2018 Qatar MotoGP Test Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the second day of testing at Qatar:


IANNONE LEADS SECOND DAY IN QATAR, RINS IN TOP 5
Team Suzuki Press Office - March 2nd.

Andrea Iannone: 1st - 1:54.586
Alex Rins: 5th - 1:54.967 (+ 0.381)

  • Blistering pace from Andrea Iannone at the top.
  • Consistency and confidence continues for Alex Rins.
  • Team begin to switch focus onto race set-up.

Although rain spots in the early afternoon caused difficulty for all the riders at the beginning of Day 2 in Qatar, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR pushed on with their hard work and both riders were able to complete a very successful day.

After concentrating on confirming the efficacy and feel of new components on the opening day at Losail International Circuit, the focus on the second day shifted to race set-up ahead of the first Grand Prix of the season on March 18th.

While focusing mainly on finding base race settings, Andrea Iannone was able to string together a run of 15 highly consistent and quick laps. The Italian confirmed the fast pace he showed on the first day, and was once again the strongest rider through sector T2 and T4. All of this, combined with a boost in confidence and a comfortable feeling with the bike, earned him the fastest time of the day and he ended the session on the top of the time sheet with a 1:54.586.

Meanwhile Alex Rins put in several laps on used tyres and spent most of the day working on his base race set-up. He enjoyed the same positive feelings felt on the first day of the Qatar test, and was again able to prove his promising pace, finishing 5th overall - just +0.381 seconds behind his team-mate.

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

“Today we can say that we worked more with the race in mind - thinking about race preparation. Of course it’s very nice that Andrea made a great lap at the end of the session, and it’s always nice to be on the top! Both Andrea and Alex were in the Top 5, and this is a good sign. The riders did many laps with good pace, so we are happy about that. We’ll try to finish well tomorrow, with some long runs, and I hope we’ll be ready…it looks like we’re in good shape at the moment and we will continue to work hard.”

Andrea Iannone

“Here, since yesterday, the bike has given me a good feeling. I am able to ride more and more with my usual style, and we struggle less where we don’t have hard braking. Today I completed a short race simulation and it was quite positive, we still have some room to improve but the team and Suzuki are doing a good job. We’ve taken all the information from the first two tests and tried to build a competitive bike. So far I’m very happy with how things are going here in Qatar!”

Alex Rins

“For me this second day was really good, we didn’t have new things to test, we’ve just been focused on finalizing the GSX-RR for the race pace. We tried small things on the suspension, but not too much. I think it was really positive because our pace was very good over more than one lap. Tomorrow I’ll try to do a race simulation to see where we are ‘in reality’."


Andrea Dovizioso second and Jorge Lorenzo fourteenth at the end of Day 2 of MotoGP official testing at the Losail circuit in Qatar

At the end of the second day of official MotoGP testing at the Losail circuit in Qatar, Andrea Dovizioso was second quickest in the timesheets with a time of 1’54.627, while his team-mate in the Ducati Team, Jorge Lorenzo, concluded in fourteenth place.

A few drops of rain, which fell at the track on the outskirts of Doha in the early afternoon, disturbed the first part of the session, but after that the MotoGP riders were able to continue their testing without any problems in preparation for the opening round of the season on 18th March at this same circuit.

Tomorrow, the final day of testing will finish at 20.00 local time, one hour earlier than the two previous days, to give the organizers the possibility to soak the track with water and allow the riders to lap in these conditions under floodlights from 20.30 to 21.00. They will then be able to express their opinion to the members of the Race Direction on the possibility of racing the Grand Prix of Qatar safely even in wet conditions.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd – 1’54.627 (41 laps)

“Even though the uncertain weather conditions didn’t allow us to make use of all the time available, in the end we managed to test everything we had scheduled. I’m very satisfied with the feeling with the bike: on this track the Desmosedici GP has always worked really well, but this year it’s going even better. My best time I set in a mini long-run of 12 laps which I did this evening, and I have to admit that the times came quite easily. Here in Qatar however every day we can find different conditions and so we must try to be quick tomorrow as well and conclude our work schedule.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 14th – 1’55.562 (53 laps)

“Today was quite a complicated day for me: at the start a light rain conditioned the first few hours of the test but then we were not able to be competitive in normal conditions. In the early afternoon, when it’s still warm, the times come quite easily, but when the temperature drops I’m lacking confidence in the front tyre and am not able to be fast. We still have a few ideas to test tomorrow to try and resolve this problem and prepare for the GP of Qatar in the best possible way.”


