These just in from Doha:
Andrea Dovizioso sets the pace on the opening day of MotoGP testing in Qatar, with Jorge Lorenzo not far off in fifth at the Losail circuit
Andrea Dovizioso wrapped up the first day of the final MotoGP pre-season test session taking place from today until Sunday at the Losail International Circuit at the top of the timesheets. The Ducati Team’s Italian rider was the only man to get under the 1m55s mark and he ended up by setting the quickest time of the day in 1’54.819 on his 26th lap.
Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo also put in a positive performance today, with the Spanish rider completing a total of 45 laps and setting a best time of 1’55.616 on lap 27.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 36 laps – 1’54.819 (1st)
“In this first day of testing at Losail I had a really good feeling with my Desmosedici GP, better than I had expected, and the sensations were positive just like in Malaysia. We tried several different types of interesting set-up, which gave us some important feedback. Today everyone was very quick, but in any case I was able to set my time quite easily. We know we still have to improve certain aspects, but to start the tests in this way helps us a lot for the work that we have to do in the next couple of days.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 46 laps – 1’55.616 (5th)
“This has been my best first day in all of the recent tests: right from the start we were always up with the leaders, and we were also quickest on the track before ending the day in fifth place. It’s important to see that my team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was also very quick, proving that the Ducati goes really strongly on this track and that also I have margin for improvement. I still don’t have a perfect feeling with my bike, but every time I go out I feel more and more at ease with it and this circuit is certainly favourable for us. Tomorrow we will continue to try out some other solutions, but the conclusions we reached after today were very positive.”
The start of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship edges ever closer, and Friday afternoon saw the LCR Honda Team join the rest of the field for the final pre-season testing session at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar – the venue for the curtain raiser in two weeks’ time.
It was yet another positive first evening of three for LCR’s lone challenger this year, Cal Crutchlow, as the Brit ended the night as third-fastest overall and the top Honda runner. This was despite a few issues in the system with both the team’s engines, which forced the 30-year-old to spend much of the evening in the pits.
With the track officially open for testing at 4pm in the afternoon, most riders waited until the sun went down and the floodlights took over before heading out, aiming to emulate the conditions they will find in two weeks’ time as closely as possible. However, with the extended pit time for Crutchlow and a greasy surface late on, the double race winner only completed 28 laps, but with an impressive best of 1’55.420.
Testing continues at Losail on Saturday and Sunday evening.
Cal Crutchlow – 3rd
(1’55.420 – lap 28 of 28)
“It was not an easy first day of work for us, because we never really got that much done after a small problem with both of our machines. It was more of a sensor calibration issue with the new engines, so nothing too serious, but it just meant we had to spend a lot of time in the garage. I only managed 28 laps, and we’re disappointed about that because we had a lot of work to do.”
“Overall however, I’m pleased, because Honda and my team have worked very hard together – all hands were on deck to fix the problem – and we managed to get back out there.”
“I stopped a little earlier than planned tonight because I saw a few people crash as the dew started to settle on the track surface, so I’m happy enough after the first day, but looking forward to fitting in lots of work tomorrow.”
Repsol Honda Team commence final test in Qatar
The final pre-season test of 2017 began this afternoon at Qatar’s Losail Circuit. The green lights went on at 4 p.m. local time, but Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa only took to the track after dusk, around 6 and 6:30 p.m. respectively, when conditions were more similar to what awaits in the race-weekend sessions.
The Repsol Honda men began going through their busy testing programs, working on setup, electronics and aerodynamics. Dani finished the day in 8th with his time of 1’55.692” on lap 21 of 38. Marc, who escaped unhurt from two small tumbles—in the final corner around 8 p.m. and in turn 2 less than an hour before the end of the session—completed a total of 39 laps, with his best time of 1’55.899” (on lap 16) placing him 12th overall.
Testing will continue for two more nights.
