Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
MotoGP Official News, Qatar/Losail Official Test
MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP LANDS FIRST AT START OF LOSAIL TEST
After two previous Official Tests in Sepang and on Phillip Island last month, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were back on the Losail International Circuit today for the final three-day practice session before the start of the 2016 season on the 20th of March.
Losail (Qatar), 2nd March 2016
Today the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders flexed their muscles once more on their YZR-M1s as they worked through a number of test items ahead of the start of the 2016 FIM MotoGP World Championship.
After a successful but challenging test on Phillip Island, Lorenzo was looking forward to continuing working on the setting of his Yamaha in Qatar. Though the Losail International Circuit can be testy, with the cold night temperatures and sand on the track, Lorenzo wasn‘t shy to get busy and continued the progress he made during the pre-season. He soon took over the top spot in the rankings and went on to become the first rider to breach into the 1‘55s. The Spaniard continued to prove how well the YZR-M1 performs with the new Michelin tyres when he set a best lap of the day of 1‘55.452s and ended the day almost half a second ahead of all of his rivals.
Teammate Rossi was also eager to get back to work, but had to delay making his mark on the timesheets by a few minutes after he suffered a small crash in the morning. Luckily unharmed, he quickly returned back on the track. The Doctor soon got back up to speed and made the most of this first chance to test his bike under similar conditions to those expected for the upcoming race. He used the remaining time to set up his bike to his preference and climbed up to third place in the time sheets to wrap up the day with a best lap of 1‘55.894s, 0.442s behind his teammate.
I think we made a good start to the Qatar test, I have a good feeling especially with all tyres. We still need to improve the electronics, but to be one of the fastest ones on the first day is a good beginning. The feeling with the tyres is much better compared to Phillip Island, the weather is better and the combination of this track, the bike and Michelin is similar to Sepang. Let‘s see how the performance will develop tomorrow.
I started in a bad way, because after ten corners I crashed. I wasn‘t very fast, but maybe because I had too much angle the rear slid, but fortunately it was just a small slide at 70 km/h. It wasn‘t a big problem but to start like this wasn‘t fantastic… After the problem we jumped on the other bike and I‘m quite satisfied about today because, also here in Qatar, it looks like our bike is competitive. We can be strong and fast and this is the most important thing, because it’s already the third track where the Yamaha is competitive. We also started with a good base set-up, in fact I didn‘t work a lot on it. I felt good from the first moment and rode quite fast and I was able to consistently improve my lap times and in the end I‘m in the third position, so it was a good day. Today Jorge was very fast, he was faster, but like in Phillip Island me, Viñales and Jorge are the stronger riders. In Phillip Island there was also Marquez, here it looks like he was a bit slower than us today. I‘m happy to stay with the frontrunners and already lap in 1‘55s, a little bit faster compared to the test last year, so it‘s a good result. After the first two tests we decided to go with the bike that‘s more similar to last year and now we have two race bikes ready in the garage, so we‘re already in race-mode.
MASSIMO MEREGALLI – TEAM DIRECTOR
After the two outings in Sepang and on Phillip Island, it was time for us to tackle the final Official MotoGP Test in Qatar before the start of the season in just three weeks‘ time. The previous tests have provided us with a lot of valuable data, which our engineers have carefully analysed before coming here. Thanks to their hard work we have made steady progress with the optimisation of the use of the new Michelin tyres and this showed in today‘s results. This first day in Qatar was the first time this year when both riders had two of the same bikes available to them, so they were able to speed up their setting development. Apart from a small crash by Valentino at the start of the day everything else went well. Jorge and Vale made a strong start today, ending in the top three with good speed and pace. Both riders have a good feeling here with the Michelin tyres and they look very comfortable on their bikes. Tomorrow we will proceed with our testing programme; we will compare some new items and if the time and conditions allow us we will try to fit in a long run.