Productive day of testing for Repsol Honda Team in Qatar

The second day of testing in Qatar was marked by temperatures slightly cooler than yesterday (22° C air / 20° C track at the end of the session) with a few drops of rain falling on the Losail circuit around midday. Both Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa went out on track around 4 pm.

Marc, a victim of the Losail circuit’s tricky turn 2, where he suffered a tumble at around 8 pm, set the third fastest time of 1’54.753” on lap 58 of 59, just 0.167” down on today’s pace setter, Andrea Iannone.

Dani, still suffering some pain on his left hand following yesterday’s crash, closed his day with an hour remaining in the session after setting his fastest time of 1’55.282” on lap 21 of 35, which placed him in 10th for the day.

Testing will end tomorrow. With the possibility of rain likely in the desert of Qatar, a “wet test” on the artificially soaked Losail track will be held just before the end of the session.

Marc Marquez

3rd 1’54.753 (on lap 58 of 59)

“The day went quite well. We struggled a little in the middle of the session as we started to try a few things and we briefly lost the direction, but that was also good to understand something different. When the temperature dropped in the evening and I was on the hard front tyre, I lost the bike in the turn 2, which is a bit of a characteristic crash at this track. This, in the end, turned out to be a positive as well, because I had to jump on my second bike, which was not in our plan, and I felt better! I’m happy with how today went, but tomorrow we’ll keep working hard on the setting with the target of improving our pace and being more consistent at this track, which is one of the more demanding circuits for us.”

Dani Pedrosa

10th 1’55.282 (on lap 21 of 35)

“Today has been a bit difficult because I had some pain on my left hand after yesterday’s crash. I had to be a bit careful and couldn’t ride perfectly. Still, we tried to do our best and, in the end, managed to complete some work on the bike’s setup and on the tyres. We didn’t try a lot of things as I couldn’t lap at length every exit. Anyway, let’s see if I can recover more for tomorrow and if we can do better. We still have things we would like to try because the conditions here change a lot from daylight to night time and we need to do some more test.”


Testing Continues for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP in Qatar

Today the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team completed the second of the three test days at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi continued to prepare for the 2018 racing season and ended the day in 7th and 11th place respectively.

Viñales mentioned he was going to put in hard work throughout the Qatar MotoGP Official Test and he kept his word, completing 52 laps in total on Day 2.

The Spaniard used today's session to make some improvements to the settings of his YZR-M1 to gain further corner stability and better the overall lap time. Though he suffered from a lack of grip, he wrapped up the second day with a best lap of 1'55.051s, set on lap 51, for seventh position, 0.465s from first.

Rossi also experienced some tyre issues but, similar to his teammate, still made steps throughout the day as he focused on bettering his bike's set-up compared to yesterday.

Though an issue with the front tyre spoiled the Doctor's time attack, he still managed to improve on his time from yesterday, thanks to the progress he made in today's session testing small details of the set-up. He ended the day in 11th place with a fastest lap of 1'55.316s, set on lap 30 of 45 laps, 0.730s from the front.

As most riders improved on their times from yesterday, Viñales and Rossi also hold 7th and 11th position in the combined standings.

Maverick Viñales

Position: 7th - Time: 1'55.051 - Laps: 52

"For me it was a positive day, we tried many things. Compared to yesterday we lost a bit of grip. It's the same feeling we had at every test: we have to work more and even harder. We improved our rhythm, but during the time attack I didn't feel as good as I did yesterday, so I couldn't improve a lot. But I think we have things clearer for tomorrow, so we are going to try to do at least one long run with a full tank, to see how the bike is working. For tomorrow we're also going to focus on improving the feeling with the rear and improve the consistency of the bike."

