2018 Qatar MotoGP Test Thursday Press Releases

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


Movistar Yamaha Get Testing Underway in Qatar

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi completed the first day of pre-season testing at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar this evening, finishing in first and seventh place respectively.

Viñales was the first of the two teammates to venture out on track. Determined to get his YZR-M1 set up to his liking early on, he tried various tweaks to the basic setting. The Spaniard gradually improved his feeling on the bike as well as his position, slotting into second place, behind Rossi, with more than three and a half hours to go.

He spent the remaining time of the session concentrating on his riding style and setting a consistent pace. He set a 1'55.053s on lap 50 of 64 laps in total, and ended the first day in first place with a 0.051s margin over his closest rival.

Rossi followed the trend and waited until just after 15:30 local time to hit the track. He needed little time to get back into the spirit of things. He quickly rose to the top of the provisional timesheets, setting a 1'55.827s lap, before starting work on the set-up of his bike.

As the day progressed and the sun went down, he was able to improve his time to a 1'55.432s, on lap 38 of 54 laps. As there was one other rider with the exact same time, the Italian secured seventh position in the standings, 0.379s from his teammate.

Maverick Viñales

Position: 1st - Time: 1'55.053 - Laps: 64

"We had no confidence to push in Thailand. Today it looks like we improved in that area. In the beginning I didn't feel well with the bike, but after trying some set-ups we felt better and I could push the front more, and step-by-step the lap times became lower. We are trying to make the bike the best we can. I started to feel better and better every time I exited pit lane today. On the last run I was doing many laps, focusing on my riding style and it looks to be going well. The bike is very consistent and I was able to ride well, but we still need to work on the corner speed, turning and acceleration, so we need to stay focused and keep working. Anyway, in the area that we wanted to improve, we improved - that's positive."

Valentino Rossi

Position: 7th - Time: 1'55.432 - Laps: 54

"It was not so bad, the first day was quite good. We are always very close to the other riders and in the end I'm in seventh position. It's not fantastic, but at this track I feel better. Right from the first moment, I felt better compared to how I felt in Thailand. I think I was quite competitive in Sepang, we had some more problems in Thailand, and here in Qatar the situation is more similar to Sepang, fortunately. It looks like also this year things can change quite a lot from one track to another, because it depends a lot on how you can make the tyres work for you. Sometimes you have to suffer, other times you'll be stronger."

Massimo Meregalli

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director

"It has been a long day's work, but the results are there. After a difficult test in Thailand we wanted to start this test in the right way, especially since we'll kick off the season here in Qatar in a few weeks' time. Both riders felt better on the bike than they did in Buriram, right from the start of today's session. The base set-up worked well as soon as we got going and we could get good speed and consistency throughout the day. As always, we think we still have some room for improvement in terms of the chassis and the electronics settings. Maverick leading the standings and Valentino also near the top of the timesheets is a positive beginning."


2018 official MotoGP testing in Qatar gets underway with Andrea Dovizioso second and Jorge Lorenzo fifth after Day 1 at the Losail circuit

The first day of testing at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar came to an end at 9 pm this evening (19.00 CET). The MotoGP riders took to the track at 1 pm for a single session of eight hours, which finished under the floodlights that will also illuminate the circuit on the outskirts of Doha on Sunday 18th March for the opening round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.

Both Ducati Team riders made the most of today’s session to carry out back-to-back tests with the different aerodynamic configurations at their disposal and to test some new parts on their 2018 version of the Desmosedici GP.

Andrea Dovizioso ended the day in second place with a time of 1’55.104, while Jorge Lorenzo finished in fifth with a lap of 1’55.423.

