MotoGP fans witnessed a lot of exciting developments during the post-season testing in Valencia ahead of the 2024 season. Marc Marquez's first-ever test on the Gresini Ducati stole the spotlight, as he was riding a bike that wasn't a Honda for the first time in his MotoGP career. The 30-year-old rider clocked the second fastest behind Maverick Vinales. Another highlight of the day was Pedro Acosta – a young and talented Moto2 rider who made his MotoGP debut. He, too, was quite impressive on the track and finished the morning session in 17th place. Apart from that, a lot more happened during the start of the 2024 season. So, here's the lowdown of the highlights of the test.
Mooney VR46 Racing, Gresini Racing, Ducati Lenovo Team, Prima Pramac Racing
As he made his debut on Ducati's 2023-spec Desmosedici, Marquez didn't take long to ascend the timesheets. Just over ninety minutes before the end of the day, Marquez was the fastest on the track, briefly sitting 0.250s faster than everyone else with 1:29.460. Marquez, however, ended his day early after completing 49 laps before the winter break and finishing the Valencia Test 0.171s behind the leader.
World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) tested a new chassis for the Champions with teammate Enea Bastianini and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), who experienced two unanticipated collisions. Pecco completed 51 laps and finished in P10, followed by Bastianini in P8 and Martin in P15. This also served as a testing ground for a new engine. Marco Bezzecchi and his new teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio came to grips with the 2023-spec Ducati for the first time. In terms of racing pace, Giannantonio was amazing on the track and managed to improve on his pace during Sunday's Valencia GP. Diggia finished seventh, 0.4s off P1.
Sharing his views at the end of the day, Alex Marquez said that the 2023 Ducati is more different from the 2022 version than what was anticipated and that the engine and power have significantly improved. Taking over Johann Zarco's 2023 motorcycles, Franco Morbidelli (Prima Pramac Racing) began his new MotoGP journey by adding the upgraded tail unit and aero that the Frenchman had not been using. Morbidelli's quickest of the 69 laps he completed was 1:30.206, enough for P16.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing/GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3
Moto2 World Champion Pedro Acosta had his highly anticipated MotoGP debut, donning the GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 red for the first time. Despite finishing just 1.2 seconds behind P1 on the 2023-spec RC16s, marking an impressive debut, Acosta had a minor setback with a small collision at Turn 2 in the final thirty minutes. Brad Binder's fastest performance in the last ten minutes propelled him to P2, not on the 2024 bike, which he also tested; however, on the subsequent lap at Turn 5, he unfortunately lost the front and crashed.
Another talking point from the Austrian camp was the RC16 that Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was riding. Acosta's teammate Augusto Fernandez claimed P14 after 72 laps. Miller made history on the new bike by breaking into the top 10 after exhibiting a great save at Turn 2. The zebra-camouflaged KTM featured a new aero and an air intake. After 62 laps, the Australian finished P9.
Viñales was compelled to do the heavy lifting, as Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) was forced to sit out most of the day due to an injury sustained in Qatar. The Noale camp brought in a new swingarm, as Raul Fernandez tried the 2023 RS-GP for the first time at the Valencia Test. Not only was the Spaniard one of the top five riders throughout the day, but he also managed to hold the top position for a brief time. Viñales and Raul Fernandez stood at P1 and P4, respectively, at the end, with the former finishing the most laps, 86 to be precise.
Repsol Honda, LCR Honda
With Joan Mir making a full recovery and Luca Marini joining the Repsol Honda Team garage alongside Johann Zarco (Castrol Honda LCR) and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda LCR), a new chapter began for the Japanese team. Marini, the newest member of the factory squad, tested Honda's 2024 RC213V, which features a new swingarm, improved aerodynamics, exhausts, and chassis. Mir was seen using Honda's new rear-end aero in the last two hours of the day, which is somewhat similar to what we've seen on the KTM bikes in recent races.
Zarco, on the other hand, had a 2024-spec bike and a 2023-spec bike available to him. With just over an hour to go, the rider crashed, without any injury, at Turn 4 and finished the day in P17, one second off the lead after 61 laps. Nakagami finished P21 after completing 63 laps.
Monster Energy Yamaha
For the first time, Alex Rins and Fabio Quartararo teamed up in the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP garage, both using Yamaha's longer dual exhausts. Alongside the Frenchman and Spaniard on the circuit was test rider Cal Crutchlow, who was spotted riding a bike with a new Yamaha chassis. Furthermore, according to Team Manager Miao Meregalli, Quartararo and Rins were evaluating a revised version of the 2024 engine, which was already tested during the Misano Test.
As for the official results, Quartararo finished P12 after doing 63 laps, while Rins and Crutchlow finished P19 and P20, respectively. Rins completed 54 laps during his debut, while Crutchlow completed 74 laps.