LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami enjoyed Day two of testing at Jerez, putting in 66 laps on his 2018 Honda to go fastest.
Reigning Champion Marc Marquez wasn’t far behind on his Repsol Honda however, ending the day just 0.025 off Nakagami’s best with a 1:37.970 – with Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales completing the top three within a tenth of the top.
At Honda, the devil was in the details – not just the logo on the number 99’s side of the garage – although there was a new airbox on show. Marquez completed 56 laps – including a Marquez-style save – and says now focus will shift more towards the chassis. New teammate Jorge Lorenzo was also a force to be reckoned with on the timesheets. He put in a 1:38.105 and was just 0.039 off Viñales in third, securing fourth after 65 laps – the third Honda in the top five.
The leading Yamaha on Day Two was Viñales after completing 78 laps. Both he and teammate Valentino Rossi have been testing two different engine specs, with Viñales clear as to which one they should go with.
While Viñales seems content, the nine-time World Champion wasn’t quite as happy after Day 1, saying that it was good enough for fourth – if they can capitalise on others’ misfortunes. On Day 2 though, Rossi finished 11th fastest after setting a quickest time of 1:38.596, 0.651 from Nakagami’s benchmark after completing 67 laps.
In the Petronas Yamaha SRT garage, it was another good day for both Franco Morbidelli and rookie Fabio Quartararo. For the former, asixth finish after 68 laps and just 0.173 from the top sees him continue his quick adaptation from Honda to Yamaha. For Quartararo, it was another vital 58 laps in the bag – and it was another hugely positive day. The Frenchman finished the day twelth on the timesheets after setting a fastest lap of 1:38.761, just over a tenth off Rossi’s fastest lap and under a second from Nakagami.
Meanwhile Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso put in 44 laps with a fastest of 1:38.292 to put him in P8, and it was new teammate Danilo Petrucci who flew the flag highest in fifth, a 1:38.109 his fastest of 68 laps.
Pramac’s Jack Miller was fastest for a brief time in the afternoon, and ended the day in seventh overall after 57 laps, the best of which was a 1:38.207. His rookie teammate Francesco Bagnaia, meanwhile, made for close company and was the quickest of the new kids on the grid. The Pramac duo were split by Dovizioso but ‘Pecco’ was only just over a tenth off Miller and the Italian debutant did 50 laps.
Tito Rabat was another impressive performer on Ducati machinery. The Spaniard, who is still coming back from his leg break sustained at Silverstone, managed 60 laps and ended the day in thirteenth. The best lap from the recovering Reale Avintia Racing rider was a 1:38.876 – with teammate Karel Abraham putting in a 1:39.744 after 40 laps, taking seventeenth.
For Suzuki, Alex Rins was able to continue to test the new GSX-RR engine and chassis combinations, alongside test rider Sylvain Guintoli. Rins was able to post the tenthth quickest time on Day 2, his 1:38.522 0.577 off Nakagami’s pace as he completed 63 laps on Thursday. For teammate Joan Mir, it was another 55 laps under his belt as he continues to impress, bouncing back extremely well from a fast crash on Day 1. Fourteenth on the timesheets for the Spaniard and under a second from P1 shows the 2017 Moto3 World Champion is continuing to adapt well, and he also got to try the new Suzuki engine and chassis on Thursday.
It was a tough test for Aprilia with Aleix Espargaro missing the whole of Day One through illness, while also missing the morning of Day 2 to complete just 11 laps. In addition, after a crash on Day One, Andrea Iannone was riding with an injured foot as the Italian completed 36 laps by the end of the second day to finish eighteenth on the timesheets. This left new test rider Bradley Smith with the majority of the testing duties, the British rider getting 59 laps done on Thursday, and Matteo Baiocco was also on circuit for the Italian factory once again – with 48 laps completed for the latter.
At KTM, Pol Espargaro was once again the quickest Austrian machine as the Spaniard put in a best of 1:39.144 after 60 laps – putting him fifteenth on the timesheets. Work continued on many different parts of the RC16, with Espargaro testing what Team Manager Mike Leitner called “bigger items”. Johann Zarco, meanwhile, was getting to better grips with his switch to the machine – with Leitner confirming his adaptation to the bike and vice versa. The Frenchman was seven tenths off his teammate on Day Two.
KTM Tech 3 Racing, meanwhile, had Hafizh Syahrin on a 1:40.520 and rookie teammate Miguel Oliveira with a best lap of 1:40.577 – only half a tenth off the Malaysian. They put in 54 and 61 laps respectively as they both switch machinery – the former from Yamaha and the latter from Moto2.