Many riders have jumped ship, changed colours, switched seats and set tongues wagging with their first outings on the fresh bikes they’ll race in the New Year … yes, it’s the silly season in full swing.
And it all started with testing at the same venue that at the weekend hosted the final round for 2023, the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Cheste, in Spain.
Spain’s multi-time former MotoGP champion Marc Marquez (now on Ducati) was the star of the show at the Valencia MotoGP test, while Spain’s Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) finished fastest overall.
On a day where many riders impressed, Marquez made his much-anticipated Ducati debut and gelled straight away with the GP23.
The eight-time world champion made a strong start as he jumped up to third after his opening stint.
But it was after lunch that Marquez really put on a show as he went fastest with a low 1m 29s lap.
Marquez then improved further before Vinales, who was consistently fast, went back atop the leaderboard.
Also enjoying a strong showing with his new team was MotoGP rookie Pedro Acosta, as the GASGAS Tech 3 KTM rider was just 1.2 seconds down on the top time before a late fall at turn two.
Italy’s two-time MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia (winner for the Ducati Lenovo Team in 2022 and this year too) had a solid outing as he tested the new GP24 bike, as did his main rival in 2023, Spain’s Jorge Martin, although the Pramac Ducati rider did crash twice. The first of those came very soon after jumping onto the new Ducati bike.
Bringing a new Honda RC213V to the fore, the red Japanese bike brand had a strong day as Italy’s Luca Marini found good pace as the testing progressed.
Spaniard Joan Mir was a constant presence around the top ten as well, while Frenchman Johann Zarco enjoyed a decent showing aside from a slip-off in the morning.
Providing a late charge was South African Brad Binder who moved up to second, but after setting another red sector to begin his next lap, the KTM rider then crashed at turn five after entering the corner slightly off-line.
Italy’s Marco Bezzecchi had a strong test and finished as the top Ducati ahead of Marc Marquez.
The same was also true for Spain’s Raul Fernandez, who managed to rival Vinales for pace at different stages of the one-day test.
Photo courtesy Ducati
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