The Espargaro brothers took the honors on the first day of testing at Mandalika, Pol Espargaro broke Toprak Razgatlioglu’s Superpole record by more than four tenths of a second, completing the Indonesian track in 1’32.877. The Spanish rider is ahead of his brother Aleix on Aprilia by nearly half a second. With Brad Binder clocking in third on the KTM, Alex Rins fourth on his Suzuki, world champion Fabio Quartararo fifth on his Yamaha and Jack Miller sixth on his Ducati, all six MotoGP constructors finished in the top six.
The track was dirty and it rained intermittently, making conditions difficult and leading to the occasional crash. No one was hurt, but the track remained tricky off course. Times are likely to drop significantly as the weekend progresses.
To clear the track, the drivers had to complete 20 mandatory laps. It had to be done – if everyone is waiting for the competition to come out to clean the track, it will never be clean. While the first day of exploring the Mandalika layout may not have been the most fruitful in determining which elements are the best, the teams were still trying out a few things regarding chassis and Holeshot Devices.
Yamaha still have improvements to find and losing a day of testing due to poor track conditions today only makes their task even more difficult.
Also, Iwata factory riders are still testing the 2022 chassis against the 2021 version, with Fabio Quartararo now having one of each. The difference between the two doesn’t seem so obvious, as Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli have noted that the new chassis doesn’t bring a huge change from last year’s.
But Yamaha is trying various solutions and it still has two days to find a technical solution.
With the relatively difficult track conditions, Suzuki could not test much on this first day.
The men of Hamamatsu have succeeded in improving their engine for the 2022 season, bringing more power to it, while retaining its character which makes the motorcycle relatively manageable. On this new track, which does not require monstrous power, Joan Mir and Alex Rins should do well this year.
Ducati got to test its new aerodynamic fairing and exhaust, but the Borgo Panigale factory riders also tried out a new Holeshot Device.
We observe here the old version of the device, with 2 butterfly-shaped wheels on the upper fork crown, each allowing to operate a device for the start (at the front and at the rear).
Here is the latest version of their system, where we find more than a knob, but we find a new silver lever positioned just in front of the upper triple clamp.
At Sepang last week, Honda tested 3 different chassis. This week, at Mandalika Honda was fine-tuning the development of its 2022 prototype and this chassis has been adopted by all the drivers. Indeed, in the official Repsol Honda team, Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro both installed it on their two prototypes, and on the LCR side, Alex Marquez used it in Mandalika when he had not wanted to test it. in Sepang.
The HRC teams have also tested a few variations of their aerodynamic package: in this photo by Marc Marquez, the RC213V is only equipped with the top set of fins, but Pol Espargaro and Takaaki Nakagami have also tried the aero with the top set. lower fins arranged lower, which we had already seen in Sepang.
Photos: Dorna Sports