“As always, on the first day in Qatar you need to adapt to the situation because it’s the first time riding at night, compared to the previous tests, and the track is always a little bit dirty. This means that you need to take some time to understand the track conditions and adapt well. In addition, at the end it was quite difficult, because the track temperature went down and the humidity rose quickly; it wasn’t easy to see the moisture while on the bike, and we saw many crashes. It was best to stop early. Today we focused mainly on working on the rhythm, trying to set up the bike a little bit more for the pace. We need to keep improving and I think today we did part of the job, but we need to continue tomorrow.”
“We can’t say today was one of the best for us, but it’s only day one and we worked hard on trying many, many different things, including a new fairing that we want to test further. Some of them worked well, while others must be adjusted. I’m not very worried about the fast lap because our rhythm wasn’t bad, so I’m satisfied with it. I had two small crashes; the first one was my fault as I braked a bit too late, while the second was a classic at this track as it came almost at the end of the session when the temperature had dropped and conditions weren’t good anymore. Anyway, tomorrow is another day, and we’ll work more on the bike’s setup for this track and try to improve.”
Losail (Qatar), 10th March 2017
Today Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi got down to work on the first day of the MotoGP Official Test Losail, securing second and seventh place respectively. The pair completed multiple stints throughout the late afternoon and evening, in preparation for the first round of the 2017 MotoGP season to be held at the same circuit in just two weeks‘ time.
Viñales continued his strong pre-season campaign with high confidence. He got up to speed quickly on the YZR-M1, developing a good feeling early on, and went on to set a provisional fastest time of 1‘55.734s with three hours of the session left.
In between a total of 60 laps, he provided valuable feedback as he worked on the testing programme. Viñales focused primarily on tyre degradation, fuel consumption, both important points at the Losail Circuit, as well as finding a good race set-up. He posted a best lap of 1‘55.179s on lap 49, to clinch second in today‘s timesheets, 0.360s from first.
Teammate Rossi also had a productive evening under the Qatar floodlights. Having waited until after 6pm local time before heading out, he completed 48 laps in total, whilst working through an extensive range of setting options with varying weight distribution.
Though focused on improving the feeling of the front of his YZR-M1, he managed to consistently improve his times as well as the feeling with his bike. He was able to set a best time of 1‘55.679s and took seventh position in the standings, +0.860s from the front.
Tomorrow the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back on track from 16:00 – 23:00 local track time.
We went into the first day of the Qatar test with great motivation. The first session at the Losail circuit is always a little bit more difficult because there is a lot of sand on the track and not a lot of rubber. Nevertheless, the team worked hard to complete the first items of our testing programme. The main goal for today was to get the riders to feel comfortable. Maverick‘s side of the garage mainly focused on finding a good set-up for the race weekend and they managed to improve on every run. He had a good speed and pace on a used tyre, which was satisfactory. Vale‘s side mainly worked on the items the engineers brought here to modify the weight distribution of the bike, focused on improving the front feeling. We will continue our testing schedule tomorrow.
I have a good feeling after the first day in Qatar. I felt good with the bike already from the first lap, I was fast and, you know, that‘s a good thing. We‘ve been to four different tracks and I feel good at each one. This means I adapted well to the bike and we improved a lot. All the time we are bettering the race pace and each first and last lap on the same tyre is quite similar, so I‘m happy and I‘m quite surprised that we improved on every run. We wanted to work a lot on the race pace, it‘s important here. In Qatar it matters a lot to have a good pace because the tyre drops quite a lot, especially on the left side. Tomorrow it‘s our plan to make the tyre life last longer and make the lap times more consistent, so we‘re going to work on that.
Today we worked on the feeling of the bike especially on the entry of the corner. We improved, but I‘m not very happy. We are not at 100%, because I didn‘t have enough feeling to push on the entry, but today wasn‘t so bad and we tried something quite interesting. We also had a bit of trouble with the front tyre life, the tyre is a bit too soft, so we have to work on the weight distribution. The condition of the track usually changes a lot here in Qatar, so we will try to continue our work tomorrow and try to make things better.