Valentino Rossi

Position: 11th - Time: 1'55.316 - Laps: 45

"The position is not so fantastic at the end, because during the time attack I had some problems with the front tyre, so I couldn't do it. In the end, I'm quite a bit behind, but the pace is not so bad on average. We worked a lot today and tried to understand, because we had some issues, especially with the front tyre. After a few laps I started to lose some grip. It looks like, in these conditions, it will be difficult to finish the race with a good pace, so we still need to work tomorrow and try to improve this."

Massimo Meregalli

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director

"The second day of testing is over and we got a lot of work done, trying quite a few things. The riders didn't have the same feeling as they had on Day 1. They suffered from a lack of grip, so this compromised their results during their time attack efforts. Nevertheless, both riders seem to be able to carry a consistent pace. We still have work to do tomorrow, because there are still areas where we want to improve. Tomorrow we also want to do some longer runs, to focus on the bikes' handling with a full tank and better the tyre life."


PROGRESS CONTINUES FOR THE APRILIA MACHINES AT LOSAIL

GOOD SENSATIONS FOR ESPARGARÓ AND REDDING ON THE SECOND DAY OF TESTS

In the Aprilia garage, the work programme is divided, but the sensations at the end of the second day of tests in Qatar are similar. In fact, both Espargaró and Redding are satisfied with the way the tests are going, the last ones before the season opener.

Espargaró went out on the track with different chassis settings looking for more confidence on the Losail asphalt and his feeling at the end of the day satisfied the Spanish rider. Tomorrow Aleix will work toward improving, especially in braking and acceleration, before doing a race simulation long run.

This is a simulation that Scott Redding did toward the end of the session today, completing about 15 laps with excellent times and consistency. The new entry in the Aprilia camp confirmed the quality of the Italian V4 in terms of proper tyre wear management, able to use a soft tyre on several laps without evident signs of deterioration.

ALEIX ESPARGARO'

"We have to be happy. We are making progress and working hard. I still don’t feel like I’m at my best braking, but overall I am satisfied with the way the tests are going. We are struggling to take full advantage of the new tyre for a fast lap, but we are competitive in terms of pace. I am very curious to see my race simulation tomorrow and what the others will do in order to have a more concrete idea of what our potential could be over race distance. As for what we’ve seen up to now, and counting on improving more, I think that we will be able to demonstrate a good pace."

SCOTT REDDING

"Today we weren’t focusing on lap times, but we worked to prepare for the final long run. I had done one in Thailand that did not satisfy me, whereas here, despite starting later than race time, things went rather well. The times and the easy ride satisfied me, although there is still work to be done in order to increase the edge grip. I used a soft tyre on the rear, which is new for me, and I was surprised at how good condition it was in at the end and how my feeling improved lap after lap."


Great strides for Zarco and Syahrin on day two in Qatar

Johann Zarco performed in a superb way today, while the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider used the second day of testing at the Losail International Circuit to work towards the start of the 2018 season. Thereby, the remarkable Frenchman concluded Friday as the fastest Yamaha rider in fourth position, missing out on the top spot by only 0.288 seconds.

Meanwhile MotoGP rookie Hafizh Syahrin made hug steps forward in adapting his riding style to the Yamaha YZR-M1 on just his fifth day in the premier class. In doing so, the Malaysian newcomer improved by nearly half a second on his time from day one, finishing the day with a small margin of solely 0.947 seconds to fellow Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi.

Johann ZARCO

Position: 4th - Time: 1’54.874 - Laps: 49

“Overall, it was a great day, we made some huge improvements with the new tyre and I’m happy about that. With used tyres we also had a good pace and the conditions were pretty interesting today. We were better than yesterday, as we found what was missing. But we’re still working on it. I feel we are on a good level, but maybe not on the top level to fight for the victory. So it’s quite obvious, that we still have some work to do. What I can feel on the bike is really nice, the top speed is great as well, yet I enjoy riding here a lot. For tomorrow, we’ll try some more details to further improve.”

Hafizh SYAHRIN

Position: 21st - Time: 1’56.263- Laps: 46

“I’m very happy with the progress we made today. We have a good base and now started to try more new things on the bike, like trying to manage the tyres, plus trying to understand all the electronics, today especially the traction control. As I’m a MotoGP beginner, I still need to learn a lot. The team work today was very good and we managed to close the gap to all the other rookies, even if I’m just in the middle of my second test. We hope to continue this fantastic development tomorrow.”


