Usually, at this time of the year, the Sepang tests start their count down. The week in Malaysian, with both riders and test riders in action, represents the start of the season that is about to begin and, consequently, reveals the work carried by the teams during the winter.
Several new fairings or a new frame are expected, as well as the first chronometric feedback from the riders. But, this time, the tests will not be held there, since COVID-19 has struck again, so much so as to overturn Dorna’s plans, making them opt for postponing the February appointment until March on the Losail track.
This was a hard blow for the riders, who were forced to remain in the pits waiting for the green light. But many certainly don’t want to just sit back and wait, like Maverick Vinales and Johann Zarco, who decided to head to Jerez and take part in the Superbike tests scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
The Spanish Yamaha rider will take to the track with the R1, while the Pramac team’s French rider will be riding the Panigale V4S. After all, given the regulation that limits the number of days of the MotoGP tests, there was no other viable way. It’ll be interesting to see them compared to the derivatives in this unprecedented release. Michele Pirro will also be joining them on the track with the same bike as Zarco: “With Zarco and Vinales, we’re doing the road race,” the rider from San Giovanni Rotondo told us jokingly in recent days.
But there’s one aspect that should be underlined when speaking of the MotoGP. That’s because we’ll see the Honda test team in action in Jerez with Stefan Bradl who will carry on the work on behalf of HRC. The German test rider, who had the task of replacing an injured Marquez last season, will be present with the RC213V and, who knows if he’ll be able to show off some innovations, playing ahead of his rivals: Yamaha, Ducati, and Suzuki.
We’ll find out on Wednesday morning, at 10 am, obviously hoping for a bit of help from the weather. To date, rain is expected on both days.