Qatar MotoGP Test Day 2: It’s like a game of Chess



Marc Marquez tried to bully his bike into submission, as he always does, and ended up improving his Thursday’s time by half a second, before crashing out almost immediately.

I think that’s what Marquez is known for, pushing his luck. He’s always been that guy riding beyond the edge, not on it like Lorenzo, not just under it like Rossi, but always way beyond his or the bike’s capabilities. The only trouble is that he seems to have a method to his madness, at least as long as he’s able to stay on the bike.

Day 2 of testing at Qatar was mostly about people holding back to have enough resources to go full power on Day 3. Day 2 was also more about testing different items and setups rather than just total dedication to laptimes.

One of the more interesting items tested on Thursday were winglets on Honda bikes. Honda test riders had already ridden with them, but this was the first time that the factory riders went on the track with those cute little contraptions. I call them cute because that’s what they are, tiny black carbon fiber wing babies, as opposed to the full-scale 747 wings on the Ducs or even the ones on the Yamahas.

Dani used them, and sounded rather confused when asked if they were good or bad.

Maverick Viñales continued his onslaught to the top with a 1.55.436, a time that I’m sure will be brutally and unceremoniously shattered on Friday. The best part is that he still hasn’t used the fully-seamless gearbox yet, and still is mighty quick. Friday’s times will give us more of an idea how fast he really is.

The Ducatis continued their onslaught as well, with both factory riders Iannone and Dovi, along with Pramac’s Redding and Avintia’s Barbera setting impressive times.

Mark my words, the Ducatis are going to make things very, very interesting.

Since this is Michelin’s first time back in MotoGP after a while, the tires are a huge variable in the equation. The soft tire that Michelin brought in to test wasn’t liked by any of the riders. Crutchlow complained of vibrations in most of the tires, forcing him to stick with just 1 for the whole day. His problems were bigger than just tires though, just like all other Honda riders.

The Yamahas went about their business, not really bothered with the times. Lorenzo went for a string of 13 laps in a go, while Rossi finished a whopping 56 laps in total. Just like Lorenzo, Dovi, Baz and Barbera all tried to run race simulations to understand better how their bikes would go in 2 weeks time at the same circuit.

For complete statistics on Thursday’s test, click here, and just for a fun reminder, here’s how insane a MotoGP bike sounds.

Overtaking is fun

Off the track, Philipp Oettl won an award for overtaking 132 riders during the 2015 season. The German Moto3 rider went from 34th to 3rd in one of the races, which is mighty impressive.

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As expected, most of the people eligible for this award are in Moto3, just 1 from Moto2 and none from MotoGP. Over the years, Moto3 has been an extremely fun race to watch, with no one having the slightest idea till the last corner on the last lap about who’s going to win.

That’s the kind of racing I like.

The death of reason

A bit further off the track, MotoGP’s new rule changes became a bit more clearer. It appears that after the problematic last few races of 2015, strangely the penalty points system is all but dead. In the old system, riders used to get punished on an increasing scale of numbers, with 4 points forcing you to start from the back of the grid, and 7 points pushing you to the pit lane. Now both of them are gone, and all you need to do to get banned for 1 race is collect 10 points.

This is weird. 

What’s basically happened is that the school kids have been told you can go as crazy as you like, and you’ll not be punished until you’ve practically murdered the teacher by stuffing her throat with glue and glitter, at which point you’ll be suspended for a day, and then you can come back and join the party.

MotoGP heads seem to have completely lost their heads. For a much more in-depth review of the situation, head over to David Emmett’s site here.

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  1. Reeto

    What about Casey Stoner’s timings in Qatar?

    1. AK

      Stoner is gone fishing.

  2. doc musicy

    First time no dirty poty mouth language. Good.

    1. AK

      Don’t get used to it.