Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
MotoGP Official News, LOSAIL Official Test
Repsol Honda Team commence final pre-season test in Qatar
On day-1 of the final MotoGP pre-season test the track opened at 4:00 p.m. local time, but most riders waited until sunset to get started, so as to find similar conditions to the race weekend. Marquez headed out at half past five, Pedrosa a couple of hours later and they ended their work with one hour to go in the session, when temperatures began dropping fast and the tarmac got greasier from the humidity.
Both Marc and Dani struggled more than expected to find a good setup for the Losail track and, together with their crews, have planned some major setup changes for tomorrow. Marc aims to improve his RC213v in turning and corner exit. Both riders will mainly work on their chassis setting aiming to achieve better corner speed.
Their best lap times for the day were 1’56.523 on lap 29 of 45 for Marc and 1’56.910 on lap 26 of 27 for Dani. Testing will continue for two more days.
“We knew before coming to Qatar that this circuit is one of the toughest on the calendar for us, and this year we are finding things a bit tough on the kind of corners that you encounter here. We are far from where we’d like to be, but the positive thing is that this is still only testing. Even though in Australia things went very well, here we have the opportunity to try many different things. In the remaining days, we will try some more things out to understand which direction we need to go to improve. We have been working a little on everything and where I feel best is when braking and entering the corners. We have work to do on cornering and on corner exits, because that is where we are losing a lot of time and at a circuit like this it makes it very hard on the straights.”
“The first day in Qatar is always a bit tricky because the track is not very clean, so we started a little later today and I didn’t put in many laps. We’ve been testing calmly in order to see the feeling we have and start working with the bike, but we struggled a bit. We got some ideas about what to test tomorrow; we don’t know if it will be the solution to our issues, but we will make a bigger change to see if it helps us go faster. We’re struggling a bit, because we are not taking the corners as fast as we want.”