Fat Fairings, Fast Times and Crashing: Life at the Qatar MotoGP Test



These PR just in:





Team Suzuki Press Office – March 12.

Andrea Iannone – P13 – 1:55.284
Alex RINS – P15 – 1:55.362

The testing season has come to an end in Qatar, where Team SUZUKI ECSTAR completed preparation for the 2017 MotoGP World Championship. Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins were able to end the intense three-day session with a positive feeling, as the difficulties they encountered in Losail have finally given the engineers a clear direction to work on to improve the GSX-RR performances.

The final combined classification sees Iannone in 13th place with a best lap of 1:55.284, which is less than a second slower off the fastest pace. This is a positive result after the struggles he encountered in the three days; and it came at the very end of the third day, after the engineers had finally found some new solutions that proved to be effective.

The debutant, Alex Rins, is now eager to get to his very first MotoGP race weekend, as he completed an intense work schedule and established more of his forward progression along the three days. His feel for the bike still leaves some room for improvement from the engineers, as does his lap-time, but his consistency was good and so was his pace. For him, a final 15th place in the combined classification saw him set a best-lap of 1:55.362.

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“Every year the test in Qatar proves to be very difficult because the time to run is not very long and it is the very last chance we have before the season begins. So we always have many things to do. Finally, Alex made very good progress and he was able to complete the whole schedule of testing, trying many things and they went well. I look forward to the race for him. Honestly, Andrea struggled a lot in the first two days and also today he had some troubles in finding a good pace, but finally it looks like we found a way to go forward in the development. Unfortunately, there was no room to make a proper attack for time with this new setting, and this prevented him from improving on his best. But, the most important thing is to have found a direction to go towards. So, actually, I’m looking forward to the race with both of our riders.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“At the end we can say we finished this Qatar test with a smile, meaning that we worked very intensively in these three days trying to find a good set-up. Both Alex and Andrea, at the very end, finally got a good vibe. It looks like we could find some solution that allows Andrea to ride more relaxed and easy. Alex, as well, did a good job during the day; he improved more and more and he also made some good laps at a good pace. I’d say these have been three tough days, but it seems we found our way. Of course, it will need to be verified at the racing weekend, but at the moment I think we may have normalised the situation. Let’s see, now we will try to better-understand the information we got in the winter season and then we go for the Championship. For now, it´s enough with the testing. It’s time to get in the game and get serious. We will be here again in 10 days and we will take advantage of the free practice sessions to check if the intuition we had today will be effective. And then, let the season begin so we can see the real status of the art compared to all other competitors.”

Andrea Iannone – P13 – 1:55.284:

“Overall today it was a bit like the other two days – neither too happy, nor too sad. The most important thing is that after each day we learn a little more, we understand a little more. I have to say that today was the best day of all because we have been able to understand one important thing. At the end, in the last three laps we have improved a lot, riding at 1´55 and we have had a bolt of lightning that has helped us understand where we have to go. Having a pace of 1´55 is something we had not been able to achieve throughout the test so far, so at least I’m a little happier. We still have a bit of chattering, especially on Turn 6, where I can’t get in and slow down like I’d like, but we’ve improved and that’s what’s important. And above all, I have managed to find the confidence with the brake and I was able to brake better, something that could not do before.”

Alex Rins – P15 – 1:55.362:

“The truth is that I am very happy about how the three days of testing in Qatar have gone. When we had problems, we knew how to manage them and pull forward. The first two days we tried to evolve the bike and try to improve with the race-pace. But, it was the third day that allowed us to take a step forward, not only for a lap, but the race-pace. We are quite satisfied with the performance. For the race, we have to work a little more but at least we already know which path we have to take. The pre-season in general has gone quite well despite the crash in Valencia. I was able to get the pace and adapt well to the bike. The truth is that the team also helped me a lot to adapt quickly. I would have liked to do the test that we missed in Jerez, but with more kilometres we will adapt even more to the bike.”

