2016 Qatar MotoGP Test Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the test at Qatar:


The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team concluded the final day of Official Testing at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar with strong results for both sides of the garage. Jorge Lorenzo let his consistency see him through and set the fastest time of the day, claiming top billing in the combined time sheets. Valentino Rossi also kept his key protagonist status elevated as he finished his pre-season campaign with a positive fifth place in today‘s ranking order, leaving him in the same position in the combined times.

Losail, Qatar - 4th March 2016

Today Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi completed the third and final day of the final Official MotoGP Test of the 2016 pre-season. In contrast to previous testing opportunities, over the last three days both riders were able to enjoy a good amount of dry track time and were able to work through a number of potential new items for the 2016 YZR-M1.

Lorenzo delivered his trademark top-level of focus from day one and never strayed far from the front. Today the Mallorcan hit the top of the running order once more when he dipped under the Circuit Record Lap of 1'55.153s with a 1‘54.810s lap and became the only rider to go under the 1‘55s over the entire three-day test. He went on to complete a long run this afternoon to wrap up the test in first place in the combined standings with a 0.516s margin over his closest rival.

Teammate Rossi continued his strong form during pre-season testing as he laid a final hand to the setting of his YZR-M1. After a small crash in turn ten, which left the Italian unhurt, he improved on his fastest time set on the first day by nearly half a second, posting a 1‘55.429s, and finished the day in fifth place just over 0.6s from teammate Lorenzo. Thanks to the progress he made today he also secured fifth position in the combined times, leaving him in a strong place to start the 2016 MotoGP season at the first round in Qatar from March 18th – 20th.


The last three days have been really important, so we are happy the whole test has been positive. Today we were able to finalize the settings before the race simulation and time attack, exactly in the way it was scheduled in our testing planning. Apart from Valentino‘s minor crash in turn ten everything went smoothly. Jorge‘s fastest lap and both riders‘ race simulation pace gives us a good boost in confidence for the first Grand Prix. Overall we are satisfied about the results and performance we displayed over the last three winter tests where we have been consistently fast. We are very content with these results and we feel ready for the start of the season in two week‘s time. Our target is to start the season in the same fashion we began the championship last year.

1:54.810 / 51 LAPS

It was a very positive day, because we improved our lap time a lot and we did a complete race simulation, that has been very good because I did a few laps in the 1‘55s even with not the best front tyre. With the softer one, with which you could be much faster, we had some graining. This tyre will probably not be available in the race weekend, because Michelin is planning to change its tyre allocation to one tyre that‘s a little bit harder and one that‘s not so hard as the one I used for the simulation. With the intermediate tyre on the front I could have been even faster, so I‘m happy with the fastest lap time and the simulation and we are ready to be competitive for the race.

1:55.429 / 55 LAPS

In the end I‘m quite happy. Unfortunately I had another crash in the same corner, but it was a small one and I was able with the team to try everything. In the last hour and a half we improved the setting and I had quite a strong pace and did a good time attack. The lap time is not so bad and more importantly I did a race simulation and I was strong. I think that it will be quite tough, because it seems that from the first test the other bikes improved a lot, but now we are there at their level. I think a lot of riders can be fast for the first Grand Prix, but we are competitive. The problem was that the track improved a lot day by day and the stress on the front tyre increased, so we had to move. Yesterday was not so bad, but today‘s was too soft. I think the last five laps of the race will be difficult for everybody, but the bike is good to ride, so we‘re able to keep a good pace.


Team Suzuki Press Office – March 4.

The floodlights went off on the Losail International Circuit in Qatar tonight as well as on official 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship testing, as Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales again proved himself one of the most effective riders in pre-season testing.

The third day in Qatar saw him constantly in the leading positions, finally resulting in third position overall with a best lap of 1’55.333. His performance is only 0.007s from second place and 0.523s from the first, but what’s impressive of his performance is not only the single lap-time but also his consistency throughout the whole tests, in Qatar and also in Australia, previously.