The official tests will continue tomorrow and the day after and will conclude Saturday evening with a final session on a wet track surface, which has been organized to evaluate the possibility of racing the Grand Prix of Qatar in rainy conditions.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd – 1’55.104 (48 laps)

“For me today was a positive day. We did several important tests with the fairings and then we focused on the set-up, but the track conditions weren’t ideal because there wasn’t much grip. All in all the lap times came quite easily but we’ve still got a lot of work to do and, even though my feeling with the bike is good, now we still have to fine-tune it for the race.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 5° – 1’55.423 (55 laps)

“This first day of testing in Qatar went quite well and in general I had a good feeling with my bike, for sure much better than in Thailand. We also managed to set a good time, but we still have to work on our pace and this will be our objective for tomorrow. We have to make the most of the day to improve the bike setting and be more consistent.”


FINAL SETTINGS THE KEY AS THE LAST WINTER TEST KICKS OFF

Team Suzuki Press Office - March 1st.

Andrea Iannone: 3rd - 1:55.107 (+ 0.054)

Alex Rins: 6th - 1:55.432 (+ 0.379)

• Fast pace as Iannone finds comfortable set-up.

• More consistency and many laps from Alex Rins.

• Team aim to finalise settings early on.

The opening day of the final winter test kicked off in Qatar at Losail International Circuit. The session, which was held partly during the day, and partly at night under the famous lights was a successful one for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR as both riders showed strong pace and direction throughout their time on track.

The main aim of Day 1 was to finalise settings and confirm a comfortable package for both riders as they prepare for the opening race of the season in just two weeks’ time. The confirmation of the compatibility and efficiency of the new parts used in the previous tests was a key point, and both riders spent time ensuring that the chassis and fairings in particular suited them.

Andrea Iannone proved to have a lot of pace and was able to set the fastest time of the day through two of the track’s sectors - T2 and T4. This allowed him to spend most of the day around the top of the timesheet and at the chequered flag he took 3rd overall, just +0.054 seconds from the lead.

Alex Rins showed more of the consistency which he has managed to bring to all the winter tests this off-season. The young Spaniard clocked the second highest number of laps over the day - totalling 67. He completed the session in 6th place, +0.379 seconds from the top of the table.

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

“Today has been a hard working day, we continued with the work we made in Sepang and Buriram. Because we already defined the package that we’re going to use for the race, but there are still some details which we are trying to confirm. For instance, we tested the aerodynamic fairing, and we are looking for the final confirmations here in Qatar. We already have an idea of what is good or not so good, but we wanted to make sure once again at another circuit. Tomorrow we will try to finish this work as soon as possible and begin to prepare for the race. Both riders were fast today, and that’s a good sign, but we’ll continue to work for the race.”

Andrea Iannone

“We have started this test very well and the feeling with the bike is very good, especially the front end. In the other tests I struggled a lot with the front end feel, but here I have a very good feeling and it was possible to push really hard. Furthermore I could find a good feeling with the new tyres, something I was lacking in previous tests. The bike was cornering really well. So I’m very happy and we worked very well. It’s important to keep working and improving on general feeling, especially focusing on change of direction under braking.”

Alex Rins

“Here it’s different to Malaysia or Thailand. The track is very different with slower corners, not as fast and much longer, but despite the differences we still feel confident. This morning we started by testing some items because we needed to make some back-to-back comparisons in order to make our final decisions. We worked on chassis and suspension and defined the final version of the fairing. The package should now be defined and my feeling is very positive, now we can start to work on race preparation with the knowledge that the base we have is a positive one.”


Repsol Honda Team commence final pre-season test in Qatar

The final pre-season test of 2018 began this afternoon at Qatar’s Losail circuit. The track opened at 1 pm but Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa headed out around 2.30 pm, when the temperature started to drop. The session’s temperature range was fairly wide, from 28°C air / 38° C track in the beginning to 21° C air / 24° C track at the end.

Dani was lapping at a good pace (his fastest time of 1’55.555” on lap 31 of 37 placed him 11th overall, just 0.502” off the top) when he crashed in turn 2 and hit his left hand, causing him to miss the remaining three hours in the session. A medical check at the Clinica Mobile proved negative for any major injury, and Dani will be back in action tomorrow.

