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Old 02-17-2016, 06:50 PM   #1
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Danilo Petrucci Fastest On Day One At Phillip Island Test

Photo Courtesy of MotoGP

Danilo Petrucci makes the most out of the dry time in a day of poor conditions to set the fastest time on day one of the Phillip Island test.

It was typical Phillip Island weather on day one of the three-day MotoGP test in Austrailia – all four seasons in a day. As such it threw a wrench in testing plans at a time when every day of pre-season testing is paramount in getting prepared for a 2016 season with new tires and spec electronics. Thankfully there was a bit of dry conditions at the end of the day and once again, Octo Pramac Yaknich Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci made the most of it to set the top time of the day.

"I'm happy to be so competitive,” Petrucci said. “We are very confident and it is nice to start the season with these good feelings. My fastest time? I hope to do it again even when it will count, but it's always nice to finish a day of work in first place.”

In spite of the poor conditions, Petrucci felt that they gained some value from the day to build on tomorrow.

“It was a difficult day due to the rain,” he said. “In the morning we could have run in the wet but the conditions were not the greatest. We did only a few laps (12) but I'm pretty happy because we produced data to study. Basically we earned two runs to understand which direction to go with the bike. Many things have changed since last year. There is much work to do and to finish in front gives you a boost".

Photo Courtesy of MotoGP

“We didn’t really test anything specific," Maverick Vinales said about day one at Phillip Island. "We just wanted to verify some set-ups in the electronics, mainly to take some advantages for tomorrow." With the amount of testing that needs to be done to prepare for the new season, everyone is hoping the weather will be nicer for the remaining two days of the test.

Behind Petrucci was Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales, who echoed Petrucci’s sentiments of the difficult conditions and growing confidence.

“Today was very difficult conditions, but we managed to ride some laps and this was positive,” Vinales said. “I feel more confident now than last year, the 2015 season was really helpful for me to grow and also become more focused and sharp when it comes to giving feedback to my engineers and asking for modifications.

“These new electronics are putting all riders under pressure, we still have so many things to learn before we can manage it properly, but this is also something that is renewing the enthusiasm. I spent all the Winter training to get fit, now it’s time to focus on the machine. In Sepang we had some positive improvements which gave me positive feelings, but now I’m really curious to continue the development and get closer to the top.”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith also improved, ending the day third ahead of fellow Brits Scott Redding on the other Octo Pramac Yaknich Ducati and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow.

It ultimately was a day were the support team riders shined. Crutchlow bested his factory counterparts on the older spec engines – the ’15 and the ’16 engine with the similar spec tested at Valencia last fall. Crutchlow also did the majority of his laps in the wet, as did sixth-place finisher Valentino Rossi.

Photo Courtesy of MotoGP

Cal Crutchlow was the fastest of the Hondas, ending the day fifth.

“Unfortunately we expected summer, but it’s winter,” Rossi said. “Today the season changed a minimum of 10 times, we had to wait a lot and it was quite frustrating because it was important to do some work, but we didn’t do a lot of laps. We were able to do some wet laps and also some dry laps at the end.”

It was a disappointment to the Movistar Yamaha rider, but Rossi was hoping for Mother Nature to cooperate on the days ahead.

“We hope that tomorrow and Friday the weather will become better,” Rossi said. “It’s always difficult to find the right window to use the intermediate tire, but it can help. In the past, with the slick, it was quite dangerous to go out in half and half conditions. I think this year we can use the time more effectively, but here in Phillip Island the feeling with the bike and the tires changed a lot compared to last year, so we need to work; every track can be different.”

In seventh was Smith’s teammate Pol Espargaro ahead of Aspar Honda’s Yonny Hernandez. Jack Miller ended the day ninth on his first go of 2016 on the Marc VDS Honda. The Australian put in a limited number of laps as he is still feeling out the capability of his injured leg that he broke in a training accident earlier this year. Rounding out the top 10 was Ducati’s Andrea Iannone.

In 12th was birthday boy Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda, who was unable to improve his time set earlier in the day. The same went for Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and Marquez’ teammate Dani Pedrosa, finishing 15th and 16th, respectively.

Photo Courtesy of Movistar Yamaha

The weather at Phillip Island was not the belated birthday present Valentino Rossi was hoping for, but the newly turned 37-year-old made use of the time to test the rain tires and electronics.

2016 MotoGP Phillip Island Test Day One Results:
  1. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 1:31.764
  2. Maverick Vinales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:32.483
  3. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:32.590
  4. Scott Redding (GBR) Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 1:32.864
  5. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) LCR Honda 1:32.948
  6. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha 1:33.088
  7. Pol Espargaro (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:33.126
  8. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Aspar Honda 1:33.841
  9. Jack Miller (AUS) Marc VDS Honda 1:33.992
  10. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati 1:34.049
  11. Tito Rabat (SPA) EG 0.0 Marc VDS 1:35.273
  12. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda 1:35.354
  13. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:35.584
  14. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar Ducati 1:35.679
  15. Takuya Tsuda (JPN) Suzuki Test Team 1:36.166

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