Marquez tops first MotoGP test at Jerez

Marc Marquez topped the first test session ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, marking MotoGP’s return to action following the COVID-19-forced worldwide lockdown.

Marquez tops first MotoGP test at Jerez

The opening round of the 2020 campaign in Qatar had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with only the Moto2 and Moto3 classes racing at Losail having already been in the country for their final pre-season tests.

Save for private outings for KTM, Aprilia and several of the manufacturers’ test teams at Red Bull Ring and Misano over the last month, there has been no MotoGP running since February’s Qatar test.

With such a long time off the bike, two 90-minute test sessions have been scheduled for Wednesday to allow the riders to get back up to speed before first practice on Friday.

Read Also:

The early part of the session was topped by reigning world champion Marquez, the Honda rider now fully recovered from off-season shoulder surgery.

Marquez took over at the head of the standings eight minutes in with a 1m39.211s, which he improved over the next 20 minutes to a 1m38.985s.

Honda had a troubled pre-season, with it only making a breakthrough on the final day in Qatar when it discovered its turning issues were being caused by the now-abandoned 2020-spec aero fairing.

Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales, who was fastest at the end of testing in Qatar, briefly took over from Marquez with a 1m38.873s on the much-improved M1.

Aleix Espargaro, having led the opening laps, guided the all-new Aprilia to top spot with around 50 minutes of the session to go.

His 1m38.873s was quickly countered by Marquez, before Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller leaped up to the head of the field with a 1m38.775s.

Improving to a 1m38.348s, the works team Ducati-bound Miller looked set to hold onto top spot as the session entered its final staged, but for a final salvo of quick laps to demote him to seventh.

Marquez’s late effort of 1m37.941s put him underneath his race lap record from last year to see out the morning fastest of all ahead of Suzuki’s Alex Rins and the works team Yamaha of Valentino Rossi – whose 2021 Petronas SRT deal is expected to be announced imminently.

Aleix Espargaro made it four manufacturers inside the top four on the Aprilia, beating SRT’s Fabio Quartararo, outgoing LCR rider Cal Crutchlow and Miller.

Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira was top KTM runner in eighth place, just under half a second off the pace, as he gears up for his sophomore campaign, while Franco Morbidelli (SRT) and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac) rounded out the top 10.

KTM’s Pol Espargaro and Vinales were shuffled out of the top 10 into 12th and 13th respectively, having occupied the top positions earlier, while Tech 3’s Iker Lecuona was top rookie in 16th.

Andrea Dovizioso’s first outing on a bike since breaking his left collarbone in a motocross crash last month ended with him in a low-key 19th ahead of teammate Danilo Petrucci – the pair following the sister factory team Honda of Alex Marquez.

shares
comments
Crutchlow not interested in Honda's WSBK offer

Previous article

Crutchlow not interested in Honda's WSBK offer

Next article

The MotoGP thriller that will define a halcyon age

The MotoGP thriller that will define a halcyon age
Load comments
Why Rossi hasn’t overstayed his welcome in MotoGP Prime

Why Rossi hasn’t overstayed his welcome in MotoGP

After 22 years in the top flight of grand prix motorbike racing, Valentino Rossi has announced his MotoGP retirement. Having been the championship's main draw for the past two decades, Rossi's declining performances and the birth of his new VR46 team means he hangs up his leathers at the right time

Why Suzuki desperately needs to find Brivio's MotoGP replacement Prime

Why Suzuki desperately needs to find Brivio's MotoGP replacement

OPINION: While Shinichi Sahara insists that Suzuki does not need a team manager following the departure of Davide Brivio, the team's performance in the early part of the 2021 MotoGP season and the sentiment of the staff suggests the opposite

MotoGP
Aug 3, 2021
How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches Prime

How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches

Forming a ladder all the way from Red Bull Rookies Cup to MotoGP, KTM has created a steady stream of top talents in grand prix racing delivering the Austrian marque with the success expected of the brand. Here's how it has gone about it.

MotoGP
Jul 28, 2021
Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant Prime

Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant

Danilo Petrucci’s days in MotoGP appear numbered, as KTM looks to completely reshuffle the Tech3 team for 2022. Though the Italian's 2021 season so far hasn’t been standout, the giant Italian covertly became a top runner in MotoGP across the last decade and brought with him a personality that world sport sorely needs more of

MotoGP
Jul 22, 2021
Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet Prime

Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet

Joan Mir’s defence of his MotoGP title has had an underwhelming start as Suzuki didn’t progress its championship-winning GSX-RR as much as its rivals did with their bikes over the winter. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Mir lays out why his title defence has been stalled so far and why he’s confident title number two is still within reach

MotoGP
Jul 12, 2021
How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed Prime

How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed

It's been six years since Jorge Lorenzo gave Yamaha its last MotoGP title in 2015. Since his departure at the end of 2016, Yamaha's form has been inconsistent but it has at last found a new talisman to return it to the top spot in the form of a precociously talented Frenchman who currently leads the standings.

MotoGP
Jul 6, 2021
Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties Prime

Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties

On Monday, Yamaha announced it will part ways with Maverick Vinales at the end of the 2021 season - a move requested by the rider. As the already strained relationship between both parties in MotoGP hit rock bottom in recent weeks, this divorce - as Oriol Puigdemont writes - is good for both Yamaha and Vinales for a number of reasons

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2021
The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption Prime

The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption

A decade after first linking up with Ducati in what turned out to be an ill-fated period in his MotoGP career, Valentino Rossi has joined forces with the Italian marque once more - this time as a team owner. And the VR46/Ducati tie-up beginning in 2022 has the potential to right the wrongs of Rossi and Ducati's nadir of 2011/2012.

MotoGP
Jun 24, 2021