Heavy rain falling since this morning has made for a very wet track at Valencia. Though the track opened at 10am for the second full day of testing, it remained silent for the first two hours, riders only venturing out shortly after noon. By 2pm, nine men had put in laps, though lap times were a very long way off being fast. Yonny Hernandez led the way, ahead of his new Pramac Ducati teammate Danilo Petrucci, while Scott Redding was third.
The riders who are out are focusing more on getting to understand the bikes in the wet, rather than chasing lap times. The weather is starting to lift, but it is still cold, and the track will take a long time to dry. There are several riders who are unlikely to go out at all in the wet.
Times at 2pm:
Press releases from the teams after the first day of testing at Valencia:
Despite being exhausted from a full weekend (make that a complete season) of racing, the entire MotoGP grid was once again out in force on Monday, turning the first laps of the 2015 preseason (full times here). All except Nicky Hayden, that is, as Honda have brought only one RC213V-RS to Valencia, and there was no point for Hayden to spend more time on the RCV1000R, as that bike will be replaced by the new RS for next season. Hayden gets his turn on the bike tomorrow, weather permitting.
There was both old and new on display at the test, some things virtually unchanged, others radically different. New riders joined the grid, as well as two new factories, and a reshuffling of riders and crew between the garages.
The biggest change was at Suzuki, which saw Aleix Espargaro move from the Forward Yamaha team into the new Suzuki squad, where he was joined by Maverick Viñales, fresh from Moto2. Both riders were very impressed with the GSX-RR, praising its handling and the bike. "It was much better than I expected," Aleix told us. The chassis was "fantastic" he said, allowing him to lap within nine tenths of his qualifying lap on Saturday. The bike was very easy to turn, and he could carry a lot more corner speed as the bike was more compact, allowing him to hang off the bike more.
Jorge Lorenzo topped the first day of the test at Valencia, leading a Yamaha clean sweep of the timesheets. Lorenzo ended the day just ahead of the two Monster Tech 3 Yamahas, with his Movistar Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi bringing up the rear.
Andrea Iannone was the fastest Ducati, making his debut in the factory Ducati team, but the Ducati riders had nothing new to test, the new bike coming only at Sepang in February. Both Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso leave Valencia tonight, and will not ride tomorrow.
Cal Crutchlow led the riders who swapped bikes, ending two tenths quicker than his fastest lap of the race on Sunday, and ahead of Michele Pirro on the test Ducati, and Yonny Hernandez on the Pramac bike. Stefan Bradl tried the Forward Yamaha for the first time, also beating his race time from Sunday by three tenths of a second.
The test saw the debut of two new manufacturers, both Suzuki and Aprilia taking to the track. The Suzukis were immediately impressive, Aleix Espargaro setting the 14th fastest time, but just 1.3 seconds off the pace of Lorenzo, and over a second quicker than Randy De Puniet had been in the test. The Aprilia factory riders Marco Melandri and Alvaro Bautista only took to the track at the very end of the test, after Aprilia test rider Alex Hofmann had given the bikes a shakedown.
Times at 4pm:
The 2015 season has kicked off at Valencia with the first day of the test. Riders took to the track shortly after noon, with Aleix Espargaro the first man out on track on the Suzuki.
Jorge Lorenzo currently leads a trio of Yamahas, with a brace of Ducatis following. Cal Crutchlow is 0.3 slower on the LCR Honda than he was on the Ducati during the race, but is picking up speed quickly. The man whose place he took, Stefan Bradl, is a tenth slower on the Forward Yamaha than he was on the Honda. Maverick Vinales is adapting to MotoGP quickly, three seconds off the pace of Lorenzo, but still a good time for his first run on a MotoGP bike. Jack Miller is four seconds slower than Lorenzo, but has a lot more to learn.
The test finishes at 5pm on Monday.
Times at 2:55pm:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the final race of 2014 at Valencia:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's races at Valencia:
2014 Valencia Sunday Round Up: Of Dodgy MotoGP Weather, Fuel Issues in Moto2, and Miller vs Marquez in Moto3
It was a fitting finale to one of the best season in years. The arrival of Marc Marquez in MotoGP has given the series in a boost in the arm. Not just in the premier class, the influence of Marquez reaches into Moto2 and Moto3 as well. Tito Rabat's move to the Marc VDS team completed his transformation from a fast rider to a champion, but the schooling and support he received from the Marquez brothers at their dirt track oval in Rufea made him even stronger. And Marc's younger brother Alex brought both talent and Maturity to Moto3.
It made for great racing at Valencia. The Moto3 race featured the typical mayhem, but with extra edge because there was a title on the line. Tito Rabat tried to win the Moto2 race from the front, as he has done all year, but found himself up against an unrelenting Thomas Luthi. And in MotoGP, Marc Marquez set a new record of thirteen race wins in a single season, despite being throw a curve ball by the weather.
Marquez was the first to downplay his taking the record of most wins in a season from Mick Doohan. "Doohan won more than me," Marquez said. "He won twelve from fifteen races. Thirteen is a new record, but not so important." Though it is admirable that Marquez can put his own achievement into perspective when comparing it to Doohan's, that is not the full context. Doohan actually twelve of the first thirteen races in 1997, making his win rate even bigger. Then again, Doohan had to beat Tady Okada, Nobu Aoki and Alex Criville, while Marquez has had to fend off Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
Even Doohan's win rate pales in comparison with those of John Surtees and Giacomo Agostini, who both had perfect seasons in 1959 and 1968 respectively. But the 1959 season had only seven races, and the 1968 ten races, a good deal less than the current total of eighteen.
Full recap and results below.
Full recap and results below.