In the absence of injured World Champion Marc Marquez, recovering from a broken leg in Spain, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo dominated the Australian MotoGP test by posting the top time over the three days with a 1’29.068 which came on the second to last lap. The final day at Phillip Island saw a very brief shower and two stoppages due to crashes for Moto2 rider Tito Rabat, but was an otherwise highly productive day for Bridgestone and Dunlop.
Although this test was about narrowing down tire options for the Grand Prix here in October and less significant than other tests for lap times or bike development, Lorenzo will nonetheless be pleased to have gone consistently faster than his rivals – especially after his tire frustrations at last week’s Sepang workout.
Lorenzo also carried out a strong race simulation on the final day, posting a succession of laps in the low to mid 1’30 range. Meanwhile, his fastest time of the test came on last year’s race tire. Second on the timesheet overall and on the final day, Dani Pedrosa’s best time of the week was a 1’29.381. Like his fellow riders at this track, he now heads home to recover before Round 1 in Qatar, having tested for six of the last eight days in total.
Third fastest this week was Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso with a Tuesday best time of 1’29.387. He wrapped up early on Wednesday due to ongoing sickness, completing just 23 laps for the day. Fourth best overall and third quickest today was Valentino Rossi, ending the test half a second down on his Yamaha teammate Lorenzo, but feeling more competitive than he was at this stage last year. Rossi tested a new fairing like Lorenzo had yesterday and the Italian stopped short of a full-race simulation but was quick on a 13-lap run. Also curtailing a race simulation was Cal Crutchlow who had a front-end issue after 18 laps. The Englishman was fifth best this week but fourth on Wednesday and will be pleased to now be posting similar lap times on the ‘Open’ Ducati to his colleague Dovizioso.
The big story of the day for the Moto2 riders was the second of Rabat’s crashes, which resulted in the Spaniard destroying his Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex on the exit of the Southern Loop but fortunately escaping unhurt. On his 600cc machine, he ended the test impressively just 3.1 seconds off Lorenzo’s pace.
Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Jordi Torres was the only Moto2 rider to improve on the final day, though he ended up third best of the intermediate class riders, sandwiched between Marc VDS Racing’s Mika Kallio and his own Aspar team-mate Nico Terol on the combined timesheet.
For the MotoGP riders present, their next contact with their bikes will be at the opening round of the season in Qatar from 20th-23rd March, whereas the rest of the premier class grid will carry out a three-day test at Losail from this March 7th to March 9th.