2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of the Buriram test:


LEARNING FAST ON OPENING DAY AT CHANG INTERNATIONAL

Team Suzuki Press Office - February 16th.
Alex Rins: 2nd - 1:30.809 (+ 0.012)
Andrea Iannone: 9th - 1:31.235 (+0.438)

• Alex Rins sets 2nd fastest time as he quickly gets to grips with new circuit.

• Andrea Iannone with a strong pace and large number of laps.

The opening day of testing at Chang International Circuit was expected by all riders and teams to be a learning curve. But the ability of Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone to adapt quickly to this brand new track resulted in a successful Day 1 for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.

The high temperatures of around 35 degrees celsius meant long runs would be challenging and physical, and both riders decided to use the morning session to put together a string of consecutive laps. This intense work was valuable for the collection of data as well as for the riders to get the feel of the track and how best to ride it.

Development of the 2018 GSX-RR was initially not the first priority, as set-up for the new track took precedence, but useful progress was still found and the team were able to continue with the good work they made during the Sepang test last month.

Alex Rins put in 70 laps and reported a comfortable and enjoyable feeling from the bike and the track. After progressing throughout the session he completed the day in 2nd place, just +0.012 seconds from the top of the time sheet.

Andrea Iannone completed an impressive 78 laps, one of the highest numbers recorded by any rider on Day 1. The Italian gleaned useful information and had a strong and consistent pace, finishing the day in 9th place, +0.438 seconds from the fastest time.

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

“Today has been a positive day for us because we were able to do a good job. First of all to try to understand the new track and the set-up, gearing, and other settings. We progressed step-by-step and we could compare different options. So we’re happy with the information we collected today. Of course, to see Alex so close to the top and Andrea, even with the old tyre, keeping a good pace is nice. But it’s important to focus on testing everything properly and creating our best package. We are continuing the job we’ve started in Sepang, we have different options for the chassis and also for the engine, which must be evaluated and finally decided. Also we will be able to try a new fairing, hopefully tomorrow, which could give us some more information on how to proceed with the development.”

Alex Rins

“This is a new track for everybody, but from the beginning I understood it well and I enjoyed this Chang Circuit. We didn’t try many things today, we’re just keeping focused on the set-up of the bike. We have had a good first day, tomorrow we will try some new things, and I hope to continue in a good way. The key here is consistency and a good rhythm, and this layout suits the Suzuki.”

Andrea Iannone

“I’m pretty satisfied for today. We have some different settings available and we are working to understand which one makes me more comfortable. The most positive thing at the moment is that I can be consistent, especially with a used tyre. In fact, I did my best lap with a worn tyre. I liked the track, it’s short but it doesn’t have a lot of hard braking, which is a configuration that works well for our GSX-RR. On tracks like this where I can let the bike roll and exploit the corner speed we can express our potential. Today I also worked hard to give feedback to the engineers, which is another important part of testing.”


Marquez and Pedrosa up to speed while getting first taste of Buriram Circuit

Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa were both among just five riders who were able to lap under the 1’31” barrier on the first day of testing at the Buriram International Circuit. Marc set the third fastest time in 1’30.912”, while Dani (who suffered an uneventful late morning crash in the final corner) was fifth fastest in 1’30.960”, just 0.115” and 0.163”, respectively, down on fellow HRC rider Cal Crutchlow, the quickest man of the day.

Making the best of a sunny and very hot day (air 35°C, track 50°), the Repsol Honda men endeavoured to adapt to and learn the unfamiliar layout while also working with their team to find a good base setup and continue the development of their RC213V. The final 15 minutes of the session was dedicated to practicing starts.

Testing will continue for the next two days.

Marc Marquez

3rd 1'30.912 (on laps 30 of 78)

“I’m very happy with how we started the test here in Buriram. I felt quite good from the beginning, so at first we just tried to get to know the track well. Then when we got the rhythm, we started trying some different things on the bike. We focused a little bit more on the electronic side. As the day progressed, many riders were at the front, so we need to wait until the final day before we’ll be able to really understand what the rhythm of each rider is. I think everyone will improve a lot tomorrow. Regarding the track layout, it seemed quite fast to me when I lapped it on a scooter yesterday, but today riding my bike, I realized it was slower that I was expecting, with many second- or third-gear corners. Still, there are some hard acceleration and braking points, and it will probably be challenging to manage tyre life, so we’ll work on that as well. So far we’re very happy with how it went today.”

Dani Pedrosa

5th 1'30.960 (on laps 70 of 75)

“I think today went well, even considering that the first time at a new track is always demanding because you need to learn a lot. The circuit is quite narrow, so it’s important to use the right lines and carry speed. We’re working to find the best balance in order to be quick in both the fast sectors and the more twisty ones. We lost the direction a bit in the middle of the day, and I also had a small crash when I touched the bumps in the final corner, but that can happen when you’re still trying to understand a new track. As the day went on we got back in the right path, and in the end we did a good job. So the feeling is positive, and now we’ll analyse everything and prepare for tomorrow, when we’ll work with the tyres and continue working to find the best setting.”


MotoGP riders get to grips with the Buriram circuit. Andrea Dovizioso fourth and Jorge Lorenzo tenth after first day of official testing in Thailand

Today the 2018 grid of MotoGP riders took to the track for the first time at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram for three days of testing in preparation for the inaugural Thailand Grand Prix, which is scheduled for the 7th October.

The two Ducati Team riders were able to lap constantly throughout the day, testing various set-up solutions on their Desmosedici GP18 machines and they also did a few runs with a new aerodynamic package late in the afternoon.

Andrea Dovizioso was up amongst the leaders right from the early morning and he finished the day in fourth place with a best time of 1’30.945 out of a total of 60 laps, while Jorge Lorenzo (64 laps) finished today’s session in tenth place, with a time of 1’31.246.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’30.945 (60 laps)

“The Buriram track is very unusual and it wasn’t easy to get used to its layout. There are three corners which are virtually hairpins and then the rest is quite a pretty straightforward run. It’s quite a slow track for our bike, but it’s always interesting to try new circuits. I’m happy with the feeling with the bike, we went well right from the start and then we focussed on doing different tests, especially with the new fairings, but tomorrow we should be able to get some more detailed feedback about these new components.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 1’31.246 (64 laps)

“Today I had a bit of difficulty on this track and I wasn’t really able to be very quick. In the next two days we will have to find a way to improve the feeling with the bike, so that I can push really hard. At the end of the day we tried a new aerodynamic package, but it’s too early to draw conclusions, especially because we are still quite far off the potential that we can express on this circuit.”


Movistar Yamaha Get Back To Business at the Buriram Test

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team's Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales were keen to get reunited with their YZR-M1s today at the start of the Buriram MotoGP Official Test. The teammates were back on track to build on the results from the three-day Sepang test held a few weeks ago.

The first day of testing at the Chang International Circuit was a special occasion for Rossi, who celebrates his 39th birthday today, but he wasn't having a lie-in. He entered the track at 10:14am local time, eager to make it a memorable occasion.

The Doctor completed 74 laps in total, which he used to re-assess various items he had tried earlier at the Sepang test. Though his focus was on analysing his bike's behaviour, he still managed to enjoy his birthday, doing what he loves most. The Italian wrapped up the first day in eighth place with a best lap time of 1'31.189s, set on lap 68, 0.392s from the front.

Viñales made his typical early bird start as the second pre-season test got underway at 9:30am local time. As this is the MotoGP field's first time trying the Buriram track, the Spaniard didn't waste a second to make full use of the opportunity. He fine-tuned his bike's settings in the morning, working on his pace and corner entry, before taking a break at 01:30pm.

The young gun continued his efforts later in the afternoon. He completed 70 laps in total. In the final hour of testing, he set his fastest time of the day, a 1'31.294s on lap 67, for 11th place, 0.497s from the top of the standings.

