Nakagami tops first test of 2022 MotoGP pre-season at Jerez

LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami kicked off Honda’s 2022 MotoGP pre-season preparations by topping the opening day of the Jerez test by 0.043 seconds.

Nakagami tops first test of 2022 MotoGP pre-season at Jerez

Just four days after the 2021 season concluded in Valencia, the opening two-day test of the 2022 pre-season got underway on Thursday at Jerez.

Very little running took place in the opening hour of running, with Luca Marini putting the new VR46 Ducati top of the pile with a 1m43.364s.

But by hour two the track burst into life, with Nakagami ending it fastest of all as he got to work back-to-backing the current RC213V and the 2022 prototype.

The Japanese rider’s 1m37.713s would be beaten with just under two and a half hours remaining, when 2021 championship runner-up Francesco Bagnaia guided his factory Ducati to a 1m37.415s.

He was immediately beaten by Enea Bastianini, now piloting the 2021 Ducati for Gresini Racing – who has split with Aprilia and will return to independent status for 2022.

The Italian’s 1m37.402s stood for around half an hour, before Nakagami returned to top spot with a 1m37.313s.

This would go unbeaten through to the chequered flag, with most teams calling it a day early.

Nakagami beat Pramac’s Johann Zarco, with Bastianini heading Bagnaia to complete the top three.

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

Johann Zarco, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Maverick Vinales put more miles on the factory Aprilia in fifth spot, with Alex Rins the fastest of the Suzukis in sixth with a 1m37.810s.

Franco Morbidelli was seventh on the factory Yamaha, with world champion team-mate Fabio Quartararo an unhappy ninth as he admitted the test bike was basically the same as to what he used at the Misano test in September.

Quartararo has made no secret of his need for more power on the Yamaha, but no progress has been made in that area so far.

Jack Miller on the sister factory team Ducati sandwiched the Yamaha pair in eighth, while Marini ended the day 11th ahead of Pramac’s Jorge Martin and the returning Pol Espargaro – who was passed fit to test Honda’s 2022 bike following the violent crash which ruled him out of the Valencia Grand Prix at the weekend.

Joan Mir was 14th on the second of the Suzukis, while the rookie charge was led by Tech3’s Raul Fernandez – who was 19th and just 1.7s off the pace having done 57 laps on Thursday.

Team-mate and reigning Moto2 world champion Remy Gardner was over a second adrift down in 24th, as he completed 52 laps despite physical problems with the broken ribs he suffered in Portugal two weeks ago.

Remy Gardner, KTM Tech3

Remy Gardner, KTM Tech3

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Gardner headed Marco Bezzecchi, who steps up to MotoGP from Moto2 with the VR46 squad, while Gresini rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio was 22nd on his Ducati.

RNF Racing rookie Darryn Binder, who is making the step up from Moto3, was 27th and 4.436s off the pace on his Yamaha.

The day was briefly red-flagged for a crash for Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, who ended up 15th, while KTM’s Brad Binder in 10th also took a tumble.

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