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Aspar Drive M7
DRIVE M7 ASPAR TEAM CONTINUE PRESEASON PREPARATIONS IN QATAR
Nicky Hayden completes satisfactory race simulation as Hiroshi Aoyama finds set-up improvements
The Losail International Circuit in Doha was lit up again tonight as a host of MotoGP teams continued to put the finishing touches to their preseason preparations. With just two weeks remaining before the start of the new season at the same venue, the track was a hive of activity as the riders found improved grips and conditions compared to last night. Alvaro Bautista was the fastest man of the night, although after only two riders managed to break into the 1'55s last night, five riders made that benchmark tonight.
The DRIVE M7 Aspar Team continued working intensely to close the gap to the top before the start of the season, with both Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama taking considerable chunks off their best lap times from last night. The American found six tenths as he also completed a race simulation in the low 1'57s, whilst the Japanese worked on the weight distribution of his bike and improved his lap time by nine tenths.
9th Nicky Hayden 1.56.923 (63 laps):
"Today we worked on improving our consistency. We had done a few long runs but not full race distance so we did a simulation and the bike and tyres worked well. Obviously we'd like to be quicker but our pace was decent and consistent from the first lap to the last. Hopefully we can improve our speed tomorrow. We have worked with the hard rear tyre and set some pretty good lap times with it. We are still in ninth place so we clearly have plenty of room to improve and we'll be working hard on that tomorrow."
11th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.57.281 (55 laps):
"Yesterday we struggled for feel in corner exit so today the main objective was to get the bike turning better and after trying a bunch of different settings we found some improvements at the end of the evening. We still need to improve more in this area but all the data we gathered tonight will be useful as we continue to learn more about this bike and how best to set it up for this track, which is important especially considering that the first race of the season is here in two weeks. We'll keep working along the same lines tomorrow."
BRADL PRODUCES 2nd LAP TIME AT QATAR TEST ON DAY TWO
Losail, 8 March: the second evening of MotoGP floodlit test at Losail circuit ended with LCR Honda MotoGP rider Stefan Bradl in 2nd position on the timesheets with a 1'55.508 best lap time. After yesterday's first outing on the desert track, Bradl looked to adapt his RC213V to optimal Qatar configuration circulating the track 51 times but he is still struggling to make the most of his machine on new tyres. The German and the rest of the field will reunite tomorrow night for the last testing session.
Stefan: "I am happy with how today went (P2 is a positive result) but there's still a weak point to adjust. In fact, despite our efforts, we could not get the perfect solution for the rear grip problems of yesterday. i am still struggling on maximum leaning and I miss some drive out of the corners. it's a bit frustrating for me but seems a common problem amongst the riders here. The team is already at work for tomorrow so I am confident to be able to make further improvements".
Another determined ride for Tech3 duo at Qatar on day 2
Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro continued their relentless work today at the Losail Circuit, Qatar, on the second day of the last pre-season test. Both riders completed a vast quantity of laps in their preparation for the season's opening MotoGP race on the 23rd of March.
The weather conditions were once again perfect. The track's grip levels were not ideal at the beginning of the day and were initially worse than yesterday, but as the day progressed, the traction improved. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team and Bradley Smith continued to experiment with slight changes to the geometry of his Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike. The young British rider's tireless work over the previous tests at Sepang has brought him a setup which he is content and confident with. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider was pleased with the bikes performance on used tyres and therefore with the race set up and will now aim to work on the qualifying setup .Today, Smith completed 62 laps and finished the session in 4th place, with a best time of 1:55.627.
Reigning Moto2 World Champion, Pol Espargaro completed another focused day of testing at the Losail circuit as his confidence continues to grow. The young Spaniard undertook a race simulation today to prepare him for the start of his inaugural and forthcoming, MotoGP season. This simulation was the first one he had completed, which included the warm up lap, start and full distance in order to analyse fuel consumption and to also assess his physical condition. He amassed a monumental 66 laps in total, today at the Losail Circuit, more than any other MotoGP rider. Espargaro completed the session in 5th place, with a best time of 1:55.876.
The final testing session begins tomorrow at 16:00 until 23:00 at the Losail Circuit, Qatar (local time - GMT +3).
Bradley Smith - 1:55.627 - 4th:
"Today we worked mainly on the rear end of the bike, and just tried to improve on the overall best lap which we definitely found a direction with. I am quite excited for tomorrow as we have several ideas which we will run through, and I still believe there is more that we can improve with race pace, even though it is already really good. If we can start to do some mid and low 55's, that would be great and is really where we expect to be. We found that we wanted to continue and improve on the new tyres as well as the old ones and I am happy with how the bike performs on either tyre at this stage, so that is really positive for the race. We'll then work a bit on the qualifying setup and then finally a race simulation".
Pol Espargaro - 1:55.876 - 5th:
"I'm pleased that I got my first ever MotoGP race simulation under my belt today, even if I was a little bit tired at the end of the run, but I am satisfied with performance of the bike. Of course we still have a margin to improve. It was tricky to ride with the used tyre, and we are still working towards this. When the grip fades slightly, it becomes a bit harder especially with the traction control, so I must learn how to deal with it, but I suppose it's all about experience. Moreover it is always different to do a race distance without any pressure and no riders in front or behind me. That makes it really hard to keep the concentration, but we did it so and it gives us a good reference point also regarding the fuel consumption. We have to keep an eye on this, and that makes me happy for today. For tomorrow there are still things to test. For example, I want to try and push for a fast lap, which we haven't done yet. We tried this at the beginning of the session, but due to the conditions we could not improve as much as we wanted but it wasn't the main aim of today.
Another step forward for Scott in Qatar
Scott Redding made another significant step forward during the second day of testing in Qatar, improving his lap time by a massive 0.7s and halving the gap to the leading open class Honda of former MotoGP World Champion, Nicky Hayden.
Scott and his crew focussed their efforts on the front end of the bike today, improving braking stability and increasing the Briton's confidence on corner entry. The 21-year-old MotoGP rookie ended this evening's test tenth on the timesheet with a time of 1'57.154, just 0.2s off Hayden's best time on an almost identical Honda RCV1000R.
Scott will take to the track for the final evening of testing tomorrow, before returning to Qatar to make his MotoGP race debut in two weeks time.
Scott Redding // 1'57.154 // 47 Laps
"Today the feeling with the bike was better than yesterday. We worked a lot on the front, giving me more confidence when turning the bike and improving braking stability. This has helped me to be more consistent with my lap times. Tomorrow we will try a race simulation, to see how the tyre works over full race distance and to assess the difference in how the bike behaves as the fuel load decreases. Over the course of the winter tests we've managed to close the gap to Nicky Hayden, now I want to see if I can keep the same consistency as him over race distance."
Satisfying second day
Andrea Iannone - Pramac Racing
"Today went well, we improved our lap by lap constance and also improved our best lap time, even if it wasn't our goal today. I'm satisfied with the work we are doing, but we still need to understand some things. Tomorrow we will continue to look for solutions that can help us improve. I thank Ducati and all the people that work with me."
Yonny Hernandez - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing
"I'm satisfied with the work done today, i was able to improve a little my best lap time compared to yesterday. I want to work step by step to find the right set-up. Today I crashed but I'm fine. our program for tomorrow is to continue working on tire life and work on the front geometry hope to improve some more.