Valentino Rossi

Position: 8th - Time: 1'31.189 - Laps: 74

"The last three or four years, I think I always rode the M1 on my birthday. From one point of view it's a bit difficult, because you have to work, but from another point of view this is the best way to spend my birthday, riding the M1. It's hard work, as always, especially as at this track we're very close. The first impression is not so bad, especially with the track I expected maybe worse, but it's quite good. We have to work a lot, especially on acceleration."

Maverick Viñales

Position: 11th - Time: 1'31.294 - Laps: 70

"We've been trying a lot of things with the bike all day long, like we did in Malaysia. We haven't found the right way yet, but anyway we have still time to work hard and find the best direction to work in. I like the track a lot, it fits my riding style quite well with these flowing corners. Like I said, we have to continue working, so I couldn't push, but I think that on the first day we have to be relaxed, try to work and find out some things to try for tomorrow."

Massimo Meregalli

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director

"We've been very impressed with the track and the facilities of the Buriram circuit, it's very different from what we imagined it to be. Trying a new track for the first time is always exciting. We had quite an intense programme ahead of us, but we didn't have the start we hoped for. We weren't expecting to have such a difficult day, because it looks like this track should suit us well. The riders were suffering from different problems and this doesn't help us find a common solution. Nevertheless, we have two more working days to fix the issues and make the riders feel more comfortable."



FIRST CONTACT WITH CHANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT FOR THE APRILIA RIDERS

The first of three days of tests at the Chang International Circuit provided a few important responses, the clearest of which is how close the times done by the MotoGP riders are. In fact, no less than 20 riders are packed into one second of one another.

In the Aprilia garage, as with the Sepang tests, there was a 2017 RS-GP and a 2018 machine for both Aleix Espargaró and for Scott Redding. This is an arrangement that allows development to continue on the new prototype, approved by both riders in Malaysia and in any case able to count on a familiar base for any necessary comparisons.

Aleix spent almost the entire session today using the 2018 version of the RS-GP, gradually building his confidence on the new track. The Spaniard turned a total of 62 lap, the best of which in 1'31.662. Scott, on the other hand, used the 2017 bike in the morning for a few scheduled tests, throwing a leg over the new RS-GP in the afternoon. At the end of the day, he had done a total of 59 laps with a best time of 1'31.685.

ALEIX ESPARGARO'

"To be honest, the track surprised me. I had more fun than I thought I would. The first part is not particularly interesting with all the straights connected by braking sections, but overall it is a nice track. It is precisely in the first part where we need to work, because we are losing a few tenths in acceleration from low speed. On the flowing parts, on the other hand, we are very competitive. At the end of the day today I got back on the 2017 bike and I was able to reconfirm just how much the 2018 has improved in that area. It is lighter, more reactive and it performs better on corners, so I think continuing work on the new RS-GP is the right way to go."

SCOTT REDDING

"I must say that the circuit is more technical than it looks; for example, on the second turn, when you have to brake after a long straight without any braking point of reference. Overall I liked it. It's better than I had expected it to be. This morning we had a problem with the 2018 bike, so I used the 2017. It did not slow us down, because part of our schedule included tests on last year's bike, so we simply did that type of testing first. We continued working in the afternoon with the 2018 bike, trying various things including the handlebar mounted rear brake because, since I am quite tall and have a rather bulky boot, I struggle to use the foot brake."


CAL CRUTCHLOW FASTEST IN THAILAND TESTS

PRESS RELEASE: 16 February 2018 | Buriam Test Day One

British rider Cal Crutchlow was fastest in the first day of MotoGP pre-season tests at the new Buriram International Circuit today. The LCR Honda CASTROL man had already enjoyed a successful start to his pre-season campaign in Malaysia back in January, and today’s performance in the searing heat of north-eastern Thailand lends credence to the suggestion that bike and rider are in excellent shape ahead of the 2018 season.

The Buriram track is a complete unknown to the MotoGP field, and features on the world championship calendar for the first time ever in October later this year. Despite suffering from a lack of sleep due to jet-lag, Crutchlow made the most of that blank canvas, setting a best lap of 1’30.797 on his 57th out of 70 laps of the circuit.

Testing continues at Buriram on Saturday and Sunday.

