Following on from the excitement of Sunday’s Czech Grand Prix, the MotoGP field was back in action at Brno for a day of post-race testing on Monday.
The test day began with brighter weather conditions than witnessed across the whole race weekend, before becoming more overcast later in the afternoon which resulted in lower track temperatures from around 3 p.m. onwards.
Having narrowly missed out on his first victory of the season on Sunday, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo ran atop the timesheets for much of the day. Eventually finishing second fastest, he and teammate Valentino Rossi (fifth position) focused on testing their current bikes but with new prototype engines, while the program also involved experimenting with a single prototype chassis – running the current fairing – which the two riders shared during the day. Rossi would abort his afternoon run as a result of a sudden but brief rain shower at 4 p.m.
Repsol Honda Team occupied positions one and three, with World Champion Marc Marquez having been the first rider on-track this morning with the 2014 bike. In the final hour, he posted a lap time of 1:55.411 which is quicker than the pole position time of Saturday. Race winner Dani Pedrosa was third as the two Honda riders concentrated on components with this year’s machine as well as a slightly revised 2015 version which had already been tested at Brno following the German GP.
There was a familiar face in action as Loris Capirossi (serving as Bridgestone Safety Advisor) sampled three bikes: the Honda RCV1000R of Cardion AB Motoracing and both versions of the Forward-Yamaha that NGM Forward Racing are racing this season.
“I really enjoyed it – it was like Christmas Day!” Capirossi smiled. “It had been two years since I last rode a MotoGP bike. Today I jumped on again. They have made a big step with the bikes. I was nearly four seconds off the top pace, which is good after not riding for two years! The MotoGP riders are really lucky to be able to ride these kinds of bikes.”
The Cardion AB squad also attempted to find more rear-end grip for regular rider Karel Abraham, while the agenda of Forward’s Aleix Espargaro revolved around setup and electronics, with Magneti Marelli having brought a minor upgrade to its ‘Open’ software; however, the company insisted that no significant update is set to arrive until MotoGP heads to Valencia in early November.
On the other side of the Forward garage, Alex de Angelis was busy at work as he continued to adapt to the bike. This meant a change to the plan of allowing Moto2 rider Dominique Aegerter an outing on the machine, as this had been penciled in before it was confirmed that de Angelis would be Colin Edwards’ replacement and the San Marino rider is now in need of as much track time as possible.
At GO&FUN Honda Gresini, Alvaro Bautista and his team continued to work closely with suspension supplier Showa and existing parts in a keen bid to overcome the Spaniard’s ongoing lack of rear-end grip. Teammate Scott Redding, on the other hand, tested a new front fork as well as some small adjustments to the rear shock and Nissin brake components on his Open-specification bike.
Bradley Smith was the highest-placed Factory Option satellite runner on the final timesheet, having ended his day shortly after 2 p.m. Until then, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider had been mostly working on setup and verifying issues from race day. In sixth and eighth places, Smith and teammate Pol Espargaro sandwiched LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl into seventh as the German tried to cure understeer issues which had affected him during the Grand Prix one day earlier. The top 10 was rounded out by the aforementioned Bautista and Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez, as the Colombian attempted to discover what caused a flat front tire which had taken him out of Sunday’s race; having carefully looked into the problem, the team explained that the tire had not lost pressure overnight and that no visible damage could be seen on its surface. Should a solution have not been found by the end of today, the tire could be sent to Ducati’s Bologna factory in order to ensure that no wheel rim defect may be causing the concern.
There was a crash for Leon Camier as the Drive M7 Aspar rider continued to pound the laps in, fresh from a first points-scoring finish in the race; the Englishman was able to walk away from today’s minor slip-up. At Avintia Racing, FIM CEV Repsol Superbike rider Kenny Noyes was testing the bike. Elsewhere, brake supplier Brembo revealed a standard aluminum caliper for teams to test, as factory Yamaha riders Lorenzo and Rossi sampled the parts for the first time.
MotoGP track action will continue with opening free practice for the Hertz British Grand Prix at Silverstone, from 9:55 a.m. local time (GMT +1) on Friday 29 August.
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