Marc today started work on his RC213V’s general setup and wrapped up the action around 8 pm, finishing 10th in the classification with his time of 1’55.545” on lap 26 of 47.

Testing will continue for the next two days.

Marc Marquez

10th 1'55.545 (on lap 26 of 47)

“Today we started our test in Qatar looking to find a base setup and focusing on electronics. The engine was a bit aggressive at first, but in the end we managed to find a way to improve the setting and be smoother. We need to improve some more, but it was good for it being the first day, and now we have two more sessions to keep working and try to be as consistent here as we were at the previous tests. We know that this track is a bit more challenging for us compared to others, but I enjoy it and we’re not that far off. Tomorrow we’ll start to go deeper on a few details.”

Dani Pedrosa

11th 1'55.555 (on lap 31 of 37)

“We started the day well and did several good runs, considering that the track is always a bit dirty here the first day. Unfortunately, I first had a small crash that might have been my fault, and a few laps later I had another, bigger one, in turn 2. I may have hit a bump there or went a bit off line, I don’t know; for sure that spot is quite tricky, and I lost the front very quickly. After that we decided to stop for the day. Apart from that, the feeling on the bike was quite good and we were able to keep a good rhythm. Tomorrow we’ll keep working on the bike’s setting and see how the track improves and which tyres we’ll use. This track is challenging, as conditions change from day to day, and also the temperature drops quite a lot when evening falls. We’ll need to do more laps to try and better figure out the general setup before going into more detailed testing.”


THE FIRST TEST DAY IN QATAR CONCLUDED

GOOD START FOR ALEIX ESPARGARO' AND SCOTT REDDING

The artificial lights of the Circuit of Losail, in Qatar, are the background to the last test before the start of the MotoGP World Championship. The first of the three days available saw great work at the Aprilia box, where two RS-GPs 2018 were set up for both Aleix Espargaro' and Scott Redding. After conducting comparative tests on the 2017 motorcycle in Malaysia and Thailand, both drivers have in fact promoted the evolution of the Italian prototype.

The objective of this test is twofold: to continue the development of the new RS-GP and prepare the race to be held on this same circuit in two weeks. 45 laps were run today by Scott Redding who scored his fast lap of 1'55.931, while Aleix Espargaro' achieved his best time in 1'56.062 for a total of 50 laps.

ALEIX ESPARGARO'

"Here in Qatar I immediately found a better feeling than Thailand, we struggled a bit in the last part of the session but I'm quite satisfied with this first day. We did a shakedown of the second RS-GP 2018 that we received and did some setting tests, to be ready to push tomorrow. On this track we know that there is a lot of difference between the fastest lap and the race pace, so we will work above all to find the right compromise between performance and consistency".

SCOTT REDDING

"I'm happy with how we started these three days. After the tests in Thailand I wanted to improve especially the braking phase, because I felt that the area was limiting me, and we managed to take a step forward. We haven't tested many new parts but we have identified a good direction to work on in the coming days. As I have always said, my goal is not to do a quick lap but to constantly reduce the gap with the best, the most important thing is to get ready in the race where you earn points".


Tech3 duo kicks off final preparations ahead of the 2018 season strongly

Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin commenced the last pre-season test under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit in style. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair picked up impressively where they left off some days ago in Buriram, Thailand.

While Zarco quickly found back into his great rhythm at the track in Qatar, the French star concluded the day as the fastest satellite rider of the highly-competitive field in 4th position. Thereby, he missed out on the top by just 0.133 seconds. At the same time, MotoGP rookie Syahrin improved his pace and his feeling with the Yamaha YZR-M1 further and delivered an eye-catching performance in order to finish the first of three days of testing just 1.5 seconds behind his teammate.

