We are almost there! A few more weeks of waiting and then the stopwatch will finally give its verdict. The tests at the beginning of March in Qatar will kick-start into life the new season, which, as usual, will start in Losail with the classic night race.
While waiting for the green light, teams and riders have certainly not remained idle during this period. This is the case of Honda, which with their own HRC test team and Stefan Bradl, had a non-stop winter. There was no lack of work at Honda, which to date has seen the German test rider take to the track seven times in the new year.
In fact, Stefan made his debut at the Superbike tests on January 20-21 in Jerez, where he showed off a new frame, as well as a latest-evolution swingarm and exhaust. Still on the same track, the HRC rider then returned on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th, to which can be added the dates last week, when Ducati booked the track.
As if that weren't enough, the HRC test team is also at the Andalusian track today together with its test rider. It is therefore strange to see that Bradl and Honda have already done a good seven days of testing to date, while Yamaha is still on the starting blocks. To see Cal Crutchlow in action on the M1 in fact it will be necessary to wait for the Qatar tests.
Unfortunately, due to the anti-Covid regulations that limit travel between countries, Yamaha had serious problems getting its technicians and engineers from Japan to move to Europe, so this is the main reason for all this delay. Not only that, Cal couldn't even travel to Japan to meet the Iwata men and lay the foundations for 2021.
It’s a situation that in some ways is similar to what happened at Honda in SBK last year, where the HRC team struggled not a little to carry on its development due to the limitations on travelling outside the European Union.
Yamaha has therefore been forced to lay idle in these first months of the new year, while Honda continued to grind out the kilometres, so much so that it was also on track today in Jerez. HRC is not alone, however, since it has been sharing the track with Dani Pedrosa's KTM and Aleix Espargarò and Lorenzo Savadori's Aprilia. Suzuki is missing, as well as Ducati, which however tested last week with Michele Pirro.
Meanwhile at Jerez the day of testing ended with Bradl and Honda ahead of the rest thanks to a time of 1'38.968, followed just seven thousandths of a second behind by Aleix Espargarò's Aprilia. Behind the Spaniard is his fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa with the KTM, while Lorenzo Savadori wrapped up the group, with a gap of more than a second and a half from the top.
Here are the times from Monday: