Bagnaia blasts to top spot, HRC work on brand-new bike
Thanks to a time that was less than half a second away from the all-time Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto lap record, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) ended the two-day Official 2022 MotoGP™ Jerez Test top of the timesheets.
Pecco’s 1:36.872 saw the Italian beat Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) by 0.4s, with World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) third. However, the more telling tales of the test lie elsewhere, with every factory rolling out new parts for 2022.
Straight out of the blocks on Friday, riding a 2022 prototype – meaning the newer engine, front fairing, air intake and more – Bagnaia went just 0.3s shy of Maverick Viñales’ all-time Jerez lap record.
A statement of intent? It certainly looked like it. And it was a sure sign that the Bologna factory have gone into 2022 winter testing carrying the momentum they ended the season with.
With regards to the engine, a big talking point across all factories for the Jerez Test and beyond, Ducati won’t be deciding their spec until the Mandalika Test in February. As well as the front fairing and air intake, the next biggest difference seen on the factory
Ducatis has been the new, much long exhaust. Both Pecco and teammate Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) were using it on Day 1 and Day 2, it will be interesting to see whether it makes an appearance at the Sepang and Mandalika Tests next year.
And the end of both days, Pecco finished 0.4s clear of anyone after his blistering time on Friday, set on a medium Michelin tyre. The Italian completed a further 42 laps on Day 2, adding to his 68 on Thursday, and was very pleased with the work done in Jerez. Johann Zarco’s (Pramac Racing) opening day time sees the Frenchman sit P4 on the combined timesheets, the second quickest Ducati, as the Frenchman completed 65 laps on Day 2. After lapping 78 times on Day 1, Zarco was one of the busiest riders at the Jerez Test.
Miller and Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) were busy testing 2022 parts across the two days, the Australian was P10 overall, with Martin down in P18. Luca Marini (VR46 Racing Team) is the other rider in the Desmosedici ranks who will be on the latest spec machinery in 2022, the Italian was 14th on the timesheets after clocking 56 laps on Day 2. Former teammate Enea Bastianini (Team Gresini Racing MotoGP) ended the couple of days in P5 overall as the two-time premier class podium finisher got to grips with his GP21.
Ducati have two rookies in their ranks for 2022, both riding GP21s, and the fastest rookie across the two days was Fabio Di Giannantonio (Team Gresini Racing MotoGP). The Italian was an impressive 1.6s down on Bagnaia having completed 45 laps on Day 2, seeing the 2021 Jerez Moto2™ race winner lap 93 times in total. Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Racing Team) finished 2.4s away from good friend Bagnaia after two days on the bike, a cracking effort from the Italian, who got 115 laps in the bank ahead of testing continuing next year.
As has been well documented, Honda have a brand-new bike for 2022. It’s the only completely new machine at the test, with every other manufacturer having variations and adaptations from what we saw in 2021. Engine, chassis, aero, air intake, exhaust position… you name it. HRC have been working tirelessly to bring a new-look RC213V to the grid, and on first look, things are seemingly going well for MotoGP™’s most successful manufacturer.