Maverick Viñales showed his Sepang test form was no fluke today as he set the pace on the second day of testing in Australia. The Spaniard was the only rider capable of breaking the 1'29 barrier today, a 1'28.847 leaving him almost half a second clear of Marc Márquez, who himself put together an extraordinary rhythm today with over 100 laps. Third fastest today was British rider Cal Crutchlow, followed by the first Ducati rider, Pull&Bear Aspar man Álvaro Bautista guiding his GP16 to fourth position with a lap of 1'29.411, just narrowly ahead of factory counterpart Andrea Dovizioso. The Australian test concludes tomorrow with another eight hours of track activity before the bikes head to Qatar for the final test of preseason followed by the first Grand Prix of the year.
After getting their first laps of Phillip Island under their belts yesterday the Pull&Bear Aspar pairing of Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham today ostensibly improved their feelings and their laps times today, the Spaniard finishing as top Ducati after 86 laps of the track. Bautista revealed he had made 'small steps' forward in this test but is still short of finding the same feeling he had in Malaysia. Karel Abraham was the second Ducati independent rider after shaving a second off his best lap time from yesterday with an early effort this morning. The Czech rider then focused on longer runs, including one of twenty laps, whilst continuing to make set-up changes with the Grand Prix of Qatar in mind. Abraham was just outside the 1'30 barrier, stopping the clock at 1'30.142 after 73 laps today, well inside his objective of 1'30.5.
4th Álvaro Bautista 1.29.411 (86 laps): “Today we worked on improving the feeling from yesterday and we tried various things. We haven't taken a big step but some small ones to improve my confidence. I have improved my pace quite a bit from yesterday but the truth is the track conditions were better and we have all improved. In the end we were a little more competitive than yesterday but I still don't feel 100% like the last tests. We have gathered more data and for example tried some new tyres, which we found positive things with. In general it has been quite a complete day. Let's see if we can continue to improve tomorrow and take some more steps in the right direction, which even though we can't take giant steps will be important. We will work hard to make sure we leave here feeling as satisfied as possible.”
13th Karel Abraham 1.30.142 (73 laps): “In general it has been a good day. This morning we did some tests with the electronics and the tyres. The first experiment was good and even though I set my best time on the second one I was losing the front from the third lap. Then we did almost a full race simulation of twenty laps and it wasn't bad, we set some quite decent times. In the afternoon we continued testing things and tried to keep the same tyres but the rear was sliding quite a lot. At the end of the day I managed to set a bunch of low 1'30s and that was my best run of the day. I am happy because the objective today was to make a 1'30.5”.
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