Viñales has registered consistent improvements since the early tests in Valencia, in November 2015, and despite a little slow-down in the IRTA test in Sepang in February, he then put his name – and his GSX-RR - on top since the first day in Australia, and never gave up. The improvements done in all areas of the machine proved to be effective according to his riding style and he managed the new Michelin tyres well.

Team-mate Aleix Espargaró has struggled and suffered a little. The experienced rider ended the third day in Qatar with a crash, which prevented him improving his lap-time from yesterday, resulting 15th in the final combined classification. His pre-season has been difficult, some crashes affected his physical condition and also struggled to find the proper confidence with his machine. Espargaró and his crew worked hard to find a settings that could suit the riding style of the Catalan, although the results are not yet completely satisfying.

His morale is, however, high as he realises the steps forward done by his GSX-RR are very important towards the beginning of the Championship, which begins at Qatar in two weeks’ time. Although the timesheets see him in middle part of the classification, in all the tests he did some very positive work towards the consistency and the pace, which hopefully will help him for the races.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR will now leave all the equipment in Qatar, as they will be back in less than ten days for the first race of the new season, the Grand Prix of Qatar, on March 20th.

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“Finally I’m very happy because both in Phillip Island and here in Losail, which are completely different tracks, both riders did a good job and reported very positive feelings. Maverick especially did good lap-time but was also very consistent, reporting good performance. Aleix, could get a good feeling and unfortunately when he went for the time attack he crashed, but didn’t have any major injuries, his feeling is positive and he improved a lot and better understands the new items we have introduced after the Winter development programme. I don’t see problems with Aleix and during these days we could test many, many items, we got very positive feedback and honestly I can’t wait to go racing in two weeks.”

Maverick Viñales:

“Overall I think we finished the winter test in a very good position and today was also a good day as I finished third. I was trying the time attack when they showed the red flag; this prevented me exploiting the new set of tyres at its best and further lower my lap time. It’s a pity because after the early runs we made some changes on the bike and I felt very confident. Anyway I’m happy because with used tyres I could keep a pace around 1’55-and-a-half, which is a pace that in race could lead to the podium. I am happy about the team, the work we have done, we all improved and also, so has the bike. Here in Qatar it wasn’t easy, the straight is long and our engine still has some room for improvement, but this makes me confident for the first race. In the last two runs I also tested the full seamless for the first time and this is another big improvement. I couldn’t try a time attack with it but my feeling is that it has a lot of potential, we need to work on it for the finalisation and I hope we can use it in the race. We have worked a lot this winter, the Suzuki Factory delivered us huge improvements and the results so far are positive. We look positively towards the race, where I hope I’ll be able to make even further steps forward.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“Needless to say that this winter pre-season has been very tough for me. I crashed so many times and this slowed down our development job. I still feel I lack in confidence with the front-end, as said I am a very aggressive rider and I like to turn the bike with the front in my hands; unfortunately we haven’t found the compromise that allows me to be confident in this and the result is that I crashed a lot. Anyhow, apart from the single-lap classification I must say that we are not in a bad position, the results don’t reflect the real potential we have and the job we have done on consistency will probably pay us back. The evolutions introduced by Suzuki are effective, we have a lot of room for improvements and the race will probably see me more competitive than what I could in tests.”

Repsol Honda Team conclude pre-season tests in Qatar

As had been the case for the last two evenings, the concluding session of the final pre-season MotoGP test got underway when the sun went down on the Losail track at around 6 pm. Marc Marquez preceded teammate Dani Pedrosa on track by half an hour.

Marc had just broken under the 1’56 barrier on his second run when he went down in the last corner, with no consequences. Upon re-joining the action, he immediately found a good rhythm, and when he carried out a 14-lap run, he was able to post some very consistent laps in the high 1’55 to low 1’56 bracket. He then set his best time of 1’55.402 on his 52nd and final lap.

Dani tried several setting modifications on his bike this evening but was unable to match his pace from yesterday, managing to post a 1’56.142 on lap 27 of 30.

The MotoGP field will next be in action at the 2016 season-opening night race, to be held at the same venue March 17-20.

Marc Marquez

1'55.402 52 Laps

"Honestly, I'm very happy today, because we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I went back to having a good feeling on the bike, and even though I crashed I know why it happened. We have improved a lot and I want to thank my team for the great work they have done, because they are working very hard; yesterday they finished at 3am, and they were back here at the circuit for 10am today. I am very happy because we have taken a step forward at a track where I have struggled before. We have made some big changes that have allowed me to start gaining confidence, riding at a good pace both behind Jorge [Lorenzo] and alone, even despite the dew on track at the end. It is still not enough, and we need to improve more, but after today I have much more confidence for the race. Yesterday I was worried about our level, because I had no pace or confidence, and today we have taken a big step forward, so I'm happy with the final result of the last preseason test. We have found out a lot of things that have allowed me to ride at a fairly good level."

Dani Pedrosa

1'56.142 30 Laps

“We had not many tyres left so we couldn’t do much testing today and I finish more early than usual. Unfortunately the conclusions are not entirely satisfactory. Over the three days we have tried to test a lot of things, but there are still some ideas that we want to apply the next time we are on track. With the data obtained in the last few tests, the technicians in Japan will work to try to make some changes ahead of the first Grand Prix. We'll see if they are favourable, and if we can get better performance for the race.”

IRTA testing wraps in Qatar with Iannone and Dovizioso sixth and eighth quickest on final day at Losail circuit

Three days of testing in preparation for the opening round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship, scheduled here for Sunday March 20th, have drawn to a close at the Losail circuit in Qatar.

The two Ducati Team riders were able to get through a lot of work today and continue setting up their Desmosedici GP machines in preparation for the race. Today Iannone completed 46 laps, the best of which in 1’55.535, and he finished the day in sixth place, 0.725s from Lorenzo. Dovizioso, who did one more lap than his team-mate, set a quickest time of 1’55.700 on his final exit, which took him to eighth place in the standings, 0.890s behind the leader.

In the combined three-day standings, the Ducati Team men were again classified sixth and eighth, with Iannone’s best time being the 1’55.508 he set yesterday.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – today 1’55.535 (6th)

“In the end these have been three days of positive tests and I am satisfied. We still have to understand a few things in view of the race, but I think that we have all the right cards to improve even more. For sure the data we picked up will be analyzed carefully in the next few days and I am confident that during the race weekend we can improve our competitive level even more. Today we didn’t do a time-attack and we didn’t use a soft rear tyre to set our time, but I’m not worried about my position in the standings because we were doing a different job. Even though the long-run didn’t go the way I expected, we have prepared well for the race and I am calm and confident about the start of the season.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – today 1’55.700 (8th)

“I am very pleased because we have made excellent progress in these nine days of pre-season testing. Today we also decided to test a softer front tyre in view of the race, and this created a few set-up problems, but in the end we managed to work well and improve my feeling with the bike in the final run. Overall these three days of testing in Qatar have been very productive and we have made big steps forward that make me feel very confident for the race weekend.”



Losail (Qatar), 4 March 2016 - Three days of tests on the Losail track in Qatar marked the official début of the 2016 Aprilia RS-GP 2016, the brand new bike that Aprilia Racing will use to compete in the top category of Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing which, right here on this track, will start on 20 March.

For the official Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl, these were very important days. On the one hand, they are getting to know a completely new bike. On the other hand, they must immediately solve the inevitable growing pains and make the right choices straight away to reach a solid technical base from which to develop and increase performance. Besides this, there are many technical details that, being put through their paces for the first time, need to be fine-tuned. The first MotoGP bike ever entirely designed and built by Aprilia, beginning with the 4-cylinder engine in the exclusive narrow V configuration, confirmed the good feelings it had already given the riders straight away: the bike's dynamic performance is decidedly better than the laboratory bike used last season. Acknowledged as “a real MotoGP bike”, the Italian machine has plenty of room for growth, improving with each outing and managing, in extremely tight standings, to put good times on the boards, considering the fact that this is its first real outing.

The three days of the latest IRTA tests, held at night prior to the racing début, had the 2016 RS-GP machines putting in a total of 210 laps (106 for Bautista, with a fastest time of 1’57.043 and 104 for Bradl with a time of 1’57.340), alternating, especially on the first two days, with frequent stops in pit lane required by the many modifications that naturally need to be made on a newborn bike on testing days.

ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)

“These three days, and particularly today, were really very important and positive for us. We did a lot of work, managing in the end to put in a good number of laps with both riders. This is what we need to grow a project that has just taken its first steps. I am quite satisfied with the consistency Alvaro achieved in the final outings with a used tyre, performance that makes me relatively optimistic for the maiden race. Maybe we were lacking a bit on the fast lap with both Alvaro and Stefan, but that definitely was not our objective. We are leaving Qatar with a lot of information that we will need to translate into action from now until the race, working night and day if necessary”.


“The results of the tests are definitely positive if we look at how we did - especially on this last day - without any miles under our belts, without experience on this bike. I like this project a lot and I like the very small engine. Aprilia Racing did a really great job and it is a huge step forward compared to last year's bike. This is a fledgling project and these are the first real miles that we've ridden, so it is clear that we'll need time to sort out a lot of small issues before we can begin to develop it to be able to really push”.


“Basically these were the first real three days with this bike since the private tests last week were used to sort out the bike and verify that everything was working properly. Now we are getting to know the bike, thanks in part to the many small changes that we have consistently made to see how it would react. Today I gained confidence and we were able to lap a lot and get a very positive feeling because the more laps I took the more I improved, becoming more and more comfortable with the bike. This is a very important aspect because we are still far from 100% and we have plenty of room for improvement. We are on the right path. The bike is lighter, it has better traction, it is more stable and it is a lot more nimble in direction changes. We need to continue on this path, even in the first races where we'll have the chance to continue working on comprehension and development”.


“The last day was really productive for us. I was able to put in a lot of laps without running into those small problems that often slow down work on a completely new bike. I also got in various sessions with a several laps in a row to prepare for the race weekend and everything worked rather well. We focused above all on the front end of the bike to improve the feeling, managing to find a few benefits, but unfortunately we didn't have the time to work on the rear, so we'll start from there during on race weekend. We are on the right path. Now we just need to stay calm and keep working this way”.

Stunning 2nd place for Scott in last testing day at Losail. Petrux's rehab goes fast

Last preseason test at the Losail circuit ends up with the extraordinary performance of Scott Redding who hits a fantastic second place with a fastest laptime of 1:55,326, behind an impressive Jorge Lorenzo, the only rider to go under the wall of 1:54 in the three nights of Doha.

Scott confirmed to be in great shape, making further progress after the first two days when he has always managed to lower its time.

After an initial phase of work on the set up, the pace of the Brit has grown steadily, and after lapping frequently in 1:55 he has placed the chrono that allows him to look with great confidence at the 2016 MotoGP season debut to be held on this circuit in less than two weeks.

Extremely positive news comes also from Italy, where Danilo Petrucci is continuing rehabilitation therapies in the right hand operated in Melbourne last week after the crash at Phillip Island. A brace will be applied on his hand to let him make movements for his recovering in sight of 2016 MotoGP debut in Qatar. He will undergo another check up in a few days time

2° - Scott Redding 1:55.326

I am really very happy. I wanted to push hard to see my potential. At the beginning we struggled a bit with the new tires but things improved after day. Today I was strong with the new tire but I set my best chrono on lap ten with a tire that had 15 laps already. And the race is not much longer. I am very happy, I feel that the confidence is coming. In these days we also had two bikes and this gave me the opportunity to push without having any worries. Qatar GP? When I say that my goal is the Top 6 someone starts to laugh. I'm proving to be able to stay at that level and I will try to do even better.


Cal Crutchlow and his LCR Honda Team completed their last test before the start of the MotoGP World Championship proper on Friday evening, with the final day of three taking place at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

Testing this year has been more important than in previous years due to the changes in regulations that include a new official tyre supplier in Michelin and a standard ECU software package across the whole field.

Despite a small tumble whilst completing a race simulation, the British rider still leaves Qatar in good spirits having made some decent progress in improving the front-end feeling from his factory spec Honda RC213V. Crutchlow set the seventh fastest time of the evening, and of the week, but knows there is still room for improvement before the season begins at the same Losail track in under two weeks’ time.

#35 Cal Crutchlow – 7th – 1’55.592

“Today was a better day, together with the team we worked well. The problem however was that we didn’t have enough tyres for the whole testing session, the same as a lot of the other riders. Unfortunately, that meant we were using some used tyres when we started to do our longer run and I had a front-end crash. The bike actually flipped over and landed on top of me, so I had to have some scans and check-ups afterwards.”

“I’m in a little bit of pain, but actually overall I’m happier today than the other days, that’s for sure. I hope we can continue to work this way for the race weekend here. I need to thank the team for these three days because yesterday I think all Honda riders were a bit stuck, but we’ve started to find our way a little more.”

“Now we’ll go away for a week’s training, before we come back here for the first race in two weeks’ time. I’m really looking forward to getting going.”

ASPAR Team riders complete their schedule at Losail

Friday, 04 March 2016 21:28

Yonny Hernández and Eugene Laverty improve feeling and build confidence going into 2016 season

After nine days of testing at three of the most exotic circuits in the world, the MotoGP World Championship preseason is over. The next time the riders meet on track will be in the opening free practice for the Grand Prix of Qatar at the start of a season that sees Yamaha looking like strong candidates for success. Their rider Jorge Lorenzo was again the fastest man on track today, the only rider capable of a 1'55 lap, although Ducati and Suzuki are also ready to perform after positive winters, in contrast to Honda. Young riders such as Viñales, Iannone (who already showed his worth last season), Petrucci and Redding have all shown signs of their intentions in 2016, with Honda seemingly on the back foot. The Japanese factory had problems at Sepang, looked to have turned things around at Phillip Island before issues resurfaced at Losail. The moment of truth is fast approaching, with the opening race of the season just a fortnight away.

Unfortunately the ASPAR Team riders have not been able to complete as many laps as they would have liked on the final day of the test here in Losail, due to the limited number of tyres that Michelin had available. Despite this setback both Yonny Hernández and Eugene Laverty have done a great job over the three days of the test, the Colombian finally enjoying a breakthrough with the electronic problems that have dogged him throughout preseason, edging him closer to the top of the order and inside the top ten. The Irishman didn't get the opportunity to turn his progress into a fast lap time but his renewed confidence after some major crashes during the winter mean he can also look forward to the start of the new season with optimism.

11º Yonny Hernández 1.55.894 (18 laps): “The last day of the test has been positive again, it has been a productive test for us and we have been able to find a solution to the problem we were having with the electronics. It was a shame we couldn't ride more today because there weren't enough tyres. We only did two runs today, one with some used tyres from yesterday and another with the only new set we had left. Even so we managed to improve our best lap time before the front started to fold on me and I came back in to find that it was a defective front tyre, so we had to stop. On one hand I am happy with the feeling we have found here but on the other I'm frustrated we didn't get to do some more laps on the good set-up we found. But our pace is strong, it has been a very positive session so overall we have to be satisfied. It is nice to be back in the fight for the top ten.”

20º Eugene Laverty 1.57.146 (47 laps): “We have to be positive because this is the first test we have completed without a major accident! I have got my confidence back and that's the most important thing going into the new season. I have built up my feeling with the bike at this test, I still had a strange feeling with the front but we did make some big progress in that area towards the end of the session today. Unfortunately at that point we didn't have the best tyres to run so I couldn't set a lap time but it does mean that we finish this test with a smile and we know we have made an important step before the race weekend.”

Tough Qatar test for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS

Losail, Qatar – 4 March 2016: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders, Tito Rabat and Jack Miller, both endured a difficult three days under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit, where they were participating in the final MotoGP preseason test of 2016.

Rabat’s Qatar test got off to the worst possible start, with his confidence taking a big knock following a crash on the opening day, which came with no warning. His feeling with the bike improved a little on the second day, rebuilding some of the confidence lost, but the problems returned on the third and final day, with Rabat crashing three times as he tried to improve his lap time. The MotoGP rookie left Qatar 17th on the timesheet and looking for answers ahead of the first race of the season.

Miller also struggled with a lack of confidence in Qatar, specifically with a lack of feedback from the front tyre. Although he and his crew made some progress over the course of the three days, the Australian is aware that there is still a lot more work to be done in this area when he returns to Qatar for the first race of the season. The predominantly right hand Losail International Circuit also took its toll on Miller’s injured right leg, much more so than the mainly left hand Phillip Island.

Rabat and Miller will now head from Qatar to Madrid for the official launch of the Estrella Galicia 0,0 racing program, which takes place on Monday 7th March at the Casa Del Lector in Madrid’s Matadero complex, before heading back to Qatar to get the 2016 season well and truly underway.

Tito Rabat: 17th – 1’57.027

“The test in Qatar got off to a bad start with a big crash on day one, with no warning from the bike at all. On the second day I didn’t want to push too much and risk another big crash and the possibility of injuring myself, but the bike felt better. On the final day I started to build a bit more confidence and the lap time came quite easily, but as soon as I started to push, even just a little bit, I crashed again with no warning. The bike was telling me nothing; one minute I was upright and the next I was down. I don’t know what caused the change between day two and day three, but today was much more difficult. Now we need to work on some ideas to try when we return here for the race, because if we don’t find some improvements it will be an incredibly tough start to the season.”

Jack Miller: 19th – 1’57.046

“Qatar has certainly been a test for us, trying to get to grips with everything and also having to contend with all the right hand corners, which were hard on my injured foot. The injury is okay, still improving, but it definitely gave me a bit more grief here than at Phillip Island. It was also a difficult test in terms of the set up with the bike; I haven’t built up any confidence in the front tyre just yet and had a few moments just trying to stay on two wheels. We did find a few little things, but it’s still not where we want it to be and there is still some work to do. Hopefully we can find something between now and the first race so that we can come back here to Qatar a little bit stronger.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

“Of the three preseason tests we’ve completed so far this year, this one was the most difficult. Both riders struggled to find a good feeling with the bike and the tyres and that was reflected in the lap times. Tito’s confidence in particular took a knock with the big crash on the opening day and the three crashes today didn’t do anything to improve the situation. But it wasn’t just Tito, as Jack was also having very similar issues. I don’t think we were the only team having problems here in Qatar, but they were much bigger for us because of the relative inexperience of our two riders. It’s something we need to work on, and we need to do it quickly, because we’ll be back here in just two weeks to get the season underway.”

Avintia Racing riders ready to start the season

04/03/16 Avintia Racing MotoGP - MotoGP Test Qatar

The 2016 winter test finished today in Qatar, the set up work ahead the new season is done, and the Avintia Racing team completed the three official tests with success, archiving promising results for the upcoming season. The control software used by the Magneti Marelli’s ECUs in the whole MotoGP grid, changed the script of the premier class and the gap with the factory teams has been considerably reduced.

Hector Barbera has exceed his goal of being in the Top 10 in every test; he was third overall in Malaysia, sixth fastest at Phillip Island and ninth in Qatar after two crashes on the last day, the first tumbles for him with Michelin tyres. But nevertheless, Hector left Losail circuit with really good feelings ahead the first race of the 2016 season, that will take place at this track in the night of the 20th of March.

His teammate, Loris Baz, also did a remarkable preseason test. He was trying to find the best position on his bike in Malaysia, but since he got his new seat at Phillip Island, he was very fast and consistent. In Qatar he was 14º after the three days, but he knows the potential is higher. He also crashed today and suffered some tyre issues, but Bazooka is ready to start the season.