CRUTCHLOW ON THE PACE AGAIN IN QATAR

PRESS RELEASE: 02 March 2018 | Qatar Test Day Two

LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow was amongst the pacesetters on day two of the final pre-season MotoGP test in Qatar. Having already underlined his speed with impressive testing performances in Malaysia and Thailand, the Briton ended up sixth fastest on Friday at the Losail International Circuit. Crutchlow completed a total of 51 laps and finished the day as the second quickest Honda bike behind fellow factory rider Marc Marquez.

The third and final day of testing will take place on Saturday - with the new season then getting underway at the same venue in two weeks’ time - and the impressive Crutchlow is hoping to make further gains.

Cal Crutchlow – 6th

(1’54.992 – lap 20 of 51)

“We had another positive day. However, my feeling with the front of the bike is not fantastic, today was another difficult day for the front end feeling and we’re struggling a bit with the turning of the bike”.

“But my speed is there and I feel good and confident. We were on the used tyre a lot today, also we tried the softer option tyre and I managed to complete ten laps on it. We have to continue to work tomorrow on the final day of testing and do what we can before the first race of the new season in Qatar – I look forward to it.”


#QatarTest. Solid double Top 10 finish for Alma Pramac Racing on Day 2: Petrux 8th, Jack 9th

The second day of official testing on the Losail International Circuit finishes in a very convincing way for Alma Pramac Racing who places Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller in the Top 10. Great work was also done by the technicians of team #9 and team #43 who managed to fix the bikes after a double simultaneous crash at turn 1 (probably due to the presence of some detritus on the circuit) that could have delayed the schedule of the day.

Danilo Petrucci once again proves to be very fast registering the Top Speed (342.8 km/h) for the second consecutive day. His Ducati Desmosedici GP 2018 brings back the greatest damage after the crash and Petrux is forced to stay in the garage for a long time. The rider from Terni remains focused, however, and in time attack recorded a chrono of 1:55.188, less than 5 tenths of a second from Marc Marquez's hypothetical front row.

Jack Miller, who makes a step forward compared to the first day of testing, also feels great. The Australian rider completed 47 laps and in the time attack at the end of the session managed to reduce yesterday's time by more than 4 tenths of a second, gaining a precious 9th place, just 48 thousandths from his team-mate.

8th – Danilo Petrucci 1:55.188

“We started very fast even if we had the tyres used yesterday. I was also at the top of the standings for a few laps but then I crashed practically with Jack. I don't know what happened, it was a very strange crash because there were no alerts. We lost a bit of time but when I returned to the track I was back fast. I am satisfied with what we have done so far in Qatar”.

9th – Jack Miller 1:55.236

“After the crash I saw Danilo almost hit me. It was quite scaring but fortunately nothing happened. It wasn't an easy day because after the crash we had to solve a problem with the bike. But if I have to be honest I am very satisfied because I feel that we have made many improvements since yesterday. I feel I still have more to give . I will try it out tomorrow”.


NAKAGAMI MAKES FURTHER PROGRESS IN QATAR

PRESS RELEASE: 02 March 2018 | Qatar Test Day Two

LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami once again demonstrated his aptitude on MotoGP machinery on day two of the final pre-season test in Qatar. The Japanese talent completed a total of 61 laps on Friday as he posted the 13th fastest time of the premier class session at the Losail International Circuit. Nakagami’s performance hinted at his impressive potential for the 2018 season, as he finished ahead of former world champion Jorge Lorenzo on the timesheets.

The third and final day of testing will take place on Saturday, with the new season then getting underway at the same venue in two weeks’ time. Despite a minor fall, Nakagami was satisfied with his progress on the second day in Losail.

Takaaki Nakagami– 13th

(1’55.539 – lap 58 of 61)

“Unfortunately I had a really small crash where I lost the front at the corner. I escaped unhurt and the team did a great job and repaired the bike very quickly”.

“Finally by the end of the day we improved the lap time of yesterday and the feeling with the bike is getting better and better. But there are still many things we can improve for corner entry and also the grip on the tyre. I think we have made another step forward, hopefully we can go another tenth fastest tomorrow.”