QATAR TEST – Combined classification after Day 3:

1. Maverick VIÑALES, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1:54.330 in session 3
2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – 1:54.401 +0.071 in session 3
3. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – 1:54.469 +0.139 in session 3
4. Jorge LORENZO, Ducati Team – 1:54.519 +0.189 in session 3
5. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 1:54.714 +0.384 in session 3
6. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1:54.732 +0.402 in session 2
7. Scott REDDING, Octo Pramac Racing – 1:54.750 +0.420 in session 3
8. Jonas FOLGER, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1:54.807 +0.477 in session 3
9. Cal CRUTCHLOW, LCR Honda – 1:54.821 +0.491 in session 3
10. Johann ZARCO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1:54.900 +0.570 in session 3
11. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 1:54.990 +0.660 in session 3
12. Aleix ESPARGARO, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 1:55.121 +0.791 in session 2
13. Andrea IANNONE, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1:55.284 +0.954 in session 3
14. Karel ABRAHAM, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 1:55.333 +1.003 in session 3
15. Alex RINS, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1:55.362 +1.032 in session 3
16. Jack MILLER, Marc VDS Racing Team – 1:55.455 +1.125 in session 3
17. Loris BAZ, Reale Avintia Racing – 1:55.539 +1.209 in session 3
18. Danilo PETRUCCI, Octo Pramac Racing – 1:55.556 +1.226 in session 3
19. Sam LOWES, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 1:56.167 +1.837 in session 3
20. Tito RABAT, EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1:56.214 +1.884 in session 2
21. Bradley SMITH, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1:56.351 +2.021 in session 3
22. Pol ESPARGARO, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1:56.471 +2.141 in session 3
23. Mika KALLIO, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1:56.891 +2.561 in session 3



Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo conclude third and final day of pre-season MotoGP testing in Qatar in second and fourth place respectively

Andrea Dovizioso finished the third and final day of testing at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar in second place. The Ducati Team’s Italian rider recorded his best time of 1’54.401 on the twenty-seventh of the 43 laps he completed today and was classified second overall in the three-day aggregate standings.

Fourth place today went to Jorge Lorenzo, with a time of 1’54.519 which he set on the twenty-ninth of his 53 laps. The rider from Mallorca, who was fourth overall in the three-day standings, also did a few laps of testing with the new front fairing tried briefly yesterday by his team-mate.

The MotoGP riders will be back on track at Losail for the opening round of the 2017 World Championship season on Thursday 23rd March in the first free practice session of the Grand Prix of Qatar.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – today 43 laps – 1’54.401 (2nd)
“These three days of testing at Losail have been very interesting because every day we found different track and grip conditions which were very useful in preparation for the race at the end of the month. We went strongly but I am not entirely satisfied with my race pace, which despite being good, is not enough yet because Vinales was really quick. In any case we got through a lot of work and we confirmed a lot of things, so I am confident for the first round of the season.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – today 53 laps – 1’54.519 (4th)
“Today was a much more positive day than the first two. In general things went very well and I achieved my best position in the three official 2017 tests. We upped the pace quite a lot and I also managed to set some good times, but we still have to work on the race pace and, with the GP in mind, also decide which tyres to use. We still have a lot of work to do, but on this track I think we can score a good result and so I’m leaving Qatar optimistic about the first race.”




Today Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi completed the third and final day of the 2017 pre-season test. The Factory Yamaha duo were able to enjoy a good amount of track time and concluded the test in first and sixth place respectively in the overall standings.

Losail, Qatar – 12th March 2017


1’54.330 / 33/60 LAPS

1’55.185 / 40/54 LAPS

Losail (Qatar), 12th March 2017

Today the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team successfully completed the MotoGP Official Test in Qatar. Continuing their strategy to wait for sunset before revving up their engines, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi spent the day perfecting their racing set-up, setting the first and eleventh fastest time of the day respectively.

Viñales used today‘s outings on the Losail International Circuit to their full capacity. He opted to continue fine-tuning his bike, looking for the optimum balance on the YZR-M1 to increase his margin over the rest of the MotoGP field.

As the session progressed, so did the Spaniard’s efforts. He once again proved his status as the man to beat, when he set a 1‘54.330s just before the end of the fourth hour. This hot lap remained unchallenged for the rest of the session. Viñales proceeded with a long run to wrap up the test with vital information on fuel consumption and tyre degradation, bringing his tally for today up to 60 laps. He finished the day in first place, 0.071s ahead of his closest rival in both today‘s and the combined results.

Rossi had a more challenging time as he struggled to find the same feeling he had yesterday. The Italian had a productive day, determined to shape up for the MotoGP season, putting in 54 laps in total.

