What to expect from the 2022 MotoGP shakedown

The 2022 MotoGP season gets off to a proper start next Saturday when the full grid gathers at Sepang International Circuit for the first of five days of pre-season testing, first on the Malaysian track for two days and then across the sea. of Java for the championship premiere. never visited the new Mandalika Bay trail in Indonesia.

But before that happens, there’s a teaser of sorts in the form of three days of ‘shakedown’ test action at Sepang, where we’ll see part of the 2022 peloton hit the track for the first time alongside long-time MotoGP veterans. who will hopefully not need to line up on the grid for the first round of the championship a month later in Qatar.

Indeed, the shakedown test, which begins on Monday, will be open not only to factory test riders, but also to MotoGP’s bumper crop of rookies in 2022, with another chance for newcomers to learn how to ride. get by with a first-class machine on what is expected. be a relatively quiet track.

The most attention is likely to be focused on Tech3 KTM duo Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez, fresh off the heels of finishing first and second in the 2021 Moto2 championship respectively.

KTM underlined its full support for the duo earlier this week during the team presentation, and it will likely not only be a chance for the duo to continue learning their machine, but also for the factory engineers to lend special attention to their new chargers.

One rookie who will likely be left to his own devices is RNF Yamaha’s Darryn Binder, as the direct Moto3 graduate continues to get a feel for not just a bike that’s six times more powerful, but the power of braking from carbon brakes and the incredible grip of Michelin Control MotoGP tyres.

This trio of riders are joined by Ducati’s Italian rookie duo, as Fabio Di Giannantonio and Marco Bezzecchi also pursue their own learning curve.

Both ride 2021 spec machines rather than developing 2022 bikes like Gardner and Fernandez will be on. They will join Binder – the only other rider apart from Enea Bastianini, Di Giannantonio’s teammate at Gresini Racing, who is due to start 2022 on year-old machines – to learn the ropes this week rather than try anything. either major in terms of new components.

However, there will also be plenty of new bikes on the track, as all six factories send their test riders to not only start testing themselves, but also to shake up the machines that their riders will take over a few days later.

Test riders will be riding newly built engines and checking freshly assembled bikes for technical faults, so that means the rest of the grid should in theory ride bikes well warmed up for them.

The busiest of these test riders will be Ducati’s Michele Pirro, with five factory bikes to prepare for Pecco Bagnaia, Jack Miller, Luca Marini, Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco. On top of that, there’s sure to be plenty of new components to try as a laid-back Ducati factory flexes its engineering brains after a comfortable end to the 2021 season.

Elsewhere there are a plethora of former world champions and MotoGP race winners on track for other teams, as Cal Crutchlow tests for Yamaha, Dani Pedrosa rejoins KTM, Sylvain Guintoli takes the lead for Suzuki and Lorenzo Savadori continues with Aprilia.

The toughest challenge may well be Honda’s Stefan Bradl, however, as the German works to refine a fundamentally different RC213V that will be taken over by Marc Marquez later in the week.

The three days of track action at Sepang will begin on January 31, with seven and a half hours of action each day. None of the 2022 pre-season tests will be broadcast live on television.

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