HECTOR BARBERA #8 / @HectorBarbera 1'55.733 P9

“I’m really happy because we did a really good job during these three days, much better compared with the previous tests. We had the pace, the speed and although I crashed twice, this was not a problem, as they came when I was trying to find the limit. Those were my first two crashes over the winter, but is better that they came now and not in the Grand Prix weekend. This was the best test of the winter for me, even though the position is not so good, bit I’m extremely happy with the way we have worked. Winter testing has been really good, and my confidence is high. I’m ready to race”.

LORIS BAZ #76 / @lorisbaz 1'56.057 P14

“It was a frustrating day. As we had not enough tyres we used old tyres, but we found something that was working really well, my crew chief, Alessandro Togneli, wanted to test something and it really helped. I did 56.0 with a 30-laps front tyre and with the rear that we did not like, so I was quite happy. Then I put a new rear, but something was wrong and it was not possible to improve. I tried to push a little bit more and I crash, and with no more tyres we decided to stop. It’s a pity because my potential was higher and I feel that finishing sixth or seventh was possible today. I’m really looking forward to start the serious stuff in just two weeks.”

Tech3 pair fired up for season opener after positive final test

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith completed the final preseason run out today with encouraging performances which leave them confident for the approaching first race of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar.

Pol Espargaro brought his test campaign to a positive close as he carried on his thorough work with the electronics as well as the Michelin tyres. In addition, the Spaniard was also one of the few riders to undertake a full race simulation today and ultimately, he cut 0.865 from his fastest lap from day one, which was just over half a second from 2nd overall. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith dug deep as he completed a mammoth 62 laps, whilst continuing in making alterations to his Yamaha YZR-M1. The end result saw the confident Briton finish just 0.084 behind his teammate, leaving him optimistic of his ambitions to complete the opening Grand Prix inside the top 8.

Pol Espargaro
Position : 11th Time : 1'55.882 Laps : 113

"I am really satisfied with what we achieved today, even though of course, there is still margin of improvement that we can make. After the issues that we had in Malaysia where we didn’t know which direction to head towards and where we were struggling with the electronics, I wasn’t really optimistic. In Phillip Island we were able to improve and I ended the test in the top ten which is very important because it is where we need to be. Here, we were still not particularly strong on a single lap, but the most important thing is that I was one of the few riders who ran a race simulation and our rhythm was very strong. We were also able to finalise our tyre choice and the tyre that I used was good. In fact, we rode 2 laps more than race distance. The only inconvenience of the simulation was the interruption because of the red flag. However, when I pitted, we didn’t touch the bike at all and when I went out again, I was able to improve my time. Actually, I rode my fastest lap after having covered the full distance, which is something that I was never able to do with Bridgestone tyres, but with Michelin, I can. Therefore, I feel very comfortable and I am excited to start the season here in Qatar. Honestly, I expect the qualifying to be tricky for us, but on Sunday I am sure we will be able to do great things."

Bradley Smith
Position : 13th Time : 1'55.966 Laps : 114

"We closed the test positively today, but all in all the pre season 2016 has been quite different compared to other years. It’s been an interesting process where we’ve had to get used to the new tyres, as well as to judge their evolution because we’ve had some different front and rear tyre specs to evaluate. I must say that learning to adapt the bike to these different compounds has been a challenge. Some parts of the pre season have also been frustrating for me because of the time the weather took from us in Australia, and also the tyre situation a bit here in Qatar and as a result, we weren’t able to extract the maximum from the available testing time. Nevertheless, we are within touching distance of our target, which I think will be inside the top 8 this year. I still believe that we have a bike that’s only at 90% so there’s room to improve and we are always getting closer. Yet, going into the start of the season, I’m confident that we can do a good job. This evening’s test was positive as I improved my time quite a lot and we had consistent pace. Also, I was able to go out and ride quickly immediately which is something that I was struggling with on these tyres but I figured that one out today. I’m excited to complete the testing and finally get into racing mode as the competition brings out a bit of extra pressure which some people like and some don’t. For me, I like to be put under pressure and I feel I perform better in that way, so roll on the start of the season and FP1 in a few weeks’ time.”


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