MotoGP: Luca Marini tops official Valencia Test

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Luca Marini ended the official Valencia MotoGP Test at the top of the timesheets as riders got to grips with their 2023 bikes for the first time.

It was a busy, yet exciting day for the paddock with so many riders switching manufactures next season. Joan Mir (Repsol Honda) and Alex Rins (LCR Honda) jumped on the RC213V for the first time, whilst Jack Miller began life as a factory KTM rider onboard the RC16.

Elsewhere, Alex Marquez linked up with his crew inside the Gresini Racing Ducati pit box, as did Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez at RNF Racing. The team have switched from Yamaha machinery to Aprilia for 2023.

Enea Bastianini became a factory rider with newly crowned champions Ducati, whilst Pol Espargaro returned to Tech3 Racing, who switch from KTM branding to GASGAS.

At the end of the day, it was Marini who posted the quickest lap-time overall, recording a 1:30.032 onboard the Mooney VR46 Racing Ducati. That was 0.22s quicker than Maverick Vinales, who completed 89 laps on his factory Aprilia RS-GP.

Fabio Quartararo at the Valencia Test (Monster Energy Yamaha)

Marco Bezzecchi completed the top three on the second of the VR46 bikes, finishing the day just 0.005s adrift of Vinales. Both Marini and Bezzecchi were riding GP22s. Bezzecchi lost some time during the morning session due to a mechanical problem.

Oliveira was the quickest of the riders who have switched teams, with the Portuguese rider ending the test fourth overall. Aleix Espargaro ensured that three Aprilia riders finished inside the top five, finishing 0.085s quicker than 2022 rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Brad Binder was the leading KTM rider in eighth ahead of Jorge Martin and 2021 World Champion Fabio Quartararo. Binder used the new chassis that helped him finish second at the weekend, whilst the South African also tested a new tail unit and exhaust.

Meanwhile, Quartararo completed 92 laps as he looks to take the title back in 2023. The Frenchman tested a new chassis, two aero packages, large rear wings and the new engine. Quartararo was said to be a little concerned about the engine performance during his media debriefs at the end of the test.

Joan Mir at the Valencia Test (Repsol Honda)

Bastianini completed the top 10 on his first outing in Ducati red. The Italian crashed at turn six in the afternoon session, but still finished ahead of 2022 champion Pecco Bagnaia (12th). The latter tested a new front fairing and wings, as well as side fairings similar to the ones used by Aprilia.

Johann Zarco was 11th on the Pramac Racing Ducati, whilst Marc Marquez was the fastest Honda rider in 13th. Marquez tested a number of new parts, including different chassis, exhaust, seat, tail unit and carbon clutch. However, the Spaniard is said to be disappointed with the results. “With this bike, we can’t fight for the World Championship,” he said.

Franco Morbidelli was 14th on the second factory Yamaha M1, whilst Alex Marquez ended his first day with Gresini Racing in 15th. It’s Marquez’s first outing on the Ducati Desmocedici after spending the first three years of his premier class career with Honda.

Pol Espargaro at the Valencia Test (Tech3 Racing GASGAS)

Pol Espargaro was 16th on the GASGAS machine and was visibly happy to be back on the RC16 after two difficult campaigns onboard the Repsol Honda RC213V. Espargaro spent four seasons with KTM between 2017 and 2020, securing six podiums during that time. He also spent three seasons with the Tech3 squad between 2014 and 2016.

Miller finished his first day as a KTM rider in 17th, just ahead of Mir on the Repsol Honda. Mir, and Rins (20th) got their hands on the new RC213V chassis, intakes, exhausts, tail unit and Kalex swingarm.

Rookie Augusto Fernandez completed 83 laps on the second Tech3 GASGAS RC16 machine, posting a best lap-time of 1:31.730. Fernandez is the only newcomer on the MotoGP grid next season.