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Old 02-18-2016, 04:34 AM   #1
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Phillip Island MotoGP test Viales top by 0161s

Maverick Viales leads the way on the second day of the test

DAY TWO of the Phillip Island MotoGP test saw much improved weather conditions with Suzuki Ecstar's Maverick Viñales leading the time-sheets.

After an initially slow start due to a wet, but drying track, the second day of the Phillip Island MotoGP test proved to be a productive one with weather conditions allowing riders to test in the dry.

The Ducati Team duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone headed out on track alongside Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo and Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda.

Lorenzo spent the early stages on wet weather tyres while Iannone tested the new Michelin intermediate tyres as the track continued to dry out.

With the unique demands of Phillip Island the left hand side of the tyre generates incredible heat in the final corners, which has caused significant tyre degradation in the past, but Michelin have produced a new dual compound rear and were eager to assess its performance at this test.

As riders became more comfortable and conditions slowly improved, Valentino Rossi, Viñales and Marc Marquez began to chop and change lap times at the top of the time sheets.

There was a brief interruption to proceedings as a small rain shower passed over the circuit, but riders and teams were able to get back to work soon after.

Improvements continued to come as Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Viñales became the first rider under the 1:30 barrier just as the second half of the day began. Clear and dry conditions allowed all riders to work their own testing schedule.

The afternoon saw all of the top ten riders inside the 1:29 mark with Viñales setting the fastest lap of the day, and of the test so far, with a 1:29.131.

The young Spaniard set a 1:29.131 on his 63rd lap on Thursday, half a second faster than his best lap from the race at Phillip Island last year where he finished sixth.

Suzuki are continuing to work hard on development with test rider Tsuda running extensive assessments of the fully seamless gearbox in Phillip Island which both Viñales and Alexi Espargaró are set to use at the start of the 2016 season.

The final five minutes saw Viñales and Marquez swap fast laps, each taking a turn at leading before the flag came out. On his penultimate lap Marquez managed to set a 1:29.292, 0.161s behind Viñales with a total of 79 laps completed throughout the day.

Both Repsol Honda Team riders are continuing to assess two chassis variants, with the 2016 ‘evo’ engine their focus of today.

Lorenzo made it a Spanish 1-2-3 with a 1:29.357. This came on the Movistar Yamaha rider’s 65th lap out of 80. None of Lorenzo’s runs were longer than six consecutive flying laps with the factory Yamaha rider yet to do a full race simulation, but instead completing ten laps in the 1:29 range.

Magneti Marelli are keen for riders to do a full race run, including sighting lap and race start from pit lane, to assess the new electronics over race distance. One of the biggest changes to the ECU in 2016 is the removal of adaptive strategies over race distance; now requiring more input from the rider themselves.

With Rossi in fourth, the Italian was just 0.047s shy of Lorenzo’s time and 0.273s down on Viñales in first. Both Rossi and Lorenzo were within a quarter of a second of the fastest lap of the 2015 Phillip Island race. Throughout the day Rossi was able to complete eleven laps in the 1:29 range with five in a row ending his second day of testing.

Cal Crutchlow put on a late charge to put himself and his LCR Honda machine in fifth. While both the factory Honda riders are testing the 2016 ‘evo’ engine, Crutchlow continued to work on the 2015 engine and the 2016 engine debuted at the post-season Valencia test.

In sixth, Hector Barbera continued to impress on the GP14.2 with a 1:29.857. The Avintia Racing rider has only a single bike in Phillip Island and elected not to leave the pits on Wednesday during the wet weather.

With an hour and a half remaining there was another brief interruption as Dani Pedrosa fell from his Repsol Honda Team machine at Turn 4 which brought out the red flag.

The accident occurred soon after Pedrosa had improved to seventh with a 1:29.917, but the Spaniard was unhurt and the halt to proceedings lasted less than ten minutes.

Both Scott Redding and Bradley Smith put in a late run to break under the 1:30 barrier and into the top ten. All of the top ten riders present were within a second of the top time - Phillip Island again producing tight times.

Having completed 88 laps, Andrea Dovizioso put in the most distance of any rider on track after a disappointing opening day. The factory Ducati Team rider was 12th fastest and three tenths back on his team-mate in seventh. Behind the Ducati was Pol Espargaro in 13th.

1.254 seconds behind his team-mate and session leader, Aleix Espargaro will no doubt be looking for improvements on the third and final day of the test in Australia. The Team Suzuki Ecstar rider completed just two laps on Wednesday after leaving the Sepang test somewhat frustrated.

A second red flag was brought out with ten minutes remaining after Yonny Hernandez fell at Turn 4 exactly where Pedrosa fell. The Colombian was uninjured and soon returned to the pits, but was unable to return to track with limited time remaining.

Continuing his recovery from a broken right leg, local lad Jack Miller was 17th with a 1:30.514 on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda ahead of Eugene Laverty who is also returning from injury. The Irish rider suffered a heavily bruised hand after a fast fall in Sepang.

In 19th, Tito Rabat completed a staggering 81 laps to end 1.519s back on former Moto2 rival Maverick Viñales and almost two seconds clear of Suzuki test rider Tsuda.

The final day in Phillip Island starts at 09:45 Local Time on tomorrow morning.

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