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Jerez Test: Nakagami tops the times on day 2

Written by  Nov 29, 2018

Takaaki Nakagami was impressive on Day 1 of the Official Test at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto but the Japanese rider usurped the adjective on Thursday to not only impress, but go quickest.

The Japanese rider’s 1:37.945 was unmatchable on Day 2 and he put in 66 laps on his 2018 Honda. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez was in close pursuit, however, ending the day just 0.025 off Nakagami’s best with a 1:37.970 – with Maverick Viñales completing the top three and still 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 said he was working more on refinements, as well as different tyres, with some good and some bad to report. Overall though it was a satisfied seven-time World Champion, happy with engine improvements. He did 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, with the number 99’s fourth day on the Honda seeing him take P4 after 65 laps – the third Honda in the top five.

The leading Yamaha on Day 2 was Viñales after completing 78 laps, and he seems happy with the 2019 YZR-M1 so far. Both he and teammate Valentino Rossi have been testing two different engine specs, with Viñales clear as to which one they should go with. The Spaniard reflected after Day 2 by saying “overall we have a really competitive bike” and “the laps times were consistent.” Positive from the new number 12.

Well, while Viñales seems content, the nine-time World Champion wasn’t happy with the engines provided by Yamaha after Day 1, going as far as saying that it was good enough for fourth – if someone else crashes. On Day 2, Rossi finished 11th fastest after setting a quickest time of 1:38.596, 0.651 from Nakagami’s benchmark after completing 67 laps. The factory pairing both agree on which spec engine they need to go for, but ‘The Doctor’ insists Yamaha need to find more if they are to challenge at the top next season.

In the Petronas Yamaha SRT garage, it was another good day for both Franco Morbidelli and rookie Fabio Quartararo. For the former, a P6 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 ended P12 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 P1.

Meanwhile Ducati were the only manufacturer, according to Andrea Dovizioso, who weren’t on engine duty – they were confirming, successfully, their results from the Valencia test.

The Borgo Panigale factory were focused elsewhere, including some time working on a seat modification first seen on Day 1 ridden by test rider stand-in Alvaro Bautista. Despite a tumble on Wednesday, Dovizioso put in 44 laps – saying he didn’t feel limited by the crash – 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.

Jack Miller had an impressive day on track, including a lot of time spent working on different setups that “seemed to work better and better” every time they made a change. He was fastest for a brief time in the afternoon, and ended the day in P7 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, just working on getting experience – especially on used tyres.

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 P13. 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 P17.

source: motogp.com

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