Johann ZARCO

Position: 4th - Time: 1’55.186 - Laps: 52

“For the first day in Qatar, I was waiting to go out on the track in order to find better conditions, but even when I went out around 4 this afternoon, it was very slippery and we were struggling a bit and honestly, went in a wrong direction. But we understood quickly that we had to come back to what we know with better tyres. I rapidly found a decent pace, although it was complicated because the rear tyre dropped a lot compared to the last track we were on, so we really have to adapt the riding in the first laps and then still keep a fast speed when the tyre is sliding. But overall, it seems like we’re competitive, which is the main thing and good for the confidence. Tomorrow we’ll use this great base again, which we found on the first day and try to improve it.”

Hafizh SYAHRIN

Position: 22nd - Time: 1'56.731 - Laps: 58

“During this first day in Qatar I felt very good. We had a lot of confidence from the beginning. Later tonight, I experienced some minor issues, but after just some minutes, my great feeling was back. We tried to understand the new aerodynamics and by the end, I was able to give the guys some good feedback. I feel like I can improve even more, but we are trying everything step by step in order to avoid any obstacles, because if you’re going too quick too fast you can easily be confused. Today, I was smooth and calm, and I’m happy, that I can say, I already understand the bike now. For the second day, we’ll experiment further to make more progress.”


#QatarTest. Alma Pramac Racing got off a positive start at Losail Circuit: Petrux 8th, Jack 12th

#QatarTest. Alma Pramac Racing got off a positive start at the Losail Circuit: Petrux 8th, Jack 12th

The last winter tests of the 2018 MotoGP season kicked off today at the Losail International Circuit in Doha (Qatar). The chrono characterized the opening day of activity with the first 11 riders in just 5 tenths of a second and 16 in 1 second.

Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller finished 8th and 12th respectively the first day of testing, confirming the good feeling of the previous tests in Malaysia and Thailand.

Petrux got off to a strong start registering the top speed of the day (346.7 km/h) at the end of the first run. After the mid afternoon break, the rider from Terni - who had two Ducati Desmosedici GP 2018 available for the first time - worked on race pace and then notched up a good lap time (with the medium tyres) that allowed him to finish in P8, 4 tenths of a second from Vinales’s fastest lap-time of the day.

Intense work for also Jack Miller who had the two Ducati Desmosedici GP 2017s at his disposal. Followinw the the morning runs the Australian rider preferred to take a long break to avoid lapping at times that will not match those of free practice, qualifying and race of the #QatarGP week end. Back on the track in the late afternoon, Jack recorder the 12th quickest lap-time, only 152 thousandths of a second from Marc Marquez's Top 10.

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8th – Danilo Petrucci 1:55.528

“I was quick from the start and it was important to get started right away. I'm really happy with the behaviour of my bike because we've changed little since the Malaysia and Thailand testing. Tomorrow we will be working on the new fairings. We just have to understand which set up to choose, then on the third day we will make the race simulation”.

12th – Jack Miller 1:55.688

“The circuit conditions, especially in the first part of the test, were little bit tricky. I have to admit, however, that even today the feelings have been positive. We are improving day after day and I think we can improve a lot. There are still some points on the track where I struggle a bit. We will work on it tomorrow. But in the meantime we are only 6 tenths from the top”.


CRUTCHLOW SATISFIED AFTER DAY ONE IN QATAR

PRESS RELEASE: 01 March 2018 | Qatar Test Day One

LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow enjoyed a solid first day at the final pre-season test as preparations for the 2018 MotoGP championship intensified in Qatar. The Briton finished the day as the top Honda rider after posting the ninth fastest time overall at the Losail International Circuit.

Crutchlow completed a total of 45 laps on Thursday having opted to wait until the evening before heading out on to the track. He posted a quickest time of 1’55.536, which put him just ahead of fellow factory Honda riders Marc Marquez (10th) and Dani Pedrosa (11th).

Cal Crutchlow – 9th

(1'55.536 – lap 27 of 45)

"I’m very happy with today’s test, I feel good on the bike and the team worked well. It’s tricky out here on the track in the night sometimes, but it seemed in not too bad condition today. We got through our testing schedule for the day and we’re very happy with the way it went".