Around halfway through the session he set his fastest time of the day, a 1’55.185s. Unable to further improve on his time as the temperatures went down, the Italian settled for eleventh position in today‘s results, 0.855s from his teammate. However, Rossi ended up in sixth place in the combined standings, thanks to the 1‘54.732s lap that he set yesterday.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will return to the Losail circuit in two weeks’ time to officially kick off the 2017 MotoGP World Championship.


This test has been crucial for us in order to prepare for the first round of the season and all in all we are satisfied. After the very positive results yesterday, we resumed our work on the bikes’ set-up today, mainly focusing on race simulations. We finalised our testing programme by making some final adjustments to the settings as Maverick completed a very strong longer run, while Vale had to cut his run short. Maverick kept up his fast lap times over the last three days, during both the time attacks and the race simulation, and this gives us great confidence for the first race. After yesterday‘s good performance, Valentino encountered some problems with his bike‘s set-up today. His engineers will draw a comparison between yesterday and today‘s endeavours to find out what amendments to the setting did and didn‘t work. Having concluded this last test, we feel eager to start the season in two weeks’ time.


I‘m really happy, we made another step with the bike and I feel comfortable, even on the race pace we are quite happy. I feel that we can still better the electronics and gain a couple of tenths, so we have a margin to improve. For sure we‘re not on the bike‘s limit, so we can still push a little bit more. If we do the same in the first GP as we did in the test, we can fight for the victory. We have a really good package and I feel good on the bike. I have a great fitness now, so I feel comfortable.


Today was more difficult compared to yesterday. We started with the same bike to continue our programme, but unfortunately I didn’t have the same feeling and the same speed. It looks like the condition of the track changed a bit and we were unable to improve. I didn’t have the same feeling as yesterday and I was a bit slower. We put in a lot of effort to go a bit slower. I think we are still not ready, we don’t understand 100% how to make the bike work at the maximum. We are a bit worried because at the end except for some good laps the winter tests were very difficult. So now we have to speak together and try to be stronger for the first race. I hope to be faster and more competitive.


Marc VDS

Miller and Rabat ready to race as preseason testing concludes in Qatar

Jack Miller and Tito Rabat today successfully completed their preseason test program at the Losail International Circuit The next time the two Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders take to the track will be for free practice ahead of the Grand Prix of Qatar, the opening round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship.

The main focus for Miller on the third and final day of testing in Qatar was to complete a full race simulation using the latest specification Honda engine. The 22-year-old Australian showed good pace throughout the 21-lap run with all but three of the laps within the 1’56s bracket.

With the race simulation completed Miller then switched his attention to a fast lap, having gone with the softest of the tyre options provided by Michelin in his Honda RC213V. A time of 1’55.455 – his fastest lap of the test – on his second run saw him move up to the order to finish 16th on combined times.

Still recovering from the injuries sustained in his Sepang testing crash, Rabat’s physical condition wasn’t sufficient for him to complete a race simulation today. Instead the Team Estrella Galicia rider continued the work started yesterday on improving turning and acceleration from mid-corner to exit.

Despite not being fully recovered from the Sepang crash, Rabat’s time of 1’56.214 set yesterday was enough to see him finish the three days inside the top 20. The former Moto2 World Champion will now focus on improving his physical condition ahead of the race.

Jack Miller: 16th – 1’55.455
“It’s been another good day here in Qatar, I felt really comfortable on the bike and we got a lot of work done. I’m pretty happy with my consistency over the long run and the pace was strong, so when we return for the race we just need to continue working in the same direction. It was nice to get the lap time in at the end; it wasn’t quite as fast as I’d have liked it to have been, we just didn’t put it all together, but it means I have something up my sleeve for when we come back here in nine days time to race. I can’t wait to get into it now!”

Tito Rabat: 20th – 1’56.214
“I wasn’t expecting to feel as good as I have done on the bike when I arrived here in Qatar because of the injuries, but it’s been much better than I could have hoped for. This morning it was a bit difficult, but things improved this afternoon and I started to feel more comfortable on the bike again. Most of the day was spent on the race tyres and I’m happy to have got down to a 1’56 on a set of tyres that had done race distance this afternoon. This was more important for me than a one-off fast lap at this test, but a fast qualifying lap on the soft tyre is something we definitely need to think about when we return here to race, because I was unable to take profit from the soft tyres today. But, overall, I’m happy with what has been a very positive test and now I’m looking forward to the race.”


