Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the final day of testing at Qatar:
Top-10 for Rodrigo and Guevara in the last preseason test in Qatar
The last preseason test ended today for the Moto3 class, just few days before the first Grand Prix of the 2017 World Championship.
The riders of RBA BOÉ Racing Team couldn’t take advantage completely of the time out on track because of the changeable weather: the first day was marked by unexpected showers and, on top of that, the strong wind on the third day limited the chances to move on with the initial plans. In spite of it all, the second day of testing was essential to adapt the setting of the KTM to the Qatari track and to continue developing the work that was started in the tests in Spain.
Rodrigo and Guevara finish this test in 4th and 9th position respectively, some positive results ahead of next week’s GP.
#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: 4th - 2’06.957 [combined classification]
“Today we had the last day of testing here at Losail and once again we had to deal with tricky weather conditions. The wind was really strong. It’s a shame because we only had one good day - the second - to work ahead of the Grand Prix. In any case these conditions could reappear next week, so maybe eventually these sessions could turn out to be useful. We managed to be very competitive: yesterday we had a strong pace and we finished fourth, very close to the fastest guy on track. Today, despite the wind, we managed to stay in the front. These results are very improtant, since they give us a safe starting point for the GP. We know that we have a valid set-up, which will help us to fight in the front. Now we have a couple of days off to rest and then to face the first race of the season with energy.”
#58 Juanfran Guevara: 9th - 2’07.162 [combined classification]
“We could take advantage of almost two days out of three here in Qatar: in any case we do finish the preseason with a good base for our KTM. We worked hard on the race rhythm, both at Jerez and in the other tests. We still have a couple of details to sort out, and we’ll do that throughout the Championship. Generally speaking we did a great job, we respected the plan that we had established since the beginning. We finish this test with a great feeling, and we look forwards to coming out on track soon for the first Grand Prix of the year. I believe we have a competitive pace for the race and we count on a set-up that allows us also to complete very fast laps. For sure in the GP the times will improve, we’ll have to be careful. We managed to improve on long runs: in the races of the previous year we had a good rhythm at the beginning, yet we ended up struggling in the last few laps. We achieved consistency. We now wait for the upcoming week in order to see where all the work done is taking us.”
Qatar IRTA Test: Day3
First the rain, then the wind and finally a sand storm stopped the third and last test day at Losail International Circuit. With the time of 2:06.690, signed yesterday in the last session, Romano Fenati kept the leadership of the last pre.championship test. Today the rider of the Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Team came back on the track just in the second session where the team worked on the set up of the bike trying to adapt it to these windy conditions: if during the race the situation is the same, team and rider are will be prepared. Romano signed anyway the second best time (2:08.296). His teammate Jules Danilo, unless bad weather conditions, came back on track, together with other few riders even in the first session signing the second time. In the second session he closed eighteenth. The third session has finally been stopped due to a sand storm. Plans delayed to next week: on Thursday on track again for the first free practices sessions.
Romano Fenati: "Today we did just one session, due to the bad weather conditions, but we are happy of the work done until now. We just need to wait the race weekend now".
Jules Danilo: "It would have been important for us to use every single session but we haven't been too lucky in all the pre-championship tests until now due to weather conditions. Today we would have tried many things to improve the feeling in the fast corners but it was not possible. We will try again next Thursday".
Qatari wind and rain slow the last IRTA test
Adverse weather conditions have affected two of the three days of the IRTA test at the Losail International Circuit, preventing Mir and Loi from giving their best.
Testing ended this evening in the desert of Doha, Qatar, the last IRTA test for the Moto3 class, a small preview of the first race of the 2017 season that will take place at this same location, the Losail International Circuit, next Sunday 26 March.
Unfortunately the weather was the main player in this test: on the first day, the arrival of rain forced the organizers to cancel the last two sessions, after the first session saw just 11 riders out on the track. Today, however, the strong wind forced the riders to make just a few laps on the 5.4 km of the Losail circuit. Despite all this, the duo of Leopard Racing team continued to persevere, with Joan Mir and Livio Loi in first and fourth positions in the first session of the third day.
