighteenth; they finished approximately two seconds slower than Iannone but only about one second slower than the Yamahas.
As the Aprilia team chose not to run with transponders, there is no way of us knowing where they would have placed overall.
Test cut short for rehabilitating Baz
Avintia Ducati rider Loris Baz returned to the MotoGP after missing several rounds due to breaking his foot and having to undergo surgery following a racing incident during the Mugello GO where he became victim to Bautista crashing out.
He was present at the test in Austria but was unable to participate on the Wednesday afternoon as the injury sustained with his foot in the end proved too painful after it was under so much pressure from the previous Friday.
Baz’s session ended early and now he and his fellow competitors have almost four weeks to rest, recuperate and relax until they return for the tenth round of the MotoGP season at the NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Osterreich at the Red Bull ring I Spielberg, Austria on August 14th.
But what are we supposed to do until then?