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MotoGP

Marini fastest in pivotal MotoGP test for Honda and Yamaha

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini set the pace in MotoGP’s post-race Misano test, a high-stakes outing for the series’ Japanese manufacturers Honda and Yamaha.

Both Honda and Yamaha have disgruntled star riders on their hands in Marc Marquez and Fabio Quartararo respectively, and both provided 2024 prototypes for them to try at Misano.

In Honda’s case, however, it was not a prototype 2024 engine but just the chassis – already raced by tester Stefan Bradl as a wildcard on the weekend – and it did not leave a particularly strong impression on Marquez.

Luca Marini VR46 Ducati MotoGP Misano test

After Marini had topped the morning 4h45m session, Pramac Ducati rider Jorge Martin – who won both the Misano sprint and the San Marino Grand Prix itself – headed the four-hour afternoon running with an hour left on the clock.

Martin was reported by MotoGP.com to have run a prototype Ducati Desmosedici, with both of its works riders unavailable. Enea Bastianini is amid what is set to be another long injury layoff following his crash in Barcelona, while points leader Pecco Bagnaia’s Barcelona accident did allow him to race at Misano – but he was then understandably stood down for the test.

The same was true for Marini’s team-mate Marco Bezzecchi, who had been nursing hand pain sustained in that same pile-up Bastianini had caused in Barcelona. And another Ducati satellite rider, Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio, was absent too due to shoulder pain.

Martin was overhauled by three riders in the final hour of the afternoon, as Marini took first ahead of Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales and KTM’s Brad Binder.

Brad Binder KTM MotoGP Misano test

Both Binder and his KTM team-mate Jack Miller – who found a laptime over half a second better than anything he’d done during the weekend – were understood to have sampled the carbon chassis that wildcard/test rider Dani Pedrosa raced so effectively on Saturday and Sunday.

Quartararo was sixth for Yamaha, just 0.002s behind Miller. But he’s also admitted to having been left unimpressed.

There were scares for each of the Espargaro brothers, as both Pol and Aleix had to jump off their respective bikes at speed at some point during the test.

It was around the same part of the track, too, with Aprilia rider Aleix losing the rear and having to disembark en route to the wall, while for Pol on the Tech3 Gas Gas-badged KTM RC16 it came because his brake pads had opened due to a big shake in the previous corner.

Aprilia had a new chassis to try, though it was not the carbon chassis tester Lorenzo Savadori was known to be putting through its paces privately.

“It’s another one, a little bit lighter and a little bit softer on the feeling. It’s not better, it’s not worse, it’s just different,” explained Espargaro.

“More flexible, more soft, which is not really what the engineers were trying to do. It’s a little bit better on the bumps – corner 1, 14, 15, 16 I felt a bit better. But then it’s a little bit more unstable.”


Combined test classification

1. Luca Marini, VR46 Ducati, 1m30.602s
2. Maverick Vinales, Aprilia, +0.234s
3. Brad Binder, KTM, +0.552s
4. Jorge Martin, Pramac Ducati, +0.566s
5. Jack Miller, KTM, +0.573s
6. Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha, +0.575s
7. Miguel Oliveira, RNF Aprilia, +0.630s
8. Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha, +0.699s
9. Alex Marquez, Gresini Ducati, +0.735s
10. Raul Fernandez, RNF Aprilia, +0.760s
11. Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia, +0.779s
12. Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda, +0.832s
13. Johann Zarco, Pramac Ducati, +0.890s
14. Marc Marquez, Honda, +0.973s
15. Augusto Fernandez, Tech3 Gas Gas, +1.084s
16. Joan Mir, Honda, +1.085s
17. Pol Espargaro, Tech3 Gas Gas, +1.242s
18. Stefan Bradl, Honda, +1.544s

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