“So far, so good. We have a plan tomorrow to work through some different settings with the bike because essentially it’s the same bike as last year, it just has a different engine. So we have to try and make the best package possible. Today we went out only when it was dark, but tomorrow maybe we’ll try during the day.”


NAKAGAMI IMPRESSES AGAIN IN QATAR

PRESS RELEASE: 01 March 2018 | Qatar Test Day One

LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami took another step forward on MotoGP machinery as he again emerged as top rookie on day one of the final pre-season test in Qatar. The Japanese new boy built on strong performances in Malaysia and Thailand as he finished 14th fastest at the Losail International Circuit on Thursday.

Nakagami improved throughout the day as got more comfortable navigating the layout on his RC213V, completing a total of 64 laps. His best time came shortly before the end as he posted a 1’55.853 – leaving him only three tenths of a second adrift of factory Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa and also LCR team-mate Cal Crutchlow.

Takaaki Nakagami– 14th

(1’55.853 – lap 62 of 64)

“By the end of the day we were improving lap times, we did a 55 which I think is quite a good lap time. But we struggled a little bit all day compared to Malaysia and Thailand, here it is a little bit tricky and there are many places where it’s hard to ride a MotoGP bike.

“But this is only the first day and I think I need a bit more time and some more laps to understand the line and where to pick up the bike. Also, we’re still struggling a bit on the electronic side set-up, so we’ll focus on that and look to improve. But I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”


ÁNGEL NIETO TEAM KICK OFF QATAR TEST

The Spanish MotoGP team start with Álvaro Bautista in 12+1 position, just 0.8 seconds off the top with team-mate Karel Abraham in 18th

The MotoGP World Championship 2018 is edging ever closer, with the season set to start on the 18th March at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, venue for the final preseason test – a three-day session that began today. Maverick Viñales, winner of the race here in 2017, was the quickest on track by a margin of just 0.051 seconds over Andrea Dovizioso and 0.054 over Andrea Iannone. With the top sixteen riders all lapping within the same second, the new season looks enticingly close.

The Ángel Nieto Team kicked off the final test of the 2018 preseason with Álvaro Bautista in the 12+1 position, just 0.8 seconds off the best lap of the day. Bautista was one of the last riders out onto a track that for the first few hours of the session was in very different condition to what the riders can expect in the Grand Prix. The Spaniard made gradual progress throughout, working mainly on improving rear grip. Meanwhile his team-mate Karel Abraham finished eighteenth fastest, with a best time of 1'56.268 after 54 laps. The Czech rider also got slowly to grips with his Ducati and was happy with his feeling at the end of the first day. With two days still remaining of the test, Abraham and his technical staff are planning to try some different set-up options and complete a race simulation.

12+1 Álvaro Bautista 1:55.848 (53 laps): “Our objective today was just to see how the bike worked here, because in Thailand we found some good and some bad. Here we struggled to get going, the rear was not gripping at all in corner entry or exit. We tried some changes on the bike but that made no difference, so we changed the tyre and it seems this was the issue. We continued to work on improving the rear grip and made gradual progress. I am happy because our pace on used tyres is good and I used them to set my best time. We have to keep working on rear grip and the electronics, but in terms of the lap time everybody is very close.”

18th Karel Abraham 1:56.268 (54 laps): “Today was not a bad day but definitely not one of our best so far. We had a lot of things to work on and especially in the beginning I didn't feel great on the bike. But we made some improvements and we could see the lap time get better. There are plenty of things for us to work on tomorrow to improve it again but I think we are in good shape at the moment. We might do a long run tomorrow, this is one of the things we need to focus on, and after the debrief tonight we will make a plan for some different set-up options that we'd like to try.”