Cal Crutchlow – 1st

(1’30.797 – lap 57 of 70)

“It’s nice to finally come and ride at the Buriram circuit, and it was really good to see so many people come down and watch the test. We’ve managed to learn the circuit very well, and as we said in the last test, Honda have done a great job this winter. I feel very good with the bike at the moment – the fundamental feeling is the same as last year, but we have some other positive points on the machine compared to last year. It’s good be able to take advantage of that.”

“I look forward to continuing the work, and testing hard over the next couple of days. Today I didn’t feel too well, and though I never suffer from jet-lag normally, last night I struggled and only managed to get to sleep at 5am for two and a half hours before coming to the track. I didn’t feel great all day. We have to see if I can improve that tomorrow, hopefully I will sleep well tonight and come back and do another good job with the LCR Honda CASTROL Team.”


NAKAGAMI TOP ROOKIE ON DAY ONE OF THAILAND TESTING

PRESS RELEASE: 16 February 2018 | Buriram Test Day One

Takaaki Nakagami continued his positive adaptation to the LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V today, as he ended the first day of MotoGP pre-season tests at the new Buriram International Circuit as top rookie. The Thai track is a complete unknown to the MotoGP field, and features on the world championship calendar for the first time ever in October later this year.

Of those getting to grips with their new MotoGP bikes as well as the circuit, the 26-year-old Japanese rider made the quickest adaptation, setting a best lap of 1’31.692. Crucially, that time was less than a second behind his team-mate and fastest rider of the day Cal Crutchlow, and placed him 17th overall.

Testing continues at Buriram for LCR Honda IDEMITSU on Saturday and Sunday.

Takaaki Nakagami– 17th

(1’31.692 – lap 55 of 87)

“It was quite a good day for us. Just like in Sepang last month we are improving every time we go out on the track and understanding more. This circuit isn’t that difficult, but in some areas – particularly sector one – I still have to work out where I am losing time. Also, at some points I still have to understand better how to pick up the bike better out of the corner.”

“For the first day it’s quite good though, and I am less than one second behind Cal so we just need to keep working hard for the rest of the test.”


Good start in Thailand for Reale Avintia riders

MotoGP Thai Test – Chang International Circuit

Reale Avintia Racing Team riders Tito Rabat and Xavier Simeon had their first contact with the Chang International Circuit today. The layout of the Thai track, that has been added to the MotoGP calendar for the 2018 season, looks easy on paper, with few turns and many straights, but Rabat and Simeon agreed that the circuit is much more tricky than it seems at first sight.

Tito Rabat started quite well but at mid-morning, he lost the front in turn seven and crashed, a very similar incident to the two falls he had a couple of weeks ago in Malaysia. After repairing the bike he went back on the track and, after changing the set-up of his Ducati in search of a better feeling with the front, he focused on finding his own pace with very good results.

His teammate Xavi Simeon continued with his learning process and found himself quite comfortable around the 4.554km circuit. The 28-year-old Belgian rider also crashed in turn ten, which forced him to sit and wait in the garage until his bike was ready to go again. After going back on track again, he quickly matched his best lap times from the morning.

Tito Rabat | 1'31.523 | P13

“I like the circuit and I had a lot fun. It has several parts that reminded me of Qatar, others of Texas… it has some long straights and the asphalt is okay, although at the beginning of the day it was a little bit dirty. But the first impression was very good. The only negative thing to report is my crash and, as in Malaysia, we do not know why. Despite this setback, it seems that we are finding the right way, which is important because we need to know our limit in order to finish the races. We focused on improving the feeling with the front and with some changes to the set-up, I had a better feeling. The team worked very well and everything is very tight with 20 riders within just one second. Now we need to improve further. We always finish 0.7s behind, so it would be great if we could leave Thailand with a gap of only half a second”.

