Marc Marquez Tops First Test Session of 2016 MotoGP Season

The 2016 MotoGP season kicks off with new riders, new rules, and the first official session of testing.

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez set best time on his 2015 bike before switching to the new 2016 RC213V.©Motorcyclist

On Tuesday following the final race of the 2015, the 2016 MotoGP season kicked off with the first official test at the Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo circuit. The new season not only sees a new rider join the MotoGP paddock in the shape of Tito Rabat, but also a raft of technical changes aimed at leveling the playing field along with some team line-up changes.

The technical changes include the introduction of a Spec ECU that all teams must use, Michelin taking over as the sole tire supplier, a fuel limit of 22 liters for all and the use of seven engines for the year, plus the bikes now have to weigh a maximum of 157kg compared to 158kg in 2015.  The wheel diameter has also been increased by half an inch to 17 by Michelin, as they look to bring them more inline with road bikes.

Dani Pedrosa tests the new Michelin spec tires on the 2015 RC213V.©Motorcyclist

So after the incredible finish to the 2015 season, all eyes were once again on Valencia as riders took to the track for the first time for the 2016 MotoGP World Championship season.

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez ended the day on top of the timesheets with a 1'31.551 as he spent the morning on his 2015 machine assessing the new Michelin tires, before swapping to the 2016 RC213V in the afternoon. Impressively the Spaniard managed to lap within a tenth of his best time from the race at the track just two days previously despite a crash early on at turn 3. His teammate Dani Pedrosa (0.130s) finished in third as he also assessed the new machine in the afternoon, although both riders set their best times on the 2015 bike.

Ducati Team's Andrea Iannone was second fastest, opting to focus on testing the new Michelin tires with the GP15 machine. Testing of the Desmosedici GP16 will take place at Sepang.©Motorcyclist

Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+0.088s) was second fastest despite crashing twice at turn 3, as he and his teammate Andrea Dovizioso (10th) tried out the new software and tires on their respective GP15 machines, but they will have to wait for the Sepang test to get their hands on the Desmosedici GP16.

Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Rookie of the Year Maverick Viñales (+0.169s) ended the day in fourth, just over two-tenths quicker than his teammate Aleix Espargaro in seventh. The duo were focusing on the setup their bikes to run with the new tires, with Viñales managing to improve his best time from the Valencia GP by over half a second, while Suzuki Test Rider’s Takuya Tsuda (22nd) and Nobuatsu Aoki (23rd) worked on the new software.

Movistar Yamaha's newly crowned 2015 MotoG World Champion Jorge Lorenzo finished 0.216s off the pace of Marquez in fifth. The man who he beat to the title in Valencia GP, his teammate Valentino Rossi, ended the day in 12th. Both riders spent the morning on the 2015 versions of their M1's, before switching to the 2016 version in the afternoon and setting their best times of the day.

New MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo was slightly off the pace, finishing with the fifth best time in testing.©Motorcyclist

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (+0.360s) had a crash early on at turn five but ended up going went three tenths quicker than during the race as he tested out some Nissin brakes, ending the day in an impressive sixth.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith finished seventh and eighth respectively on the timesheets, as only six-hundredths of a second separated the teammates despite the former also crashing just before lunch at turn one.

Scott Redding got his first taste of the Ducati GP15 as he made his debut with the Octo Pramac Racing team. The British rider clearly liked his new bike as he improved his best lap time from Sunday’s race by over half a second to finish in 11th, over two tenths quicker than his new teammate Danilo Petrucci in 13th.

The Avintia Racing team were working with the Ducati GP14.2 with 2015 Open class champion Hector Barbera in 14th and his new teammate Loris Baz in 18th.

2014 Moto2 champion Tito Rabat made his MotoGP debut on the EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda, impressively completing 17 more laps than anyone else. Rabat was 15th on the time sheets.

Jack Miller completed his switch to the Marc VDS Racing Team by finishing in 15th. The Australian improving by almost a second on his best lap time from Sunday. The test also saw the full debut of Tito Rabat in the premier class on the EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda. The 2014 Moto2 World Champion completing 84 laps – 17 more than anyone else – to finish in 15th.

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Stefan Bradl ended the day in 17th and 20th respectively, as they too chose to stick with their 2015 machines to help them work on the new tires and electronics.

The Aspar MotoGP Team have switched from Honda to Ducati machinery for 2016, meaning that Eugene Laverty (21st) and his new teammate Yonny Hernandez (18th) both got their hands on a GP14.2 for the first time at the test. Both riders managed to improve their best times from the GP by over two-tenths as they put their new bikes through their paces.

Compare the test times of all the riders in the MotoGP Classification PDF here: