Feedback regarding the resurfaced Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was largely positive, after the majority of the MotoGP field tested there on Wednesday, with the quickest riders one second under the official lap record using a revised layout.

Gone is the tight left-right chicane in the circuit's final sector, with the track’s final sector partly reverting back to its original grand prix design, utilising the two high speed rights (turns twelve and 13) that end the lap, which riders raced prior to Luis Salom’s tragic and untimely death in 2016.

The tighter, slower turn ten, used by Formula 1 (and MotoGP since 2016) that closes the back straight will remain, however, with concerns regarding the space between the turn and the trackside tyre wall remaining. “I’m pretty happy to have back these two last corners, which is good for a motorcycle,” Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco told Crash.net.

In addition to the layout changes, riders were assessing the new track surface, laid down after last season’s outing, when the bumps and abrasiveness of the asphalt was felt to have reached a critical level. Wednesday’s outing was essentially a test for Michelin to gain sufficient information to formulate a suitable tyre allocation for June’s Grand Prix at the same venue.

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With rider opinion generally positive, Zarco noted the tyres were not experiencing a sudden, early drop in performance, as they had in 2017. “Last year it was a few laps and then … you were spinning, spinning too much and that was difficult for us,” he said.

“I’m pretty happy,” began the Frenchman. “I’m also pretty happy to have back these two last corners, which is good for a motorcycle, the two fast corners before the finish line. And the surface, it was working well. Today we put a lot of rubber on it. We did many laps and you could feel that every time the track is getting better and better.

“Even with the hot temperatures the track was still good feeling. There are no bumps any more. We also did a good job with the team. We tried to prepare ourselves for the Barcelona Grand Prix and also we can get good information to prepare for Mugello.

“We had to test tyres. Also to give information to Michelin for what can be a good tyre during the race, which was the most important thing for them. And for us? Nothing special on the bike, just finding the best balance to enjoy it.”

Did he feel Michelin’s tyres were reacting well to the new surface? “They were working well,” said Zarco, twice a podium finisher in 2018. “We never destroyed one tyre. From soft to hard we could do many laps on it and have information. For sure the soft one with a warm temperature is too soft and gets too hot. Then you can struggle with spin.

“But with the hard one we maybe have this good balance. Most of all for Michelin they need this information to make three good tyres for the grand prix.”

And does he feel the layout and new surface will be of benefit to Yamaha, whose factory team struggled badly here a year ago? “I think, yes,” he said. “The good thing is the tyre is not dropping down like last year. Last year it was a few laps and then you could struggle. You were spinning, spinning too much and that was difficult for us, but also the factory team.

“This year, and here today, you don’t feel a drop on the tyre. For sure it gets used but you can keep a good control on the bike. This makes almost everybody competitive, but overall the Yamaha.”

MotoGP riders’ consensus on the new track surface

Marc Marquez
"About the modifications, I think they did a really good job with the surface. The tarmac had really good grip and was nice to ride, even if in some brake points the Formula One starts to make some bumps. But apart from that, we were riding well, it was an important test for Michelin, also the new layout with the new safety areas - I think they are enough and we feel good. One of the most difficult [things is] still there are the kerbs, because the inside kerbs are very, very high and for the riding style it is very difficult to adapt. But anyway apart from that we did a good test."

Andrea Dovizioso
"We're going home quite happy because the feeling was good. We tried a few set-ups and it worked, because we have to adapt to the new asphalt and layout. I'm really happy about that. It's difficult to know exactly the pace of the competitors, but I feel good and we go to Mugello with good confidence."

Valentino Rossi
"Yes, I think they do a good job, because the asphalt is very good. It is very flat. They take out a lot of bumps and also the quality of the asphalt is good, it has good grip so you can go faster and you can enjoy more. Also they have gone back to the normal layout of the last part of the lap, is better for MotoGP. So I'm happy."

Jorge Lorenzo
"Honestly I think every rider is very happy with the asphalt because it offer much more grip. We are more than one-second under the record. There are no bumps, there is a lot of grip in the corners. Just in some hard braking the Formula One cars create a kind of [bumps] on braking and when we cross this the front closes. We spoke with Loris and Franco and they will clean this [bumps] to improve the grip for the motorbikes. Apart form that in the last two corners there is a kind of change of asphalt, that creates some little bumps and the bike is moving. Let's see if we can clean up these little bumps. Apart from that we are all very happy the tarmac."

Cal Crutchlow
"First of all we think they've done a very good here in Barcelona. It's always a pleasure to come and ride at this track and now with the resurfacing it's got rid of all the bumps very well. The only real bump is into the last corner a little bit. The grip of the asphalt is good as you can see from the lap times. We just know the match of the tyres with the grip of the circuit. It seems a bit slippery in some areas but it just needs time and the more we ride the cleaner it will get. They did a good job and now we have to work with the team and Michelin to give them information for the race."

Maverick Viñales ended Wednesday's outing with the quickest time, ahead of Zarco, Jorge Lorenzo, Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi. 

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