Karel Abraham amongst the early pacesetters in Qatar
Pull&Bear Aspar Team rider fourth on first day as team-mate Álvaro Bautista spends time comparing tests on two versions of Ducati GP16
Almost a month on from their last test in Australia the MotoGP riders were back on track tonight for the first of three evenings at the Losail circuit in Qatar, venue of the opening round of the 2017 season in just a couple of weeks. Just one second separated the top ten riders tonight, with a mere 1.3 seconds covering the top seventeen. The fastest of them was riding a Ducati, in the shape of Andrea Dovizioso, who topped the session with a lap of 1’54.818, more than three tenths of a second quicker than Maverick Viñales and half a second over third-placed Cal Crutchlow. Pull&Bear Aspar rider Karel Abraham was a stunning fourth place ahead of factory Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo and rookie Jonas Folger, who completed the top six. The last test of the 2017 MotoGP preseason continues tomorrow night.
Pull&Bear Aspar Team rider Karel Abraham was the fastest ‘Independent’ Ducati rider for virtually the whole of the second half of the session, finishing up just eight tenths shy of Dovizioso’s best. Abraham’s best effort of 1’55.613 was also the last of his 42 attempts, having spent the final stages of the session riding alone. Álvaro Bautista spent today comparing two versions of the Ducati GP16 he will ride this season, although he missed the opportunity to set a fast lap when track conditions were at their best. The Spaniard is confident that some more specific changes will help him give his best tomorrow, having finished tonight in sixteenth position, with a best effort of 1’56.116 after 43 laps.
4th Karel Abraham 1:55.613 (42 laps): “Today in the beginning it looked like it would be a very hard day because the track was very dirty and very slippery. We did three exits and it didn’t get better. But afterwards as all the riders went out everything got much better, we had one set of tyres completely destroyed so we put some new ones in and tried two new electronic settings for the throttle control. To be honest the first one was really bad and I still wasn’t happy with the second one. So we decided finally to come back to the original set-up and put a soft tyre in to chase a lap time. There was nobody out there so I had to push on my own and on my last lap I set my best time, which I was surprised by but I am confident now with the bike so I am happy with the work we have done and hopeful of making better lap times in the future.”
16th Álvaro Bautista 1:56,116 (43 laps): “Today we had two Ducati GP16s available to ride so we took the opportunity to test a lot of things on both. It was a day to try things, to recapture our rhythm and wrap up some work we had unfinished from other tests. We lost a little time at the end trying out some new software from Ducati, which meant we couldn’t use a new tyre because the track conditions were no longer optimum. Tomorrow, when everything is in its place, we can work on the smaller details.”
Marc VDS Honda
Solid start for Miller and Rabat in Qatar
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat made a solid start to the third and final MotoGP preseason test at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar today.
Miller ended 14th on the timesheet with a time of 1’56.017, which put him just over a second off the fastest time of the opening day, set by Andrea Dovizioso.
Rabat, who was riding for the first time since sustaining injuries in a testing crash in Sepang at the beginning of February, ended the day 21st on the timesheet with a time of 1’57.455.
Both Team Estrella Galicia riders were testing today with the latest specification engine from Honda for the first time. Their initial impression was positive, but both felt that they needed more time to refine their respective set ups to better suit the characteristics of the revised engine.
Jack Miller: 14th – 1’56.017
“Today was like it always is the first day in Qatar; we spent most of the first session sweeping the track. Even so, every time I went out on the bike I felt faster and I ended the day with a quicker lap time than I’ve posted here before. But we still have room for improvement. I’m not completely happy with how the bike is working at the moment, but that’s a combination of the dirty track and getting a feel for the latest spec engine we’re using for the first time here. We made some steps today, but tomorrow we need to make even more. At the moment we’re getting a little chatter in some corners and the bike is a touch nervous, so it won’t always hold the line. At this track that’s crucial because if you go offline then you’re onto the really dirty part of the circuit, so that’s something we need to work on tomorrow. But, overall, a positive first day here in Qatar.”