Repsol Honda

Repsol Honda conclude final pre-season test in Qatar
The 2017 MotoGP pre-season came to an end today with the third and final night of testing in Qatar. The timesheets saw Dani Pedrosa ending in third place (1’54.469” on lap 46 of 50), with teammate Marc Marquez 10th (1’54.990” on lap 12 of 47).

Both of the Repsol Honda men spent a productive night completing their testing plans, which included electronics, aerodynamics and refinement of general race setup, with the focus on keeping a good race pace. Dani continued until almost the end of the session, further improving his lap time at the end.

Marc fell once very early in the session and twice after 9 p.m. with no consequences, but he had to abort his race simulation on his sixth lap in the mid-1’55” range.

Action will resume at the same track on Thursday, 23 March, with FP1 for the Grand Prix of Qatar, the opening race of the 2017 MotoGP Championship.

Dani Pedrosa
3RD  1’54.469
“I think today was a positive day in general. We had a few things to sort out from yesterday, and step-by-step we improved our feeling, the lap times and our rhythm in general. The improvement was general and even if we still have work to do, we gained confidence and this was a positive end to the pre-season. This track is not one of my favourites, but the team did a great job and things kept improving. We’re in better shape than last year and we’ll try to add this confidence to the motivation for the GP and to do our best at the first race.”

Dani Pedrosa
Marc Marquez
10TH  1’54.990
“I’m happy with the pace we were able to keep today but of course it hasn’t been the best test of the pre-season for us. I crashed three times, the first at the very beginning because the bike had a wobble at turn 4 and I braked late. Then later in the night I lost the front twice, and especially the last crash during my race simulation was my fault. But when you’re doing a long run you must try and push, otherwise you can’t understand where you really are. Anyway, better if this kind of thing happens now, during a test, and hopefully when we come here again for the race we’ll be able to manage things better. As I said, our rhythm is quite good; only Maverick [Viñales] is faster than everyone here, and if we were to race tomorrow I believe we should be able to fight for the podium.”

LCR Honda



PRESS RELEASE: 12 March 2017 | Qatar Test Day Three

LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow rounded off a satisfactory final test ahead of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship season with a busy final day at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. The completion of Sunday’s session marked the end of official preparation for the new term which gets underway at the same venue in two weeks’ time.

Crutchlow completed a total of 70 laps on day three, securing plenty of valuable time in the saddle of his RC213V ahead of the forthcoming campaign. He posted the eighth fastest time of the day, which saw him finish the test ninth in the combined standings – above reigning world champion Marc Marquez who ended in 11th place overall.

The impressive Maverick Vinales again topped the timesheets on Sunday, as he did during every session of the three days. However, with less than 1.3 seconds covering the top 18 riders in the final standings, 2017 promises to be a fascinating season in the premier class.

Cal Crutchlow – 8th
(1’54.821 – lap 64 of 70)

“Today was a positive day, we are happy with what we managed to get through. We worked well as a team again and completed the plan that we had set ourselves. We managed to do a 16-lap long run, unfortunately during that I made a small mistake with the buttons on the handlebar, but we were quite happy overall.
“The final lap time was not very good and I pushed for a lap time on the final lap, but I crashed as we had a malfunction with a part that we think was damaged yesterday. But this is racing and now we look forward to the first round which is very close and hopefully all the fans do too.”





The three days of tests on the Losail track have come to an end, the last tests before the Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing championship begins 26 March on the same track.

The new 2017 Aprilia RS-GP confirmed the growth trend seen in the first two tests at Sepang and Phillip Island. Aleix Espargarò got even closer to the leaders, particularly on the second day of testing when he finished in fifth place, just 66 hundredths from the leader. The Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Spaniard had what it took today to do even better, but two crashes slowed him down, especially the first which came as Aleix was doing his bests lap, already improved in T1 and his best partial yet in T2. The second crash even forced him to change bikes, removing any chance of lowering his time. Aleix, who also tested the new fairing Aprilia brought in two runs, focused on his race pace, confirming the good feelings he has had since the 2017 bike’s début even in this situation. This means that his best time is still 1’55.121, done on Saturday, which earns him twelfth place in the three-day standings.

