Misano MotoGP winner Francesco Bagnaia may have topped day one of the test with a 1’31.292 but there was more than just looking at the timesheets, because Marc Marquez made his long-awaited return to action and Yamaha rolled out a 2023 engine.
Undoubtedly, the biggest news of the day was the return of Marc Marquez. After completing 39 laps ahead of the lunch break, the eight-time World Champion and his team decided to sit out the rest of the afternoon in order to be ready for tomorrow – a great sign that his comeback was a success. The other great sign is that it didn’t take long for the number 93 to start testing new parts for HRC, as the Japanese giants continue to focus on getting their 2023 package right.
Marquez, who finished 1.1s off the quickest time, was riding a black Repsol Honda with a new air intake, aero and downwash ducts on the side fairing, similar to those Ducati has been using for the past couple of seasons. The ducts are believed to create some ground effect when the bike is on its side, giving more stability and more grip. It now looks like Honda are playing with this idea.
In addition, Honda has another set of new side fairings just like the Aprilias that have the large, bulged-out side fairing that seems aimed at creating some ground effect similar to the way a floor does in F1.
One very notable thing was HRC Test Rider Stefan Bradl testing a Kalex-built aluminium swingarm. It’s a huge change for Honda as they have used their own in-house carbon swingarm for several years now.
Furthermore, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was running a brand-new, never seen air intake on one of his bikes. It’s a little wider and not quite as tall as the standard air intake, and differs from the one Marc Marquez was using too. As expected, there was plenty going on in the HRC ranks.
As we heard ahead of the test, Yamaha has a new engine to try in Misano. Fabio Quartararo – who completed 80 laps – used it on Tuesday and confirmed that it’s a positive step, which is good news for the Iwata factory. The title chase leader was sixth quickest on the opening day, just under three tenths away from main rival Bagnaia.
A new chassis was also being put through its paces, while one of Franco Morbidelli’s (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) YZR-M1s was spotted with a new air intake. It’s possible that could be part of the 2023 engine package. Moreover, new wings were being tested, which seemed to be larger than those they have on the 2022 bike at the moment.
Aprilia Racing Test Rider Lorenzo Savadori has two bikes to test on Day 1, while it’s believed the Noale factory were testing some new wings. And talking of wings, Aprilia were back running the rear wing that we’ve seen appear a couple of times.
Both Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) and teammate Maverick Viñales took turns topping the times in the afternoon. Eventually, the Spaniards occupied P3 and P5 respectively at the end of play. Espargaro crashed unhurt at the tight, tricky Turn 14.
As strange as it sounds, there wasn’t too much to shout about in terms of updated parts in the Ducati stables on Tuesday. Visibly, anyway. Bagnaia did hint over the weekend that he didn’t think he would be testing too many new things, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t testing anything – far from it.
One thing that was noticed however was the sidepod wing extending down slightly further than the standard one Ducati have been using for some time.
Six Ducatis finished inside the top 10 with Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) second fastest, 0.181s off VR46 Academy colleague Bagnaia, while Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) – who crashed unhurt at Turn 15 – was the third quickest Desmosedici rider in P4.
Three-time World Champion and MotoGP Legend Dani Pedrosa was back on testing duties for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and the Spaniard was seen trying an updated seat and tail unit.
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the quickest RC16 rider on track, the South African finished P11, 0.624s down on Bagnaia’s pace. After an impressive ride last time out, Raul Fernandez (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) was just 0.059s off Miguel Oliveira’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 1:32.336, but the Spaniard’s day was slightly blighted by a crash at Turn 14.
With Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) sidelined through injury, 2022 FIM Enel MotoE World Cup winner Dominique Aegerter was given the opportunity to throw his leg over the GSX-RR. The Swiss rider ended the day just 2.6s away from Bagnaia’s pace; a very impressive performance. On the other side of the box, Alex Rins was trying some cooling parts for the rear of the bike. The Spaniard finished P12 on the timesheets, 0.6s off top spot.