Thus it was not possible to run at full speed until the second day (Saturday, March 18). But this second day was a positive one for the Leopard Racing team, obtaining data and providing information on their Honda NSF250 RW. It will all prove very useful when they start the run for the victory next week. The rookie of the year in 2016, Joan Mir, worked on chassis geometry, completing 44 laps on Saturday and setting his personal time with a 2'07"418. His new teammate, Livio Loi, focused a lot on setting and overall rhythm, before trying to fit new tyres. 46 laps completed by the Belgian, with a fastest lap time of 2'07"068, 0.378s from leader Romano Fenati on the day.
Joan Mir and Livio Loi took to the track today in the second session, awaiting the sunset and the more suitable temperatures to run with all the time available to them. The Mallorca talent, Joan Mir, having won the first provisional position in today's first session, was later confirmed in second and closing in to just 0.290s from Fenati for third place provisionally. In the third and final session of Day 3, when Livio Loi occupied provisional fifth, bad weather returned and brought with it an early end to the test.
From now on, three days of well deserved rest await the riders of Leopard Racing team, back on track Thursday afternoon for FP1 at the Qatar Grand Prix in 2017.
#11 Livio LOI:
“This test went quite well, we ended up in fifth place overall. We tried different things, although the weather was not kind to us. We could not do many laps but we have already found a good base and a good pace, even if we have to improve in the fast corners: If we develop this detail we can make a nice weekend!”
#36 Joan MIR:
“I am very happy for these two days of testing. We worked hard, finding positive solutions and always managing to improve. We are very optimistic and I really have to thank my team because they all worked tirelessly, giving the maximum to allow me to express myself on track. I can not wait to start with the first race!”
That’s a wrap: P12 for McPhee in Qatar
Bad weather on Day 3 as preseason comes to a close
The third and final day of the Official Moto3™ Test at Losail International Circuit in Qatar saw few improvements for the field, with high winds making life difficult for the lightweight class before thunder, lightning and a sandstorm brought out the Red Flag and the curtain came down on preseason.
British Talent Team rider John McPhee therefore remained in P12 on the overall timesheets following a best on Day 2 of 2:07.327, only completing four quick laps on the final day and times not nearing those of Saturday.
The Scotsman ends preseason happy with progress and ready to race, with a solid outing at the Circuito de Jerez backed up by another at Losail in the second and final Official Test ahead of lights out on 2017.
John McPhee – P12, 2:07.327: “Today was a bit of a nothing day with only a total of four fast laps. The weather turned too bad and the sessions were cancelled so there wasn't much we could do. I still feel like I'm heading into the race weekend in a good position and this is definitely the best shape we've finished pre-season testing in. I've got some things I'd like to try throughout practice next week but overall I'm happy."
Jeremy McWilliams, British Talent Scout: “It's been a bit of a mixed weather test for everyone, very weird weather for Losail so making it difficult for the team to gather as much data as they would like, but in general another positive test for John and the boys. He continues to improve with every outing and we are all confident that if we had to race tomorrow John has good race pace and he is full of confidence with the new bike."
Morbidelli and Márquez ready for podium battle in Qatar
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Álex Márquez and Franco Morbidelli are raring to go at next weekend's season opening Grand Prix of Qatar, after today completing a weather disrupted three-day test at the Losail International Circuit.
Testing was abandoned on the opening day before any of the Moto2 riders had even turned a wheel, when rain left the already dirty track surface even more treacherous.
An improvement in the weather the following day saw Morbidelli and Márquez running one-two on the timesheet for most of the session, losing out only to a last minute fast lap from fellow title contender, Takaaki Nakagami.
Both Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders were confident of challenging Nakagami for the top spot on the third and final day of testing, but were thwarted by strong an unpredictable winds that left all the Moto2 riders unable to match their times from yesterday.
Despite the disrupted final Qatar test both Márquez and Morbidelli head into this weekend's opening race confident that they can fight for the podium. The two Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders have been fast and consistent throughout preseason testing and both are now looking forward to converting their testing pace into race results.
