Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) – unsurprisingly, right from the start. On the first day, the man from Cannes even set the fastest time for a good hour. He continued like this on the second day of the test and held the provisional best time at 2 p.m. (© MotoGP).

Second MotoGP test day of the year on March 7th in Losail

The second test day of the year in Losail, like day 1, is still of limited informative value with regard to lap times. Even if many scribes often interpret such tests as races, they are usually terribly wrong. The same goes for the often seen term “new bikes from 2021”. There was a development stop due to Covid-19 and at most marginal modifications have been allowed at all since the previous year. If there had been a real further development, why were all Losail a good 1 second slower than 2 years ago? There was nothing fascinating to hear from the drivers after the first day of testing. No wonder, so far it has been more of warming up the engines and shaking off the winter rust and there is nothing to be won before March 28th.

Marquez long-term replacement and HRC test driver Stefan Bradl on the Repsol Honda of the multiple world champion on March 6th. Opinions are divided about him. At least since he told the fairy tale in summer 2020 that the 2020 Honda RC213V was slow. Marquez drove faster than everyone else on the 1st Jerez weekend (© MotoGP).

Repsol Honda’s still injured rider and its replacement
There are still no indications of the absent Marc Marquez whether and when he will return to his Honda RC213V this season. His long-term substitute Bradl claimed on March 6th that he expected to be involved in the Losail double race, but did not know anything about it. The lies and hide-and-seek from last year continue cheerfully. Against this background, it is also clear that the competition is fed up with a repetition of the double role of the German as test and long-term replacement driver and wants to protest against it. On the first day it was clear what an advantage Honda and the Bavarian get from this combination.

Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) – with the “Lusail Multipurpose Hall” built after the last MotoGP race in 2019 in the background. The young French took it cautiously and should improve continuously. In qualifying on March 27th, he is one of the top favorites for the first row of the grid (© MotoGP).

As on the 1st day of the test – little operation for the first 1.5 hours

Most of the established stars of the scene held back on the first day of the test and did not take to the track until much later than the test drivers and less experienced pilots. On the second day of the first tests in 2021, from 12 noon, only test drivers were initially on the track. In addition to Petrux, Johann Zarco and the reigning world champion Joan Mir joined them at around 1:30 p.m. The French are very excited to see how much the move to the Pramac Team and the current Ducati bike will bring. In the previous year he had been the man who pulled the coals out of the fire for Ducati several times at the previous year’s GP-19. Little is expected of Petrucci at Tech 3 KTM, which can only be an advantage for the likeable northern Italian. The thing looks different with me.

Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) – the Catalan is expected to confirm the most consistent performance of all drivers last year in the coming season (© MotoGP).

Maverick’s new best lap of 2:15 p.m.

Shortly after Francesco Bagnaia topped Zarco’s previous best time, the man, who was on pole position in 2019, stepped up. With an absolute best time to date, Maverick Viñales was the first driver to scrape close to a 1:54 time shortly after 2 p.m. A little later, the Monster Energy Yamaha rider stepped up and set the fastest time of the day. But because he still stayed above the 1:54.687 of Aprilia’s only hope Aleix Espargaró from the previous day, this is definitely not the end of the flagpole. Incidentally, Marc Marquez’s absolute best time in 2019 is 1:53.380. The three rookies Jorge Martin, Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini were up to then, like the day before, about 2 seconds behind the best time. HRC test and reserve driver Stefan Bradl paused until shortly before 2:30 p.m. Until then, apart from the Bavarian, only Alex Rins and Miguel Oliveira were missing from the track. The first 10 drivers were still relatively far apart at this point.

112M. VIÑALES1:54.845
221F. MORBIDELLI+0.490
363F. BAGNAIA+0.715
45J. ZARCO+0.951
544P. ESPARGARO+1.068
641A. ESPARGARO+1.087
736J. MIR+1.229
830T. NAKAGAMI+1.612
927I. LECUONA+1.679
109D. PETRUCCI+1.691
We photographed Losail’s starting grid in March 2019 – with Maverick Viñales on pole and the missing rookie Fabio Quartararo in row 2. The Frenchman stalled the engine during the pre-start for the warm-up lap and then had to drive out of the pit lane.

Bradl’s new best time at 3:00 p.m.

Shortly before 3 p.m., the driver topped up with most of the test kilometers of the year. The new best time of Stefan Bradl on the Repsol Honda is only marginally better than Aleix Espargaró’s 1: 54.687 the day before. Miguel Oliveira had paused for a long time and then immediately slammed a deep 1:55 time. There are no longer any real test drivers in the top ten. The first 10 drivers had meanwhile moved a little closer together and Alex Rins also made it into the top ten straight away.

16S. BRADL1:54.658
212M. VIÑALES+0.187
321F. MORBIDELLI+0.468
488M. OLIVEIRA+0.616
520F. QUARTARARO+0.654
641A. ESPARGARO+0.875
763F. BAGNAIA+0.902
843J. MILLER+0.952
944P. ESPARGARO+1.006
1042A. RINS+1.032
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) – Together with his new team-mate Alex Marquez, Honda’s hopes weigh on the Japanese, at least as long as Marc Marquez continues to pause (© MotoGP).

