Espargaro ends MotoGP Misano test on top, KTM rookies debut - The Race

Espargaro ends MotoGP Misano test on top, KTM rookies debut

Sep 22 2021
By Jack Benyon

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro topped the second and final day of MotoGP testing at Misano, as KTM’s 2022 rookies Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez got their first taste of top-level MotoGP machinery.

Espargaro had been third fastest for Aprilia on Tuesday, and recorded the fastest time on Wednesday in the afternoon running with a 1m31.584s lap.

He was tasked with trialling a new aero configuration and “new parts” for the 2022 bike but told he felt the team had taken a step forward.

Misano race winner last weekend, Francesco Bagnaia, was just 0.080s off Esparagaro’s best for Ducati, with Suzuki’s Joan Mir rounding out the top three. Both Bagnaia and Mir’s times came in the morning.

Mir continued Suzuki’s seemingly significant 2022 development work with a new engine, chassis and side fairing in a bid to improve its form, but suffered a crash in the afternoon session.

Bagnaia was part of a Ducati group focused on back-to-back testing 2022 front-end aero packages on Wednesday, and his team-mate Jack Miller joined him in the top five with the fifth-best time from the morning session.

Sep 21 : Misano MotoGP: Brilliant Bagnaia - too little too late?

Takaaki Nakagami had a strong day on Tuesday and followed that up with fourth in today’s action for LCR Honda.

Pol Espargaro got out on the radical-looking new Honda bike for the first time today and set the sixth quickest time albeit hampered by a technical issue in the afternoon, as Marc Marquez also ran a slightly different variant of a 2022-spec bike and was 10th fastest.

A new side mounted exhaust on the RV213V is the most obvious change, with an air intake replicating its Fireblade road bike, and it moved up the timing sheets on Wednesday having been 15th quickest the day before.

Fabio Quartararo was seventh on a day where it is understood Yamaha did less work on its 2022 bike than previously.

It was a much tougher day for his team-mate Franco Morbidelli, who fell twice in the morning session – once at Turn 15 where he was too aggressive on the power, and once in a bizarre incident on an outlap – but still set his best time of the day in that session in 17th

Maverick Vinales’s acclimatisation to his Aprilia team continues as he had an impressive run to the eighth fastest time of the day, just ahead of the top KTM of Miguel Oliveira.

The out-of-form Portuguese rider is part of a KTM group developing a new front end package with modified wings, larger air intakes and wings on the side of the bike.

Behind Marquez in 10th, Luca Marini was an impressive 11th place for Avintia just half a second off the pace.

It was a hard day for Marini’s team-mate and Misano podium finisher Enea Bastianini who crashed for the second consecutive day, this time at the last corner in the morning session, and was 21st quickest after not partaking in the afternoon session.

Just behind, the first of the KTM Tech 3 debutantes Fernandez was 22nd and 2.4s off as he looks to acclimatise to his new bike.

Fernandez’s team-mate Gardner had an eventful morning as he fell at Turn 10 just before the end of the session while on a rapid lap, so finished three seconds off the leaders’ pace.

Absent from the test was Pramac rider Johann Zarco, as he underwent arm pump surgery on Wednesday morning. The procedure has been described as “successful” and he is expected back for the next round at the Circuit of the Americas.

Tech3 KTM regular riders Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci also had to take a forced back seat, to make way for the team’s 2022 riders.

Misano day two test results

1) A.Espargaro Aprilia 1m31.584s
2) F.Bagnaia Ducati +0.080s
3) J.Mir Suzuki +0.123s
4) T.Nakagami Honda +0.151s
5) J.Miller Ducati +0.214s
6) P.Espargaro Honda +0.342s
7) F.Quartararo Yamaha +0.375s
8) M.Vinales Aprilia +0.418s
9) M.Oliveira KTM +0.552s
10) M.Marquez Honda +0.567s

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