The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team took to the Losail International Circuit today for the final official preseason three-day test of 2015. Riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi continued to work on perfecting the set-up of their Yamaha YZR-M1s before the first race to be held at the same track in two weeks time.
The first day of testing started off slowly, with most of the teams opting to wait out the afternoon until the temperatures cooled, so conditions were closer to those of the traditional night race of Losail.
Jorge Lorenzo had a challenging start to the test, with a lack of grip on the slippery track slowing him down. Having waited until after 6pm local time before heading out, he rode a 1’57.351s lap and moved up to seventh place in the provisional session standings. He improved his times throughout the session and finished the day in sixth place on the timing sheets with a best time of 1’55.828s, +0.563s off the front.
Teammate Rossi also experienced some difficulties. An unlucky crash at turn eight on his third lap lost him one of his three sets of tyres for today’s session. Despite this misfortune, the uninjured nine-time World Champion soon got back on his way and rode his YZR-M1 to provisional tenth place with a lap of 1’57.557s. He later improved his time to seventh quickest with a 1’55.938s lap. The two remaining sets of tyres were not enough for him to take part in the time attack at the end of today’s session and as the pace of the field quickened he dropped one place, ending the day in eighth place, + 0.673 off the front.
Jorge Lorenzo - 6th / 1'55.828 / 43 laps
“It’s been very difficult to get onto the pace today. We don’t exactly know what happened, but it looks like we need much more grip on the rear when we enter the corners. I think we are still very far from our limit. The track is not very grippy, especially on the entry of the corners and also the curbs are very slippery and bumpy, so the track conditions are a bit strange compared to last year"
Valentino Rossi - 8th / 1'55.938 / 48 laps
At the end today it was not so bad. I had a quite good pace, we worked a little bit on the bike and we improved the setting. Unfortunately I had a crash at the beginning of the session. Fortunately I was not injured, but I did have one less tyre so I had to work the whole day with two sets and I was not able to do the time attack at the end. The feeling is quite good for the first day, the lap times are not so bad and it looks like this year’s battle will be very hard because all the bikes and the riders are very strong. Tomorrow we have to continue to work on the bike. We don’t have a lot of new things, but we’ll work on the balance and the setting and will try to improve the lap time.”
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“The plan today was to work on the settings for both Jorge and Vale and also to work on the braking to keep closing the gap to our competitors. Jorge worked hard with his crew from the beginning but was still looking for a comfortable pace and set up at the end of the session. Unfortunately Vale had a strange crash after just three laps going into turn eight and so we lost one set of tyres and some valuable time. Fortunately he was uninjured which is the most important thing. We are not completely satisfied at the end of today with our position but as always will work on solutions both tonight and in the morning to be ready to make improvements and step closer to the front.”
Tech3 duo continue preseason in the desert
Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Bradley Smith fought the dusty track conditions on the opening day of the final preseason test in Qatar to finish in ninth position as the start of the 2015 campaign draws closer. The young British rider jumped back on his Yamaha YZR-M1 and set 43 laps as he undertook a shake down and reconfirmed the setup options which he established in Sepang. Despite the track surface being sprinkled with dust at the beginning of the session, Smith got to work in the desert and produced a best time of 1’55.954 on his 41st lap. This result left him only four tenths of a second back from third and the British rider optimistically looks to make further steps forward tomorrow.
Meanwhile on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Pol Espargaro concluded the first day in 14th after posting a best time of 1’56.615, which he set on his 31st lap. As the sun set, Espargaro battled onwards and tirelessly ran a total figure of 50 laps, the joint highest number completed, whilst undertaking adjustments to his Yamaha YZR-M1. The young Spaniard will be back in the saddle tomorrow afternoon where he will intend to bridge the gap to the leading MotoGP riders as there are two additional days of testing left at the Losail International circuit in Qatar which is the scene of the opening race on the 29th of March.
Bradley Smith - 9th / 1'55.954 / 43 laps
“It’s very nice to be back at Qatar which is a track that I enjoy and I have had some good results at in the past. Overall, I am quite satisfied with my performance on the first day and to finish only four tenths from third is positive. We didn’t change the base setup which we were using in Sepang, aside from a few small modifications which were necessary, so we know we did a great job in Malaysia. Today I concentrated on undertaking long distance runs in order to prepare myself for race situations with the overall conclusion being positive. For sure, there is a bit of a gap to the front but the riders who were using a softer tyre obviously had an advantage because the grip level was low, as it always is on the first day at Qatar. However, this is likely to improve in the next two days and when this happens we will have more grip especially in the corners which is where our strengths are, so I feel confident about lowering my time further and moving up the field.”
Pol Espargaro - 14th / 1'56.615 / 50 laps
“It was a tricky start to the three day test in Qatar and to be honest, I didn’t feel as comfortable as I would have liked to as the conditions were strange and I wasn’t totally happy on the bike. The main issue was the front feeling as I didn’t have a lot of feedback from it. Because of this, I couldn’t feel how hard I was braking nor could I gauge the level. It was truly challenging but it could be because of the different compound of tyre that we used, which was not the same as last year. However, tomorrow we will try the other tyre option which is closer to what we used twelve months ago. There are still two days left, so we remain positive and I am sure we can make some steps forward.”
Track debut under the lights of Qatar for Athinà Forward Racing
A little less than a week after the official presentation of the team in Milan, Athinà Forward Racing made its debut in Doha in the first of three scheduled days of testing. The ongoing preseason test in Qatar is an opportunity for the team not only to reveal the new livery and sponsors, but also to try the new aerodynamics.
Overall it was a day of intense work for Stefan Bradl, who was not at his best due to some health issues, finishing 18th overall with a time of 1.57.156 while his teammate Loris Baz was 20th with a personal best of 1.57.376.
The German completed 26 laps on his Forward Yamaha bike, focusing his work mainly on the setup and the electronics. It was a different approach for Loris Baz, who was more keen on getting more familiar with the new bike and also on improving his pace on the long run.
Stefan Bradl - 18th / 1'57.146 / 16 laps
“Earlier this week I was not felling very good. I had stomach problems and I’m not 100% in shape. I though I was ok, but when I got on the bike I was really not feeling comfortable. I was forced to stop without being able to complete the program we had in mind. I hope to recover and to be able to make the most of the last two days of this test.”
Loris Baz - 20th / 1'57.376 / 40 laps
“It 's been a good day. The feeling is better than in Sepang II and this is a good starting point for this last three days of pre-season testing. I tried several new things today and I focused my work on the race pace. I’m glad of what we have achieved and I think tomorrow we will be able to significantly improve our lap.”
Test Results - Day One
1. Andrea Iannone (ITA), Ducati Team, 1'55.265
2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati Team, 1'55.363
3. Marc Marquez (SPA), Repsol Honda Team, 1'55.554
4. Aleix Espargaro (SPA), Team Suzuki Ecstar, 1'55.698
5. Dani Pedrosa (SPA), Repsol Honda Team, 1'55.813
6. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA), Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 1'55.828
7. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), CWM LCR Honda, 1'55.837
8. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 1'55.938
9. Bradley Smith (GBR), Monster Yamaha Tech3, 1'55.954
10. Scott Redding (GBR), Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, 1'56.112
14. Pol Espargaro (SPA), Monster Yamaha Tech3, 1'56.615
18. Stefan Bradl (GER), Athina Racing Team, 1'57.146
20. Loris Baz (FRA), Athina Racing Team, 1'57.376