Franco Morbidelli: 2nd – 2'00.240
"This has probably been the best preseason for me since I started racing in Moto2 and it's been really encouraging ahead of the first few races of the season. I'm very happy with the job we've done, but now we need to focus on the racing, starting this next weekend in Qatar. People always talk about potential championship contenders going into a new season but there is some competition this year, so we won't really get a feel for this until we're four or five races into the championship. There are probably four or five riders who I'll be keeping any eye on, including my teammate, as Álex has been very fast during testing this season. But testing is one thing and racing is another, and I'm looking forward to the weekend ahead here in Qatar."
Álex Márquez: 3rd – 2'00.427
"I'm really happy with how the preseason testing has gone; I was quickest in Jerez, third here despite the weather and my pace was also good at the two private tests in Spain. I feel really confident, I feel comfortable on the bike and the lap times seem to come easily, but we know we can improve further during practice for the first race. I'm looking forward to this weekend, because race weekends are more enjoyable than testing, and I'm completely motivated to fight for a good result. Of course, to finish on the podium in Qatar would be the perfect way to start the season, but I'm sure there are plenty of other riders who are thinking exactly the same!"
BAD WEATHER HAMPERS TEAM DEL CONCA GRESINI'S PROGRESS IN QATAR
The final pre-season test has drawn to a close for Team Del Conca Gresini Moto3 at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, the same venue hosting the opening Grand Prix of the Moto3 World Championship in less than a week’s time.
Standard bearers Fabio Di Giannantonio and Jorge Martin have continued their preparation to the first event of the year, although their track-time was reduced by unexpected rain showers on day one and by heavy winds which turned into a sand storm today.
Young Italian rider Di Giannantonio was able to complete 45 laps with a personal best time of 2’08.074 and the same good feeling found with his Honda NSF250RW few days before in Jerez. His Spanish team mate Martin, on the other hand, has positively impressed on the single lap by logging in 2’06.729s, which turned out to be the second quickest lap-time of the Qatari test. The 19-year-old from Madrid also displayed an encouraging race pace on board his Honda machine equipped with hard compound race tyres. Martin had a small crash at turn 15 on day two, from which he escaped uninjured.
“Yesterday’s crash was a high-speed one, but there was no major drama. Today the strong winds did not allow us to take to the track but fortunately yesterday we did work a lot on our race pace, with some encouraging results. With soft tyres the bike is moving quite a bit so we were not as quick as we could have been on the single lap, but all an all I can say that we’re ready for the opening weekend of the season.”
FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO
“Unfortunately this hasn’t been the most useful of tests, really, and it was all due to the track conditions. It rained on the first day, while today the strong winds and the sand storm kept us in the pit-box basically the whole time. We did lap yesterday, but the plan was to take our time and make the most of today’s track-time, which we did not have in the end. Basically, we’ll have to start from scratch again but I hope the weather will be on our side this time.”
Oliveira and Binder end preseason satisfied in Qatar
Red Bull KTM Ajo riders complete last official test before the Qatar GP, with Oliveira 5th overall and Binder 21st.
03/19/2017 - Losail International Circuit, Qatar
The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 team concluded their preseason testing this Sunday in Qatar, with weather conditions once again affecting the action on track. This time it was the strong wind and the rain at the Losail International Circuit that prevented Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder from going out in the last session of the evening, and they concluded the final night's work in 2nd and 21st, respectively. In the combined classification for the two nights, the Portuguese finished 5th and the South African 21st, both with good feelings on the bike and with important kilometres under their belts ahead of the season opener next week.
Oliveira ended the test among the Top 5 overall, in addition to taking a step forward with the setup of his KTM Moto2 bike. The Portuguese, who today completed a total of 30 laps, clocked a best time of 2:01.255 which allowed him to lead the first session on Sunday. Brad Binder continued to gain valuable experience in preparation for his debut in the intermediate category; today he put in 28 laps, with a time of 2:02.592 his best at the end of the day. Both riders sat out the last session of the day, which was suspended due to the strong wind and rain at the Losail International Circuit.
