Aleix Espargaró captains the first day of testing in Losail

Aleix Espargaró has struck the bell on the first day of the pre-season test at the Losail circuit setting the best time of the day (1’54 ”687) with the new and promising Aprilia RS-GP and leading with two tenths of advantage over Stefan Bradl, the Honda tester who has once again surprised us with his speed as an official rider, and the current champion Joan Mir, the only ones under 1’55 ”.

The Aprilia rider was the only one to ride below the circuit record that Jorge Lorenzo has held with Yamaha since the 2016 race (1’54 ”927). In the absence of an hour and a half to go, he has set two consecutive laps in 1’54 ”912 and 1’54” 687 unattainable for the rest on this first MotoGP day of the year for the official riders.

Once again, the gusts of wind and the dust from the desert washed up on the track were the protagonists in this first day of MotoGP test at the Losail circuit, with the whole grid already in the overalls. But in reality, it wasn’t until just over three hours left that the wind gave way and all the riders had left the pits, the last being the two Suzuki riders. Joan Mir and Àlex Rins. In addition to having the team presentation early in the morning, they preferred not to gamble in those first four hours so as not to make mistakes when testing the pieces at their disposal due to the “help or not” of the wind. He also rushed three long hours in his Maverick Viñales box, which he made repeated starts without finishing setting a time until the conditions were more to his liking from five in the afternoon local.

And the first, when the first half hour of the day had not elapsed, were Pol Espargaró for Repsol Honda and the four KTM Petrucci, Oliveira, Binder and Lecuona. With five hours ahead of the test day, the men who have changed boxes within Yamaha, Quartararo and Valentino Rossi in their debut with the colors of the Petronas Yamaha SRT, came out.

The 1’55 ”614 credited in the shakedown by Stefan Bradl was not lowered until midday and it was the HRC tester himself who already put the first more or less serious time on the Losail time tower with 1’55 ”362. Aleix Espargaró and Johann Zarco were in charge of destroying it later, with Aprilia being the first to lose the circuit record that Jorge Lorenzo has held with Yamaha since the 2016 race (1’54 ”927). With two consecutive record laps, the oldest of the Espargaró already put a serious 1’54 ”687 on the table with an hour and a half ahead and nobody approached.

Aprilia, the only factory that by keeping the concessions does not have frozen development, He has already proven in both Jerez and Losail in the hands of Aleix Espargaró that his new and more compact RS-GP is on the right track: new chassis, aerodynamics, swingarm, an evolution of the engine with more power, new exhausts and the holeshot (which compresses the rear suspension to lower the height of the bike and reduce the wheelie effect) they no longer use it only for the exit, too for other acceleration phases, which will help in circuits that are not twisted.

Despite taking far fewer laps than the others, Mir and Rins have already seen themselves ahead in the last hour and a half. And that last hour has been entered with three drivers below 1’55 ”Espargaró, Bradl and the defending champion Mir. But once again the equality has been maximum with the first 7 (up to Morbidelli) in less than half a second and the first 14 (up to Rossi) in less than nine tenths. On the first day of testing in Qatar in 2020 up to 7 drivers dropped to 1:54 on the first day, but then it was the fourth preseason touchdown after three days in Sepang.

The crashes of the day were carried out by Pecco Bagnaia (Turn 3) and Àlex Márquez (Turn 16), the latter at high speed and was left with a motorcycle with 4 and a half hours of testing ahead, closing the top-10.

The evolution of the best time of the day (under 1’57 ”)

1’56 ”980 Zarco (D)

1’56 ”803 Morbidelli (Y)

1’56 ”605 Aleix Espargaró (A)

1’56 ”436 Bradl (H)

1’56 “013 Bradl (H)

1’55 ”810 Oliveira (K)

1’55 ”362 Bradl (H)

1’55 ”259 Aleix Espargaró (A)

1’55 ”163 Zarco (D)

1’54 ”912 Aleix Espargaró (A)

1’54 ”687 Aleix Espargaró (A)

Final classification day 1

1. Aleix Espargaró (Esp / Aprilia) 1’54 ”687

2. Stefan Bradl (Ale / Honda t) 1’54 ”943

3. Joan Mir (Esp / Suzuki) 1’54 ”980

4. Jack Miller (Aus / Ducati) 1’55 ”022

5. Miguel Oliveira (for / KTM) 1’55 ”084

6. Johann Zarco (Fra / Ducati) 1’55 ”110

7. Franco Morbidelli (Ita / Yamaha) 1’55 ”174

8. Alex Rins (Esp / Suzuki) 1’55 ”198

9. Maverick Viñales (Esp / Yamaha) 1’55 ”259

10. Àlex Márquez (Esp / Honda) 1’55 ”278

11. Takaaki Nakagami (Jap / Honda) 1’55 ”467

12. Brad Binder (RSA / KTM) 1’55 ”535

13. Pecco Bagnaia (Ita / Ducati) 1’55 ”572

14. Valentino Rossi (Ita / Yamaha) 1’55 ”584

15. Fabio Quartararo (Fra / Yamaha) 1’55 ”707

16. Yamaha test 2 (Crutchlow) 1’55 ”807

17. Pol Espargaró (Esp / Honda) 1’55 ”878

18. Jorge Martín (Esp / Ducati) 1’56 ”147

19. Lorenzo Savadori (Ita / Aprilia) 1’56 ”511

20. Enea Bastianini (Ita / Ducati) 1’56 ”593

21. Yamaha test 1 1’56 ”641

22. Iker Lecuona (Esp / KTM) 1’56 ”920

23. Danilo Petrucci (Ita / KTM) 1’56 ”989

24. Luca Marini (Ita / Ducati) 1’57 ”335

25. Sylvain Guintoli (Fra / Suzuki t) 1’57 ”460

26. Dani Pedrosa (Esp / KTM t) 1’57 ”617

27. Yamaha test 3 1’58 ”696

28. Michele Pirro (Ita / Ducati t) 1’58 ”917

29. Takuya Tsuda (Jap / Suzuki t) 1’59 ”693

Losail’s records:

fastest lap GP: Marc Márquez 1’53 ”380 FP2 2019

GP race record: Jorge Lorenzo 1’54 ”927 2016

best test time: Maverick Viñales 1’53 ”858 2020