What’s a MotoGP test day like?

5 minutes

It’s just as important to have a good motorbike as it is to have a good rider. That’s why there are a series of tests throughout the year that allow the teams to develop their bikes. We spoke to Santi Hernandez, Marc Márquez’s head technician, to find out what a test day is like.

Jefes mecánicos de Marc y álex Márquez, Ramón Aurín y Santo Hernández
What’s a MotoGP test day like?

Hello to all the Box Repsol fans!

As you know one of the team’s tasks is to try out new parts and components, so several tests are carried out. Do you want to know what it is that we do on a test day? Keep reading!

When planning a test, the first thing we need to know is where it is going to take place. The best circuits are those where the motorbike is least competitive and have many different types of turns to thoroughly test the equipment.

Since 2019 there are be no more private training sessions. We keep attending the general tests that the IRTA schedules that all teams can attend.

There is a lot less pressure during a test than in a GP, but don’t think we stand there twiddling our thumbs. Our mentality and professionalism is just the same. The main difference is that there is no time limit to test the tyres, suspension, and other adjustments that are important in a race.

In a test lap we don’t think so much about winning as drawing conclusions, be they positive or negative, and we dedicate all this time to exploring different possibilities. Going fast isn’t the most important goal; it’s understanding whether the element being tested will improve or worsen our performance.

Motos Repsol Honda en el box con técnicos del equipo
Motos Repsol Honda en el box con técnicos del equipo

It’s important to have as much data as possible for this analysis. The telemetry is very important, but riders’ feedback is even more so as they can tell us how they feel on the motorbike The information is very clear, but it doesn’t always show us what they’re feeling. The test riders have a key job here, as we can test things with them that we can’t with the official riders.

Many of the things we test cannot be used in competitions, and we can’t allow ourselves to invest time trying them out with the official riders. The test riders have the difficult task of helping us to discover which of the more experimental elements are good. For the test rider, it’s important that their skill level is as close as possible to the official rider, and that they understand the test in a competition context.

It’s necessary to understand that we don’t only test the physical parts such as the suspension, chassis, or engine. There are also other elements like the electronics. On some test days we end up testing many things, but on others you have to prioritise. After all we can’t test everything on one single day.

Sometimes we end up testing the oils and lubricants, although these have always been tested in the lab first. We are lucky that our main sponsor can provide us with a product that is finely adjusted to the needs of the competition. On the track we always get optimum results.

Santi Hernández y Ramón Aurín charlando
Santi Hernández y Ramón Aurín charlando

The tests that we do at the beginning of the season are focussed on improving the current motorcycle, the one that will be used in the race. Depending on how we do in the World Championship, we will continue developing the current model or work on next year’s.

Now, how long does it take to implement the results of the test in the actual competition? If we are talking about prototypes, it can take some time. Other aspects like the electronics can be used in the following race.

The tests are an important part of the competition, and we are going to have quite a few now with the pre-season on the horizon. I’d like to finish by saying thank you for all your support and I hope we can retain the title next year with your help.

Best wishes,

Santi Hernández.

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