Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo flexed his muscles yet again around the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya by setting the fastest lap of the Official Catalunya Test just one day on from his victory in the Monster Energy Catalan Grand Prix.
The Frenchman’s 1:39.447 in the opening part of the eight-hour Official Test was enough for him to cling on to top spot by the narrowest of margins, with Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia only 0.004 seconds adrift in second. Completing the top three was Prima Pramac Racing’s Johann Zarco, who, despite claiming the final podium place on Sunday, completed a tiring 93 laps during the day.
A small crash at Turn 2 didn’t deter Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro, as he quickly put Sunday’s embarrassment behind him by finishing the day fourth on the timesheets and only a tenth away from his title rival Quartararo. Repsol Honda will be hopeful they’ve managed to make a breakthrough on the new RC213V after Pol Espargaro grabbed the final spot inside a top five split by only a quarter of a second.
Ducati Lenovo Team’s Jack Miller posted a 1:39.742 inside the opening hour to end up sixth, half a tenth clear of Aprilia Racing’s Maverick Viñales. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Franco Morbidelli suffered a crash late in the day at Turn 5 but showed positive signs of improvement by closing the Official Test in eighth.
Completing the top ten was the Gresini Racing duo of Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio. Top KTM was Brad Binder in eleventh, ahead of the top, and only, Suzuki, Joan Mir, in twelfth.
All six factories unveiled a raft of brand-new parts throughout the course of the day, as they look to springboard themselves towards title glory in this pivotal middle part of the 2022 World Championship. Let’s take a look, factory by factory, at what was spotted in pitlane at the Catalunya Test.
World Champion and our most recent race winner Fabio Quartararo was focussing his work on a revised swingarm – the one he used to great effect in Sunday’s race. The Frenchman was swapping between the updated version and the one he started the year on as Yamaha’s search of more rear grip continues. WithU Yamaha RNF’s Andrea Dovizioso was also seen with the latest swingarm, plus the aerodynamic upgrade as they try to get the Italian comfortable on the Yamaha M1.
Franco Morbidelli, meanwhile, was working with a carbon swingarm, plus continued to use the upgraded aerodynamics package. Speaking afterwards, Quartararo and team boss Maio Meregalli confirmed that El Diablo has permanently reverted back to the original 2022 aero package and will not use the upgrade first seen at Mugello for the rest of the season.
As usual, there was a lot going on down at Ducati and the most interesting innovation was a rather different chassis spotted on Michele Pirro’s GP22 and, rather more interestingly, Johann Zarco’s Prima Pramac Ducati. Both the Frenchman and Davide Tardozzi refused to confirm whether we could see the chassis in action at some stage through 2022 or whether it was early work on the GP23.
Ducati Lenovo duo Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia, plus Gresini’s Enea Bastianini were all seen testing a slightly revised aerodynamics package with the Bologna factory yet to use their one allowed upgrade for the 2022 campaign.
Aprilia had the entirety of pitlane talking when they rolled out a radically new side fairing that you can see pictured below. Both Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro tried it throughout the course of the day. Espargaro was also spotted trying the new rear wing that Lorenzo Savadori first used in Mugello. Viñales had a slightly different chassis to try during the day, plus the pair worked on an upgraded engine that Technical Director Romano Albesiano confirmed they hoped to be able to use at the Austrian Grand Prix.
It was expected we wouldn’t see too much from the Hamamatsu factory due to their possible departure from MotoGP™ at the end of the current season, but Joan Mir did have two different aerodynamic packages to try during the day. One had side pods added to the current version, and the second was a totally new design. The 2020 World Champion confirmed he would be using one of them from the German Grand Prix onwards.
The Austrian factory will be hoping they’ve made a step forward at the Catalunya Test and they had plenty of items to try. Team boss Francesco Guidotti confirmed they were trying new parts, doing further work on current parts even re-evaluating last year’s parts. Slight changes to the chassis and switching between aero packages were the most notable things from the orange part of pitlane.
The importance of this Official Test to HRC is evident by the fact nobody did more laps of the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya today than Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol). The former Moto3™ and Moto2™ World Champion had two different chassis to try during the day, plus got the chance to try the swingarm first seen on brother Marc Marquez’s bike in Mugello. Pol Espargaro was seen with a third different chassis that had carbon bonded to the main beam.