Xavier Simeon | 1'32.720 | P22

“The first day here in Thailand went very well until I crashed at turn 10 when I lost the front. The crash was a little strange, I just made a small mistake… but afterwards we lost a lot of time because the bike was quite damaged. In the end I went out again and I could do five laps to try to improve my lap times. Even though I was not able to improve, I was able to match my previous lap times quite easy, which was positive. Tomorrow, we’ll start from where we finished today and we’ll try to improve more. We are not far away, but we have to avoid these little mistakes. The standings are very tight and you have to make the most of the time on the track”.


ÁNGEL NIETO TEAM DISCOVERS THE BURIRAM TRACK

The Spanish team’s MotoGP riders conclude day one with both riders less than one second off the top in Thailand

The MotoGP World Championship had its first action at the Buriram track in Thailand this Friday, kicking off a three-day test for the premier class. This encounter with the new circuit, at which the great majority of riders had not ridden before, finished with Cal Crutchlow at the head of the timesheets (1:30.797), ahead of Álex Rins, Marc Márquez and Andrea Dovizioso, and with four different manufacturers in the Top 10.

The Ángel Nieto Team were experiencing the Buriram track for the first time. Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham finished the first day of testing as two of the most active riders, with 84 and 82 laps, respectively. They were both one second off the fastest time. Bautista, who from this test on has the two Ducati GP17 bikes with which he will take part in the season available to him, described the new track as fun and highlighted the critical nature of the last two sectors, which are narrower and where finding the correct line will be crucial. Teammate Karel Abraham closed the first day little more than a tenth of a second slower, although he experienced difficulties. After completing a very good first part of the day, in the second he had problems with the front end of his bike, so he and his team will work to improve this aspect of the setup for tomorrow.

14th Álvaro Bautista 1:31.525 (84 laps): "It's a track that has a couple of good points like Turn 4, where you go into it very fast and you have to go down a couple of gears and enter quickly. The circuit reminds me a little of Austria; it's varied and fun. I thought it looked easier, on paper, but riding a MotoGP bike complicates everything a bit more. The last two sectors are critical; they are narrow and you have to clearly choose the line because otherwise you can lose a lot of time. I enjoyed the opening laps. At the moment we have not been working on anything big, other than getting used to the track and making small changes to the gearing or electronics. The positive thing is that we now have our two bikes and everything is much more fluid. Today we verified that everything was good with the second bike, but we have also started work with the first, bike focusing on the setup."

18th Karel Abraham 1:31.698 (82 laps): "Today we had a good day, especially in the first part, in which everything was going well. In the afternoon we were going fast, but we noticed problems with the front end and we were not able to solve them completely. We have work to do, especially the team, to find a better setup in order to feel more comfortable with the front tyre."


Positive opening day in Buriram for Morbidelli and Lüthi

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders, Franco Morbidelli and Tom Lüthi, were both positive about the Chang International Circuit, after turning their first laps on the latest addition to the MotoGP calendar during the first of three days of testing in Thailand.

After his first run this morning Lüthi commented that the track was far more technical than it looked and much more bumpy than expected. Morbidelli echoed these sentiments, declaring the track a lot of fun on a MotoGP bike but still quite tricky to ride fast despite not having so many corners.

While Morbidelli and Lüthi learnt their way around the seven right and five left hand corners that make up the 4.554km Chang International Circuit, their respective crews worked to set up the Honda RC213V machines to suit a track that has been likened by many riders to Spielberg in Austria, albeit a lot flatter.

Lüthi's crew focussed on refining electronics and engine management to better suit the demands of the Thai track, whereas Morbidelli's crew opted to modify their rider's position, balance and base set up in the search for improvements.

Franco Morbidelli: 1'31.729

"Our first day here in Buriram went well. We are still trying to adapt, making changes on the bike to suit better this circuit and, already, we are seeing some improvements. I am just 0.9s off the top, which isn't too much and it's the closest we've been to the frontrunners so far, which is also good. Now we have to keep improving and working to better understand that bike. I like the track here in Thailand; not so many corners but quite tricky to master. The only downside today was a low speed crash at turn seven when I was heading out for the practice starts. I'm not sure exactly what caused the crash, but we will check the data tonight to see if that reveals anything."

Tom Lüthi: 1'32.716

"Not too bad overall today, but I still have so much to learn. When I jumped on the bike this morning it was still all new to me, despite this being my second test. The track is new, the bike still feels new, so I really needed to do as many laps as possible today. Lap by lap the feeling was coming better but I still have to remind myself to be patient as I learn the bike, as this is something you can't do overnight but have to do step by step. Sometimes it's difficult to be so patient, but this is definitely the right way to work with the MotoGP bike."


Zarco and Syahrin discover new territory in Thailand

For the first time ever, the MotoGP World Championship went to the Chang International Circuit this week, where Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco immediately found a fast way around the 4.554km long track and Hafizh Syahrin got his first taste of the Yamaha YZR-M1.

Following a first inspection on Thursday, Zarco was rapidly amongst the fastest riders at the new venue. The French star concluded the first hot day in Buriram merely half a second behind the fastest rider, in 12th position. Meanwhile, Syahrin had the hard mission to adapt to the MotoGP machine and the new circuit at the same time, but mastered his task impressively and completed his debut with a best lap time of 1’33.165 minutes.

Johnann Zarco

Position: 12th - Time: 1’31.305 - Laps: 67

“I’m really happy about the new track. The layout is nice and better than I expected. The position doesn’t look perfect in the end, but it’s only five tenths from the top guys. The gap between all of us where incredibly tight. I didn’t give my all to do in a fast lap time, because I know I have five days to do that. With a used tyre on the last outing I had a good feeling and we already found a comfortable base. We worked truly well today and I know that I can still improve.”

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 24th - Time: 1’33.165 - Laps: 70

“Today was my first day in MotoGP and we did an amazing job together with the team. I feel really good, with the bike, with my guys, who they work. I have an absolutely positive first impression. Which each time, we went out on track, we were able to improve the lap time, which is very important to me. I try to keep going like this, gaining more confidence with the bike. Today we did many laps and some start practices. Thereby, it was interesting to find out how the launch control and the traction control works, but for sure I still need more confidence with it.”


Great start for Alma Pramac Racing at Buriram: Petrux 6th (Top Speed of the day: 331 km/h), Jack 7th

There was a deep curiosity to see Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller for the first time in action at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand. And after the first day of activity, the indications that emerge from the second winter tests of the 2018 MotoGP season are really interesting as the first 12 riders ended up in only 5 tenths of a second.

The day-1 of the #ThaiTest finished the top for Alma Pramac Racing with 6th place for Petrux and 7th for Jack, both two tenths of a second from the best chrono of day.

Following the intense comparative work in Malaysia, Danilo Petrucci was able to dedicate himself entirely to the 2018 version of his Ducati Desmosedici GP and the sensations have been extremely good since the morning. Petrux got off to a very strong start (P1 after the first hour of testing) and was in 4th position at the mid-session break. In the afternoon he worked on the set up and then ended with a positive time-attack that allowed him to finish at 6th, also recording the top speed of day (331.3 km/h)

Jack Miller immediately rediscovers the great feeling of #SepangTest (5th place in the combined standings) and during the all day he is firmly in the Top 10. The Australian rider works a lot with his team (83 laps completed) and the race pace seems to be very incisive - waiting for more indicative references that will arrive in the next two days. Also for Jack a convincing time-attack that gives him the 7th position, 41 thousandths of a second from his team-mate.

6th Danilo Petrucci - 1:31.003 (74 laps)

“I liked the track right away. We were expecting to find a circuit with a lot of aggressive braking but many curves turned out to be fast. The bike behaved very well: we are competitive. In the afternoon we also worked on the set up. The good thing is that we focused on the 2018 bike and things went well. I have to admit that it is very hot but we are preparing for what will be the conditions of the race".

7th Jack Miller - 1:31.044 (83 laps)

"The layout of the circuit is fascinating. I expected it to be more dirty, especially in the morning, but I had the feeling of having a good grip right away. It's a fast track and it's nice to race here. The important thing is to be patience and stay focused lap by lap because you risk underestimating the pitfalls. I'm satisfied with the lap-time even though we are all very close. Tomorrow will be a very interesting day".


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