Valentino Rossi made his long-awaited re-emergence on a Yamaha on Tuesday at the rain-hit first 2013 season test in Valencia, as the MotoGP grid had to cope with difficult conditions on its first day of 2013 season testing.
GO & FUN Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista was the first to put the hammer down in the morning, topping the timesheets for the first part of the day with a five-lap stint. Bautista set the fastest time of 1:35.936 on a still dry but cold track in the morning. This was however all the Spaniard did, as some new parts from Honda were not testable in the wet, meaning he is hoping for dry weather on Wednesday.
“As forecast the rain came this morning and interrupted the programme we had planned for the test,” Bautista said. “Fortunately we were out on track as early as we were allowed so that meant I could get a few decent laps in and set the best time of the day. We did the maximum we could in the minimum time available and at least were able to show off the new Go & Fun colours that Team Honda Gresini will be using for the next three seasons.
“Hopefully the weather improves tomorrow but unfortunately the forecast is not very reassuring. The only positive thing could be the higher temperatures which should mean we can get some more laps in even if it’s in the wet.”
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl was given the 2013 Honda to try for the day, yet posted his initial time in the morning on his current machine. Ending the day in second, the German did not go out in the wet, putting in only five laps.
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso caught the last bit of dry track in the morning to make his first outing on the Italian machine, finishing the day in third, and stating that his initial impressions were good. His teammate Nicky Hayden did not step out until 2pm, deciding to wait for the track to be completely wet before setting a time. He was working on his suspension and briefly tried a new chassis, although stated that in the wet conditions it was tough to judge progress. His time saw the American in fifth place on the timesheet.
Avintia Blusens’ Hiroshi Aoyama was one of the early ones out on track with the team’s BQR-FRT. Aoyama ended the day in fourth [dry time].
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Rossi went out for an initial shakedown in the morning when it was still dry, but very cold. He then set out putting in more laps once the rain had arrived, ultimately finishing the day in sixth. His teammate Jorge Lorenzo opted not head out on track in the unfavourable conditions.
Yamaha has since confirmed it will not take part in Wednesday’s test in Valencia, opting instead to test in Aragón.
Repsol Honda Team’s hotly anticipated debutant Marc Márquez was another rider not go out on track, with the youngster instead waiting for a dry track for his MotoGP debut. This was also the case for Dani Pedrosa, who was set to evaluate the 2013 model against the machine he raced with last weekend.
Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Iannone, who was also making his debut in the premier-class, only did one out-lap before returning to the pits in the morning. Like Márquez, he was waiting for better conditions to start his MotoGP career, however decided to take the plunge in the afternoon, ultimately finishing 13th, after completing the second most laps with 40.
Standing in for the injured Ben Spies and also taking his first spin on the Ducati was Michele Pirro, who ended the day in seventh.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 was also to see new-boy Bradley Smith head out on track for the very first time on a MotoGP machine. Smith however, opted to stay in his box, although stated if Wednesday is wet from the start he is likely to head out. His teammate Cal Crutchlow, nursing a broken bone in his hand from the weekend, decided not head out.