Three Things To Look Out For During MotoGP's 2023 Portimao Test
As MotoGP faces the final pre-season test in Portimao, we have compiled three things to look out for during the last outing before the season opener.
The MotoGP season opener in Portimao is approaching fast. For the teams, it will be the last chance to get feedback from their official riders before the start of the season.
To get back up to date, here are five things to look out for as the MotoGP stars try to sort out the last flaws of their machines.
Aprilia's Engine Update - Enough To Challenge Ducati Down The Straights?
As we already saw at the Sepang test, the Ducatis are no longer overwhelmingly superior on the straights.
Besides Yamaha, who have been looking for more horsepower for years, Aprilia in particular stepped up its game during the winter break.
At the test in Malaysia, the Italians from Noale were already on par with the Ducatis reaching top speeds of 337.5 kph.
The Ducatis are simply unbeatable down the straight 🇮🇹🔥— MGP1 (@mgp1official) February 14, 2023
Will Aprilia's engine "update" scheduled for the Portimao test be enough to outrun the Ducatis?#MotoGP | #SepangTest | #MGP1 pic.twitter.com/9MzQia2o87
And there is more to come – Aprilia is planning another engine update for the test in Portimao. However, it seems the engineers have woken a sleeping dragon: Ducati now also wants to step up their game.
During the Sepang Test, World Champion Francesco Bagnaia already hinted Ducati could have found more top speed without any downsides to the bike’s performance.
Can Aprilia challenge the Ducatisti and move to the top of the top speed sheets or will Ducati strike back in the race for horsepower?
Yamaha's Qualifying Lap Issue - Fixable?
Despite finally achieving more top speed than in previous years, Yamaha was not happy with what came about at the MotoGP test in Sepang.
Compared to last season, the Japanese team had come much closer to the competitors topspeed-wise, however, especially during the time attack at the end of the weekend, the Japanese team fell far short of expectations.
While the fast laps felt good for Fabio Quartararo, the Frenchman was shocked when he looked at the timesheet.
The 2021 World Champion wasn’t even able to beat his own best lap time from the previous day. The Frenchman was a full second slower than the weekend’s fastest Luca Marini.
Nine Italian bikes in the Top 10 after Day 3 of the #SepangTest 🔥— MGP1 (@mgp1official) February 12, 2023
Will Honda and Yamaha find a way to the top in 2023?#MotoGP | #MGP1 pic.twitter.com/hWswvwRTH5
How, despite the good feeling and an improved top speed, Yamaha’s performance on fresh tires could drop that significantly remained inexplicable for Quartararo.
Keeping Yamaha’s already weak qualifying ability and the increasing importance of starting positions in 2023 in mind, the Japanese face a mountain of problems to be solved.
Can the engineers at the Iwata factory breathe new life into the Yamaha for the Portimao test? Will Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli be able to keep up with the top riders when it comes to qualifying time?
Is his 'outdated' Desmosedici GP22 actually Luca Marini's biggest early-season advantage?
For the new season, VR46 rider Luca Marini had to give up his right to an up-to-date Ducati Desmosedici.
Although Marini will have to contest the new MotoGP season on the same version of the Ducati as last year, this does not seem to be a disadvantage.
The lack of an upgrade to the GP23 could even be the Italian’s big advantage at least for the start of the season, after all, Francesco Bagnaia had won the title on the same spec.
While other riders first have to get used to the new versions of their bikes or even a completely new manufacturer, apart from minor updates, everything remains the same for Luca Marini.
At the Sepang test, he showed he’s capable of fighting the front and clocked in the fastest time of the weekend.
Can Marini confirm his early-season advantage in Portimao and possibly take it with him into the first phase of the new season?