Tito Rabat: 21st – 1’57.455
“After being off the bike so long the feeling at the beginning today was a little strange and it took some laps to get used to the speed again. But with more laps came more confidence and I was happy to prove I was fit enough to test the bike. There is some pain from the knee when changing direction through turns eight and nine, as well as through nine and ten, but it’s manageable. We kept the runs short, didn’t push for a fast lap and instead just focussed on finding a good feeling with the bike. Of course I’m not so happy with the position on the timesheet, but I’m happy to finish the first day on the bike with no issues and, more importantly, no crashes. Tomorrow we will continue in the same way, to build the confidence and to push without crashing.”
Official MotoGP Test – Doha (Qatar) – Day 1
Petrux 11th and Scott 15th at the end of the first day of #QatarTest at Losail Circuit
The last official IRTA test got underway today at the Losail circuit in Doha, Qatar, where on Sunday 26th March the 2017 MotoGP season will officially begin.
Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding finished the first testing day in 11th and 15th position respectively as focusing on the work of development and set-up.
Petrux’s team has been working hard to carry on the development of the Ducati Desmosedici GP 2017 as testing many technical solutions that will provide important information for the start of the season. Danilo exploited well his single long run of the day lapping fast and setting – with used tires – a good lap-time that allowed him finish 80 milliseconds from the Top 10.
Scott has also worked a lot on the set up of his Ducati Desmosedici GP 2016 and managed to find the right direction that will let him focus both on lap-time and race pace since the second testing day scheduled for tomorrow from 16.00 to 23.00 (local time) .
11th – Danilo Petrucci – 1’55.830 – 33 laps
“Today we worked hard managing to bring down the development program of the bike. We had to do so many things and we collected a lot of information. I’m happy becouse it means that tomorrow we can start focusing only on the bike set up. I am also pleased with how I lapped today. I had the chance to do only one run of 10 laps and I did my best time at the end with used tires. As of tomorrow, we have the chance to work on pace as well as single lap performance, and also introduce some more improvements”.
15th – Scott Redding – 1’56.085 – 37 laps
I’m much more satisfied than the previous tests where we had to face some issues. We struggled a lot in those tests trying to find the problem. At Phillip Island the start was not good while here I immediately felt the feeling and things got better lap by lap. We have not changed much, and when I put the new tire I was able to improve a lot my lap-time. As a result I’m happy. When the temperature has drop I no longer felt at ease and we preferred not to take unnecessary risks.
WARM-UP AND ADJUSTMENTS FOR TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR AT LOSAIL
Team Suzuki Press Office – March 10.
Andrea Iannone – 10th
Alex Rins – 18th
The third and final test before the MotoGP season kicks-off has just started at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar and under the floodlights of the track, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins took the opportunity to finalise details of their GSX-RRs in preparation for the first race here later this month.
Although the main specs of the machines had been decided in Australia (such as chassis and engine), much work is still to be done to finalise the set-up and the electronics. The team will also try new fairings in the next days to find some more information to work on.
Iannone took his first lap with the GSX-RR in the night environment, focusing on the finalisation of his machine. He suffered some difficulties in getting a good feel, especially with the front end, and will require more time and work by the engineers to see his usual performance. His best lap today was 1:55.751, which was the 10th of the class.