Morbidelli and Lüthi get down to business under the floodlights in Qatar

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders, Franco Morbidelli and Tom Lüthi, got the final MotoGP preseason test off to a positive start today under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

Unlike in previous years the riders didn't have to wait for the track, which is surrounded by a combination of desert and massive building sites, to clean up. Today Morbidelli and Lüthi were able to get to work straight away, as they continue their adaptation to the demands of MotoGP.

While both riders know the Losail circuit intimately from their time in Moto2, it's a very different track when riding a far more complex machine with more than double the horsepower, so Morbidelli and Lüthi used the first part of today's test to get a feel for the track aboard the Honda RC213V.

Both Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders then moved on to evaluating changes to set up and riding style, as they worked to improve acceleration out of the corners.

Franco Morbidelli: 1'56.608

"We started here in Qatar pretty much where we finished last time out in Buriram. The track conditions have certainly helped because for some reason it's not as dirty as it normally is when we come here for testing, so we've been able to start work straight away, rather than having to wait for the track to clean up. Today has been about getting used to the bike at this track and then making small changes to both the bike and my riding style to improve the lap time. The main area of interest is corner exit, using maximum acceleration out of the corners because we're not able to do this at the moment. I need to adapt my riding style to make the most of the rear grip available and that's what I am working on with my crew."

Tom Lüthi: 1'57.292

"I was quite surprised there wasn't sand on the track like there has been in the past. There is no rubber yet either, so grip is still limited, but at least we could start working with the bike from the off. Right now I'm still working on my riding style, still working on the lines, but we've also started to adapt the set up a little bit more so I feel more comfortable on the bike. In MotoGP you have to move around the bike much more than in Moto2. In Moto2 it was more about aerodynamics, whereas in MotoGP it is about using your weight on the bike, getting it over the front to stop the front wheel coming up under acceleration. I'm still at the beginning of my MotoGP adventure and I still have a lot to learn but, step-by-step, we're moving forward and this is the most important thing.


Last test of the preseason starts for Rabat and Simeon in Qatar

MotoGP Test Qatar – Losail International Circuit

The last test of the MotoGP 2018 preseason has started today under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit and the Reale Avintia Racing team riders, Tito Rabat and Xavi Simeon, declared themseves satisfied with the work done during the first day of testing.

Tito Rabat was early on track, but although the surface was not as dirty as in previous years, the lack of rubber has limited the level of grip and he decided to stop until there was a little more grip. The Spaniard came out very strong but suffered a small crash in turn 6.

After that, he took his second bike to continue improving the pace and his feelings with the Ducati Desmosedici GP17 at Losail track.

For Xavi Simeon today has been another day of learning and overall he finished satisfied. He didn’t try to set a fast lap and he focused on getting more confidence with the circuit riding a bike more than double horsepower than the Moto2 he has riding in the past years. Today his coach, Rubén Xaus, was with him at the garage, but he also got some advices from his compatriot and former 500cc rider, Didier de Radigues. He has just two more days of testing before the start of the season and all help is welcome for Simeon.

Tito Rabat | 1'56.029 | P16

“At the end of the day I think it was a very positive first day. When we started the track it was very dirty and everything was horrible, that’s why we decided to stop for a while. But then we went out in track and working with my team we improved the feelings and we finished the day with a really fast rhythm. I’m very happy about that, but not so much with my fastest lap time, because although it’s not bad I sure that I’m able to do it better. For tomorrow the goal will be to faster in one lap and the also to improve the pace. The only negative from today was a small crash when I was braking with the bike straight, but we know why it happened.”

Xavier Simeon | 1'57.713 | P24

“Today I’ve started more calmly than the first day in Thailand. I didn’t go as well as I wanted to, especially because in the first laps it took me a lot of time to find enough confidence with the front tyre. The track was dirty, but less than the previous years here, so in that sense this was quite good. But I have the same problem as in Thailand; with used tyres I can make pretty decent times, but when I put new tyres I can’t take the best of them. The other riders take much more advantage so it’s clear that I have to work a lot in this area take bigger steps, because looking at the rhythm I’m not so far.”


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