The second official 2017 MotoGP preseason test is currently underway at Phillip Island, and with Day 1 in the books Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez is the man to beat. Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi completed the session in second position followed by Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone in third.
Riders were able to get in a solid day of testing thanks to blue skies, but winds and cold temperatures early in the day did make for slow going at times. Marquez spent most of his day in the 1:30 range, focusing on shorter runs while he and the team searched for a suitable electronics base.
Rossi followed a similar pattern, with shorter stints of three to five laps before pitting for most of the day. He charged the timesheet late in the day on a new tire and was able to finish just 0.186 off Marquez’ leading lap.
“The feedback from the riders has also been positive and both are feeling confident and comfortable on the bike,” explained Movistar Yamaha Team Director Massimo Meregalli in a team press release. “This is further underlined by both riders dipping under the 1‘30s mark. Vale ended the day with a good 1‘29.683s lap on new tires and Maverick had a strong pace right from the start this morning, when he set a 1‘29s lap in cooler conditions. One of the main tasks for this test will be to do a race simulation, which is important for us. We‘ve been waiting to be able to complete a long run since Sepang and we would like to do it with both riders. If the circumstances allow it, we will start working on this target tomorrow.”
Iannone limped through the morning, faced with a number of set-up gremlins that sacked his confidence. The team regrouped during the lunch break and came back with some solutions that allowed the Italian to push.
“I struggled a lot,” said Iannone in a team release. “But then in the afternoon, we changed some settings and improved step by step. At the final stage I was happy because the machine improved, as well as the feeling of the bike and the pace. This is a very positive outcome, because it means we have the capability to overcome very hard situations and turn them into a positive. As of tomorrow, we have the chance to work on pace as well as single lap performance, and also introduce some more improvements. We are on a good path. My crew chief is as new as I am with the GSX-RR and it’s very important for us to learn and get to know it at its best.”
Rossi’s teammate, Maverick Vinales, ended in fourth position trailed by LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow in fifth. The Honda rider had a new engine spec to test and numerous other small items to refine. His best lap came on his final rotation for the day. Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci followed in sixth-place.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa logged the seventh-quickest time trailed by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in eighth. Dovi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, finished 11th but was positive about the opening day of the Australian test.
“The tests here at Phillip Island have begun a lot better than in Sepang, and today we used the same base set-up that we had established at the end of the test in Malaysia,” Lorenzo explained in a team release. “It was a shame that during the last one and a half hours we were unable to improve our lap times while other riders did. We struggled to lower our times because of the strong wind and in addition the last rear tire we fitted didn’t have the same sort of performance that we had expected. In any case it’s positive the fact that every day we are accumulating new information and that we are always making small steps forward.”
Teams return to the track for the second day of testing on Thursday.
2017 MotoGP Phillip Island Test Day 1 Results
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:29.497
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:29.683
3. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) 1:29.926
4. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 1:29.989
5. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 1:30.065
6. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 1:30.262
7. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:30.281
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:30.410
9. Jack Miller (Honda) 1:30.426
10. Jonas Folger (Yamaha) 1:30.578
11. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) 1:30.631
12. Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) 1:30.770
13. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1:30.771
14. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 1:30.802
15. Johann Zarco (Yamaha) 1:30.867
16. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1:31.179
17. Pol Espargaro (KTM) 1:31.200
18. Loris Baz (Ducati) 1:31.249
19. Alex Rins (Suzuki) 1:31.432
20. Scott Redding (Ducati) 1:31.755
21. Sam Lowes (Aprilia) 1:32.307
22. Bradley Smith (KTM) 1:32.690