Rins took his usual step-by-step approach to start the preparation for the first race. His performance on the timesheet was not so positive (18th with 1:56.589), but his focus was to work on the machine set-up and to focus on his riding style and in improving his lines. He also incurred a crash, which is pretty typical for debutants at the Losail circuit, which luckily didn’t result in any injuries.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“With Andrea, we are working on some issues we are encountering. Some things we see can be improved and his feel is not yet at 100%. We should find some solutions or ideas to make the machine better in every aspect. Today was a very useful day as we collected a lot of data that will help us to find some solutions for tomorrow. Alex had a pretty standard first day, his lap-time can still be improved, but we will try to do the same as we did in previous tests where in the second and third day he improved consistently. Both of them incurred some crashes: Andrea’s were pretty innocuous, while Alex crashed at corner 2, which is a sort of price to be paid by all the newcomers to this track.”
Andrea Iannone – P10 – 1:55.75:
“In this first day we have focused on the settings. We are encountering new problems similar to chattering and we are trying to find some solutions. I also incurred a crash, with no injuries, just because I was trying to push it to the limit. I’m struggling to find the right feel with the front end. I do not feel completely confident in hard braking, and then when I get to the maximum leaning I feel the front sliding away and in fact this was the cause of the crash. However, I’m positive because my feeling is that the classification is not really reflective of our stage of development. I struggle on the single lap, but my pace is not that far from the top riders. Of course, we have to work on all aspects, to be performing both in the timed attack and in the pace, but for sure the first thing is the one we have to improve most.”
Alex Rins – P18 – 1:56.589:
“Finally, I’m pleased by how the day went. Honestly, this circuit is proving to be a little harder than I expected it to be, performing in the MotoGP class. Being in the dark of the night, it’s pretty complicated to find the right references for the braking points and the lines, but I’m learning lap-by-lap. I also incurred a little crash, but I feel good. I had no injuries, and I really look forward to tomorrow, to trying the new modifications and improvements we have in our plan and in trying to get a better and better performance.”
QATAR TEST – Classification after Day1:
1. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati Team – 1:54.819 – Lap 26 / 36
2. Maverick VIÑALES, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1:55.179 +0.360 – Lap 49 / 60
3. Cal CRUTCHLOW, LCR Honda – 1:55.420 +0.601 – Lap 28 / 28
4. Karel ABRAHAM, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 1:55.613 +0.794 – Lap 42 / 42
5. Jorge LORENZO, Ducati Team – 1:55.616 +0.797 – Lap 27 / 46
6. Jonas FOLGER, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1:55.640 +0.821 – Lap 27 / 37
7. Valentino ROSSI, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – 1:55.679 +0.860 – Lap 43 / 48
8. Dani PEDROSA, Repsol Honda Team – 1:55.692 +0.873 – Lap 21 / 38
9. Johann ZARCO, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 1:55.705 +0.886 – Lap 45 / 54
10. Andrea IANNONE, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1:55.751 +0.932 – Lap 30 / 41
11. Danilo PETRUCCI, Octo Pramac Racing – 1:55.830 +1.011 – Lap 33 / 41
12. Marc MARQUEZ, Repsol Honda Team – 1:55.899 +1.080 – Lap / 39
13. Aleix ESPARGARÓ, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 1:55.916 +1.097 – Lap 32 / 43
14. Jack MILLER, Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1:56.017 +1.198 – Lap 49 / 59
15. Scott REDDING, Octo Pramac Racing – 1:56.085 +1.266 – Lap 23 / 37
16. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Pull&Bear Aspar Team – 1:56.116 +1.297 – Lap 31 / 43
17. Loris BAZ, Reale Avintia Racing – 1:56.193 +1.374 – Lap 25 / 31
18. Alex RINS, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 1:56.589 +1.770 – Lap 41 / 48
19. Pol ESPARGARÓ, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1:56.665 +1.846 – Lap 44 / 46
20. Sal LOWES, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 1:57.090 +2.271 – Lap 24 / 38
21. Tito RABAT, Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 1:57.455 +2.636 – Lap 36 / 46
22. Mika KALLIO, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1:58.039 +3.220 – Lap 32 / 32
23. Bradley SMITH, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 1:58.755 +3.936 – Lap 35 / 46