No less than nine MotoGP riders, plus some Moto2, Moto3 and MotoE competitors, descended on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for a day of training on road bikes.

While the main purpose was some high-speed training ahead of the delayed start to Official MotoGP testing in Qatar next month, the outing - surely the world's fastest track day - also allowed riders to get a first taste of the revised Turn 10 ahead of this year's Catalan Grand Prix.

Headlining the MotoGP riders on track was reigning world champion Joan Mir (Suzuki), who was joined by team-mate Alex Rins plus Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), Jack Miller (Ducati), Pol Espargaro (Honda), Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati), Alex Marquez (LCR Honda), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia).

Aleix Espargaro is the only one that has ridden a MotoGP bike this year, in the form of a recent private test at Jerez, possible due to the Concession rules. The rest will throw a leg over their grand prix machines for the first time in 2021 at Losail on March 6.

"I feel great on the bike, I'm happy because I was able to do a lot of laps today and try the new corner, it was important to understand how to do it and find the correct line to have an idea when we come back in future with the MotoGP bike," said Mir, who recently announced that he will continue with the #36 rather than use the #1 plate.

"A productive day, I'm happy about that and I'm ready for Qatar. I'm preparing in the same way as before, training hard and trying to be healthy, working every day on what I want. To be a better rider, to be more complete. I'm happy about the preseason we're doing!"

Quartararo, who is moving from Petronas to the Factory Monster Yamaha team, revealed he hadn't been on a race track since the Portimao finale last November having caught Covid over the winter break

"Since Portimao I haven't been on a racetrack, so I was feeling good, everything was standard so it's quite easy to ride. I'm happy, just to get back the muscle on a road bike," he said.

"The turn [10] layout is quite different, but it feels good. It's between the old one and the F1 layout. I like it, and I'm happy to be back, one step closer to Qatar."

The Frenchman added that the five days of testing before Losail means he has no concerns about finding a bike set-up for the opening round, but the lack of any pre-season testing at other circuits means round three in Portimao could be tricky.

"For the first two races it will be fine after less days of testing, the problem will be when we arrive in Portimao which is a totally different track and was quite difficult last year with the M1," he said.

"For Qatar I'm not stressed, but it's more about Portimao to see how the bike is working and everything. Let's see but first of all we need to enjoy these moments, I'm happy to ride today and can't wait to be in Qatar for the first test!"

New factory Ducati rider Miller joked: "It's like an official test here!

"It's really nice to get out here, the Montmelo circuit is fantastic and to have similar like the old layout is fantastic at Turn 10, you can carry the speed a lot, the asphalt has a lot of grip so 10/10 job for them. It's great to be on track with all of these great riders again and super excited to do it all again in a couple of weeks in Qatar.

"I feel excited, Qatar has normally been a track I enjoy a lot although I haven't had the best of luck there. But I feel confident leading into the Grand Prix, lots of work to do in a short amount of time but I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Pol Espargaro, who recently took part in the Repsol Honda online launch activities, also enjoyed seeing many of his rivals again.

"It was cool, coming back from a long time... seeing rivals, Moto2 and Moto3 riders fighting each other!" he said. "It's nice to start feeling that racing spirit already before Qatar. All winters are long but this one has been especially long, waiting for that moment.

"I'm really looking forward to jumping on the bike to see what I can achieve where a lot of riders have struggled. I have the opportunity to wear these colours and for me it's a big responsibility but a moment in my career I've dreamed a lot about. I feel like now is my time and I'm going to try and make it happen.

"This winter I've been pushing a lot on dirt bikes, motocross, I was flat out. For months, maybe a month and a half just riding the bike, and I really enjoy it. I've never ridden so much motocross.

"Every year I try and put in something different to be a better Pol and a better rider, and I think this year was the time to push with motocross more than other years and I've been training a lot."

All riders present also observed a minute of silence in honour of team boss Fausto Gresini, who passed away on Tuesday after a long Covid-related illness.

 

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