The Moto2 World Championship season gets underway at the Qatari track on Thursday, March 23rd, as the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 project start two free practice sessions at 18:55 and 21:50 local time.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager: "We've had two very important days for continuing to develop the new KTM Moto2 bike. Unfortunately, the first day was canceled due to the rain and today we also had to stop a bit earlier. However, in any case we have put in some very good laps with the bike, which have been key to understanding how the bike works here in Qatar."
#41 Brad Binder: "Today went very well. At first it was a bit tough, but little by little I found my way, every time I get on the bike I'm learning something new and it makes everything a little easier for me. We have to continue working in this way. It's a shame to have lost a whole day and part of today, because it was too windy, but all-in-all, I feel we have taken a step forward this weekend. I feel much better about the bike; next week we will try to keep taking steps forward every day."
#44 Miguel Oliveira: "These nights of testing have been very positive. Above all, we have changed some things on the bike from yesterday to today that have given me a lot of confidence to progress. The times do not show that the conditions were not the best, nor do they show the work we have done, but I'm happy with how the evening went. Hopefully next week the weather will be more stable than during these three nights. From the times in testing it is a bit difficult to say who will be up at the front next weekend at the race, but we are on the right track to be one of the outstanding riders."
ANOTHER STEP FORWARD FOR NAVARRO AT LOSAIL
Team Federal Oil Moto2 Gresini have made the most of an otherwise weather-affected three days of testing at the Losail International Circuit: Jorge Navarro and his crew worked hard to find the best set-up for the Kalex machine #9 of the young Spaniard, who is now ready for his Moto2 debut at the Qatari track.
Navarro, who could lap consistently around the 5.4km fast-flowing Middle Eastern circuit only on Saturday and Sunday, dedicated most of his track-time to familiarise with the track while finding a base setup for his motorcycle. The young Spanish rider also tried different combinations in terms of fuel levels and tyre choices.
The 21-year-old from Valencia completed the test with the 12th fastest time of 2’01.296s. In less than a week’s time, it will be all about racing as the traditional floodlit Qatari season MotoGP season opener will get underway.
“This test was really useful to get a better understanding of the bike and especially on this track. We tried different things in order for me to find the best position on the bike: we are still missing something, but I am quite sure it’s me who has to adapt a bit better to my Kalex machine. The strong winds of the last day have complicated things a little bit, but we were able to work with these conditions nevertheless. Results were not too bad, but we’d hoped we could work with different weather. Now it’s time to concentrate fully on the season opener, though!”
Canet closes preseason amongst fastest riders
Wind and rain affect final night of testing at Losail International Circuit. Canet places third overall for the three nights, and Bastianini thirtieth.
Enea Bastianini and Aron Canet rounded off their third night of official testing at the Losail International Circuit on Sunday, bringing to an end the Moto3 preseason action for 2017. However, the weather conditions again caused problems for the Estrella Galicia 0,0 pair, hand the wind and rain prevented them from even going out on track.
The Sunday sessions began with heavy gusts of win that reached 30km/h. Some riders chose to put in laps, although none were able to best the times set the previous evening. The conditions failed to improved, and the appearance of rain in the third session led to a red flag and the premature conclusion of testing.
Although this season it will be possible for the MotoGP class to ride in wet conditions at Losail, the single tyre manufacturer for Moto2 and Moto3 does not allow for this possibility -due to the absence of specific rubber for such circumstances.
Arón Canet was thus unable to run the race simulation that he had wanted, after consistently placing amongst the top riders on Saturday. His best time from the test was a 2:06.749 lap, just 0.059 off Romano Fenati's top time.
Enea Bastianini used the downtime in Qatar to get further acquainted with his crew, and his 2:08.713 time put him low on the timesheets -although he had been working mostly on finding a good suspension setup rather than putting in a hot lap.
The Estrella Galicia 0,0 team will be back in action on Thursday, March 23rd, at the Losail International Circuit, for the opening Free Practice session for the Qatar Grand Prix.