New provisional daily best time of Miller at 4:25 p.m.

After Honda newcomer Pol Espargaró, his brother Aleix (Aprilia) and also Yamaha ace Viñales as pole setter from 2019 narrowly failed to set a new record before 4 p.m., the time had come at 4:25 p.m. With the new record of 1:54.387, “Jack Ass” set a time that is the new benchmark for at least 2021. Shortly before that, Morbido had beaten Bradl’s fastest time to date. A little later, the Dovi successor doubled with an improvement of 2 hundredths and achieved a 1:54.367.

143J. MILLER1:54.387
221F. MORBIDELLI+0.198
36S. BRADL+0.271
444P. ESPARGARO+0.286
541A. ESPARGARO+0.307
612M. VIÑALES+0.387
763F. BAGNAIA+0.470
820F. QUARTARARO+0.483
936J. MIR+0.583
1030T. NAKAGAMI+0.793

Aleix Espargaró at 5 p.m. sharp with a new best time

Miller’s previous record was clearly undercut by the Aprilia driver at 5 p.m. on the dot. Although Aleix says he lacks around 15 km / h on the straights on the Ducati, the fast Catalan clearly managed to undercut the Australian’s time. As at this time the day before, there is no KTM in the top ten at this point in time. But both Suzukis with Rins and Mir are at the forefront. There is currently nothing to suggest that Marc Marquez’s 2019 all-time lap record on the Repsol Honda of 1:53.380 is in jeopardy. Until 6 p.m., no driver was able to beat Aleix’s time, with Morbidelli and Bradl narrowly failing their attempt.

141A. ESPARGARO1:54.152
243J. MILLER+0.215
321F. MORBIDELLI+0.433
442A. RINS+0.506
56S. BRADL+0.506
644P. ESPARGARO+0.521
736J. MIR+0.536
812M. VIÑALES+0.622
963F. BAGNAIA+0.705
1020F. QUARTARARO+0.718
Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia) is always good for a quick lap. The Spaniard, who grew up just a stone’s throw from the Barcelona circuit, proved this already the day before (© MotoGP).

Fabio Quartararo cracks the 1:54 at 6:20 p.m. first

While Morbido and Bradl only failed by a hundredth of Aleix’s time, Monster Energy Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo caused a bang at 18:20. This year he was the first driver to achieve a time under 1:54 with 1: 53.940 and thus again reminded of his qualities as one of the fastest men over a flying lap since 2019. In the meantime, Pramac’s newcomer Johann Zarco also had a positive impression fastest Ducati driver up to then, ahead of factory driver Jack Miller.

120F. QUARTARARO1:53.940
241A. ESPARGARO+0.212
321F. MORBIDELLI+0.213
46S. BRADL+0.270
55J. ZARCO+0.416
643J. MILLER+0.427
712M. VIÑALES+0.455
836J. MIR+0.575
942A. RINS+0.718
1088M. OLIVEIRA+0.726
Enea Bastianini (Esponsorama Ducati) – currently the fastest rookie, about 1.5 seconds behind Quartararo’s fastest time (© MotoGP).

Conclusion of the first two days of testing and ranking list

On the two days, Stefan Bradl involuntarily demonstrated with his fast laps that Honda, with its combination as test and reserve driver, has an advantage for Marc Marquez. Test drivers should be pure test drivers and not long-term replacements, so the opinion of most team bosses of the competition. Regardless of this, however, other drivers set the tone in the end. Above all, Fabio Quartararo reported back to the front line. The Frenchman had held back for the first day and a half. But in the end he hit the asphalt for a while, on which all opponents ultimately failed, as so often before.

The rookies in bold and the test drivers in italics, with Stefan Bradl as a special case.

The interpretation of the first two days of the test in short
With the exception of Valentino Rossi, all of the Yamaha riders were mostly at the forefront. Aleix Espargaró has always been fast over a single lap, he has yet to prove over the full distance how much his leading position is worth. The Suzuki drivers are in close contact with the best and the three most experienced Ducati drivers are all in the top ten. Takaaki Nagakami was only in 14th place before he made a slight improvement in the last quarter of an hour. For the first 10 it was not enough for the Japanese, as was the case with Alex Marquez. Honda is probably not worth half with the rest of the drivers without Marc Marquez. Unsurprisingly, KTM wasn’t right at the front. Now, without the test advantage in the previous year, the true potential of the oranges may only come to light again. It will be really exciting in 3 weeks when the lights go out for the first race of the season.

Monster Energy Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo in the pits – his best time set at 6:20 p.m. was not achieved by any competitor in the end (© MotoGP).
Panorama shot of the Losail circuit we took shortly before dusk. As on the first day of the test, driving with artificial light until 7 p.m. on Sunday.