Sam Lowes, on the other hand, continued his progress with a time of 1’56.167. Also slowed by two crashes today, he finished the tests having done better than the day before. Yet another encouraging sign along the English rider’s path to his MotoGP début.

“Even if today was not the best of the three days, I am still happy with our work. At the beginning I started with a good feeling, managing to be fast even on used tyres. Maybe it was partially because of these good sensations that I pushed a bit too hard with the soft tyre, crashing while I was doing a good lap. The bike was repaired quickly, but a second crash forced me to use the other RS-GP with a less advanced engine and electronics that were not perfectly dialled in. For this reason I was unable to improve in the second part of the session, but I see the glass as half full. We have improved our pace and our level is definitely better than our standings on the time sheets show.”
“It may seem strange, but just at the end of this last day, when I crashed, we found the right setup for the 2017 RS-GP to increase my confidence. We had some particular tests. We have a lot of things to try and sometimes that keeps us from focusing on pure performance. This is all part of my growth. Right now my sensations in the saddle are more important than lap times and I learned a lot even from the less positive situations. I am optimistic about the race. The work we did on the front of the bike gave me the confidence I was lacking and now the points zone, which is the goal I’ve set for the first race, appears to be well without our reach. We’ll set up our first weekend based on what we found today – a nice starting base.”
“We are finishing the tests well aware that we have a bike with very good chassis architecture, with excellent capacity going into corners, turning and grip when leaned over. We need to improve the traction when the bike is almost upright and engine performance that has improved but which, on tracks like this one, counts for a lot. We confirmed the progress our project is making here. Today Aleix was held up by two crashes but he had the potential to lap in the mid to high 54 range and to keep up with the leaders. He was fast on a track that is certainly not our favourite and he was efficient in terms of race pace, since he showed that he can lap easily at mid to high 55. Sam also did very well, despite the fact that he fell a couple of times too. He improved consistently over the three days, showing that he has the potential to do well. Now we have two weeks to finalize our work and turn up at the first race with goals that are within reach for us, well aware that we have room to improve throughout the season.”
“I am very satisfied with these tests. We showed that we have good potential. There is definitely still work to be done, but we are not far off. From the end of 2016 to now, we have taken tangible steps forward and that is a sign that the development over the winter break was important. We also need to consider the way our competitors have improved, compared to whom we were still able to reduce the gap and this is very significant. At a crucial moment for our project, everyone put forth their best effort, from Aprilia to the team. Now we are anxiously awaiting the first race where we will definitely be ready.”



Official MotoGP Test – Doha (Qatar) – Day 3

Superb time attack for Scott (6th place)
on the last testing day in Qatar
Petrux very fast in race simulation

The last winter test of the 2017 MotoGP season ended with extremely positive indications for Octo Pramac Racing. At the Losail international circuit in Doha, Qatar, Scott Redding sets the seventh time in the combined standings while Danilo Petrucci can be very satisfied with his race pace.

Scott has confirmed the steady progress achieved in the three-day testings. After a positive 20 laps long run, he managed to record a superb lap-time (1’54.750) which earns him sixth position in day-3 timesheet (seventh overall), two tenths behind the hypothetical front row.

Petrux has continued the development work on his Ducati Desmosedici GP and despite some problems encountered during the session, he managed to keep a very high pace during his race simulation, lapping consistently around 1’55.6. A crash without consequences in the final phase of the long run did not then allowed him to go out on track again for the time attack.

6th – Scott Redding – 1’54.750

“I’m very happy with how things went in these three days in Qatar following the difficulties encountered in Malaysia and Australia. We did a great job in particular by improving the feeling with the front end. There is still something to do, but the direction is the right one and I’m very confident for the race. We have made progress day by day. And I have the feeling that I could do even better on the time attack. At the same time I am also pleased with the pace that I can still improve.”.

18th – Danilo Petrucci – 1’55.556

“It was a quite complicated test. We had so many new things to try even today. The problem is that I have not spent enough time on track. As a result it was difficult to find the pace but in the race simulation I went very well and this gives me great confidence. Of course I should be able to do better with the new tire, but that does not matter if we think of the race distance. I go home with a good feeling and I’m looking forward to returning in Qatar in a week to focus only on performances.”.


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