"Today the conditions were not the best for testing anything"
"Today was a day of zero testing, because there were strong gusts of wind and we decided not to go out on track in order to avoid taking risks. We had a fairly complete work plan to complete today, but the conditions were not the best for testing anything. We were only able to ride yesterday, so we hope that on Thursday next week the weather will be favourable for working at our best in the first Free Practice sessions for the Qatar GP -in order to keep progressing with my crew and face the first race in the best possible shape."
“We have worked hard throughout the preseason"
"We couldn't do anything today because we were unable to ride at any time. We didn't want to take risks because in the first session there was very little grip on track. In the evening and at night there was a lot of wind, so we decided not to go out. I think we are prepared because we have worked very well throughout the preseason, so we hope to do the same here ar the first GP of the season."
Tech3 pair ready for 2017 after confident close to shortened final test in Qatar
Xavi Vierge and Remy Gardner keenly await the highly anticipated round one fight in less than a week after taking positive steps forward at the last pre-season test. The opening day was abandoned due to rainfall, yet the young riders made the most of the track time on day two which was uninterrupted by the weather. Here, Vierge built up his speed and he focused on some final setup adjustments, as well as his race rhythm before he sped to his fastest lap of the test in the 6th session. This saw him positively end up 8th in the overall standings and just 0.699 back from the top three, thus leaving him confident for the forthcoming campaign.
Whereas Remy Gardner made solid headway as he worked tirelessly with the Tech3 Racing Team. He set his quickest lap in the penultimate practice, as he finished the day in 13th, with this performance placing him 25th overall, before a storm hit that caused the final session to be cancelled today. Nevertheless, this time was 0.615 quicker than his opening best, and seven-tenths of a second back from the top ten, which leaves the Australian rookie encouraged and fired up for the opening battle.
With testing completed, both riders eye up the season opener full of motivation as they intend to kick start their 2017 campaigns with two successful results.
Position: 8th - Time: 2'01.126 - Laps: 86
“I’m very happy with how this last test went for us and I am excited to be getting back on the bike and starting the season soon. In the end, the outcome of this track appearance is pleasing because every day we made a good step forward plus, the team worked really hard during the winter and it’s easy to see the positive results on the track. In addition, I am so happy with the rhythm that I managed to ride during this test in Qatar and I also managed to improve my lap time for qualifying. This leaves me fired up and confident for next weekend and I have to say thanks once again to the team for their work."
Position: 25th - Time: 2'01.967 - Laps: 99
“We had a positive final day and I am very happy with the advances that we made in the second session. The team and I still need to make some progress but we are certainly on the right path. It was a shame that we missed out on some valuable track time on Friday and also today due to the weather, but these things happen. Anyway, now I am looking forward to getting back on the Mistral and starting the season in only a few days time. Thanks to the guys for their efforts and I will do my absolute best when we return to the asphalt."
2017 preseason comes to an end for Antonelli and Bendsneyder
Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder closed preseason testing in Qatar in 8th and 13th position on the combined standings, respectively, as difficult weather conditions again affected the action.
03/19/2017 - Losail International Circuit, Qatar
Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder capped off their preseason work with a final night of testing at Losail, ending with a good feeling at the venue for the 2017 Qatar Grand Prix. Rain and strong winds prevented them from using the night to its fullest, and besides the second session, there was only a small window in the first and third sessions to get out on track. On the combined timesheet for the three nights of testing, Antonelli finished 8th -taking a significant step forward- whilst teammate Bendsneyder was 13th (4th on Sunday).
Antonelli was only able to complete 24 laps on Sunday, but finished his two sessions in the Top 10 and set a best time of 2:08.733. Bendsneyder also demonstrated his skill in difficult conditions in Qatar, ending the night 4th with a best lap of 2:08.269. He put in a total of 22 laps. Both the first and last sessions of the day were hindered by the rain and wind.
The 2017 season will begin next Thursday, March 23rd, at the Losail International Circuit. The Red Bull KTM Ajo team riders will have two Free Practice sessions, at 6pm and 8:55pm local time.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager: "After testing in Valencia and Jerez this winter, it was interesting to be able to also test here in Qatar. Although the weather conditions have not been the best, I think we have found a fairly good base setup for the race in Qatar. We will continue to work here next Thursday."
#23 Niccolo Antonelli: "Overall it went quite well. Today it was very difficult to ride with the wind, but we were able to try some things out and I am happy with the result. When we went out for the last session the weather was too bad, it was impossible to turn and stay on the bike. We are fairly consistent, I feel more comfortable when cornering and I think we have improved a lot since the last test. I'm sure we can take another step forward before next Sunday's race."
#64 Bo Bendsneyder: "We had two good nights of testing. Today it has been quite windy and it has been more difficult to test things. We have not been able to reach the times we usually do here when the conditions are good, but it has been a positive day. I am looking forward to the race; I think we have a good base setup with which to start the weekend, although we have to work very hard to improve."
Rain in the desert didn’t prevent Marini and Baldassarri to progress
With lots of positive impressions after nine days on track in Spain Luca Marini and Lorenzo Baldassarri felt more than ready to fly out to Qatar this week for the last test before the start of the 2017 season, but the unpredictable weather conditions in the Arabian country hampered the track action on Friday and Sunday. However, both Forward Racing Team riders were able to assess their new 2017 Kalex machines as well as their feelings at the illuminated Losail International Circuit.
Although track conditions were far from perfect, Marini and his crew could work through most of their extensive schedule. Some setup changes and different parts increased the feeling for the 19-year old, who was mainly able to improve his race pace. Overall Marini completed 74 laps with a fastest time of 2’01.436.
After missing the first official IRTA test in Jerez, Baldassarri, who recovered from an inflamed tendon in his left arm, was back on track. The 20-year old started slowly to evaluate his physical condition. Encouraged by his good feeling Baldassarri soon started to work on the geometry of his machine together with his crew, before a slight crash without any consequences terminated his time attack. The young Italian lapped the 5.380 km circuit 51 times with a personal best of 2’02.035.
Now the whole Forward Racing Team eagerly awaits the opening practice of the first round in 2017, which kicks off on Thursday at under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit.
Luca Marini – 15th (2’01.436)
“We had a positive test here in Qatar, which was unfortunately shortened because of the rain. Anyway, we tried diverse options for the race weekend and discovered new solutions, which is very encouraging. I went out with a different swing arm with which I felt a bit better, so we’ll for sure carry this to the race weekend. Our base is solid, but of course there is still a margin of improvement to be made in the Free Practices and Qualifying. For now, I’m happy with what we accomplished during our pre-season. I’m convinced we can do a great job for the Grand Prix here. Last year I finished the race in tenth position, which is hard to beat. But the goal for the first weekend is to improve on that placement. Let’s see what we can do.”
Lorenzo Baldassarri – 26th (2’02.035)
“This test was a really good opportunity to understand my physical condition and I can say, that I’m very happy to report I’m nearly back at my 100%. That’s the most important thing, considering we now have an additional three days of rest before the first free practice of the season. I was trying to stress my arm step by step on the bike without experiencing any pain, which is a fantastic sign. I’m serene, because we finished the test with good feelings overall, even if, to be honest, I was quite slow. Today the wind was really heavy, plus quickly changing directions and I decided not to take any risks. When I finally put in a new set of tyres and pushed a bit more I was surprised by a gust, so I went down. It’s a pity, because I wasn’t able to see where I would have ended up. But anyway, I feel great and full of confidence for the first race weekend of the year.”
Giovanni Cuzari – Team Owner
“To be really honest, personally I can’t wait to kick off the new season in just a few days. It’s been the first time for me on track this year here in Doha and I have to admit that I’m more than proud of the job my team did. In my opinion we made a huge step forward compared to 2016 and I have to thank everybody who made that possible. On the other hand, it goes without saying that these three days didn’t go according to plan, because who would ever expect two days of rain in the desert. Yet, after the strong preseason schedule, which we worked through in Spain, we feel very well prepared for this opening round and I am looking ahead to the upcoming weekend which will be full of emotion.”