Reale Avintia riders improve their feelings under the floodlights in Losail

MotoGP Test Qatar – Losail International Circuit

The second day of testing at the Losail International Circuit has been quite good for Reale Avintia Racing riders, Tito Rabat and Xavier Simeon. The action has been delayed after some drops of rain started falling across the circuit. But although the track was not wet, this prevented the riders to get on track. But the sun shined again and Rabat and Simeon were been able to continue with their work program in Qatar.

The Spaniard improved his fast lap of the first day in almost half a second. He also managed to be faster in race settings showing a strong pace. But Tito is never satisfied and in the final hour he went out again, but this time without winglets and he crashed out like yesterday in turn 6.

Xavi Simeon did a big step today. The Belgian ‘rookie’ was a second faster than yesterday, but the most important thing is that he was able to improve a lot his riding style, and now he can get more corner speed and take better advantage of the power of his Ducati Desmosedici engine. Simeon also did a small race simulation and the rhythm has been more than acceptable. He also improved with soft tyres, but it is still the area where he loses more compared to his rivals.

Tito Rabat | 1'55.875 | P17

“I’m happy because today once again we improved our race pace and every time I have better feeling with the bike. In the end perhaps we went in the wrong direction, because we decided to try the bike without winglets and I crashed again. But overall the day was good and in with race settings we are quite fast and the tyre life is quite good. For tomorrow the goal is to improve the fastest lap a bit, if we manage to do that I’ll be happy. We have some ideas of where we can improve and we’ll see how it goes. Tomorrow will be an important day because it will be the last test day before the season finally starts here in Qatar”.

Xavier Simeon | 1'56.795 | P23

“Today was much more positive and I’ve been able to improve my lap times quite a lot. I found myself much better and more confident with the front tyre. To be honest the tyres never gave me bad feelings, but I have to understand well where I can push more. I improved a lot in braking and also the entry into the corner, which allowed me to be more consistent and have better pace, because with that I gained a corner and I can lift the bike before to get stronger. I’ve also done a race simulation and the pace has not been bad. It is clear that we have much to improve, but I am happy to be the first. Tomorrow we must continue on the same line”.


Improvements for Lüthi and Morbidelli on second day in Qatar

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders, Tom Lüthi and Franco Morbidelli, enjoyed a positive second day at the Losail International circuit in Qatar, despite rain showers disrupting the early part of the test.

Lüthi and Morbidelli were on their first run of the day when drops of rain started falling in the paddock and across parts of the circuit. While it wasn't wet enough to even dampen the circuit, with rain appearing on their visors the riders on track quickly abandoned their runs and returned to the pit box.

Within 30 minutes the rain had moved on and testing resumed in warm and sunny conditions, with the floodlights eventually being brought into play as darkness fell with three hours of the test left to run.

Lüthi and Morbidelli continued where they left off yesterday, working with their respective crews to further increase both feeling and confidence with the Michelin shod Honda RC213V, with positive results.

Lüthi finished today almost a second faster compared to yesterday, while Morbidelli improved his previous best time by more than half a second.

Tom Lüthi: 1'56.295

"It was a bit of a waiting game at the start because of the little bit of rain we had, but we eventually got out on track and managed to get some work done. For me it's still about going out, learning lap by lap, exit by exit because I still have a lot to learn, but we're definitely going in the right direction and improving step by step. We've seen some improvements; not with anything specific but with a little bit of everything. At the moment for me it's not a case of overcoming one problem, but more about bringing everything together, the set up, the riding style so I feel more comfortable on the bike. Now I have more feeling, but I'm still far away from having the same confidence in the front as I did in Moto2, so I need more laps. But, overall, I'm happy to have made a step forward again today."

Franco Morbidelli: 1'56.074

"The second day here in Qatar is going pretty well. We've made some improvements compared to yesterday, which is good. Unfortunately yesterday we weren't able to use the soft tyre properly; today we are working to improve both our pace and feeling with the medium compound tyre. So far in testing we haven't made any big changes to the set up of the bike, but we want to try a few things tomorrow, to see if we can reduce the tendency for the bike to wheelie, which makes it very physical to ride. Overall it has been another good day on the bike and I hope we can continue to improve tomorrow."


ABRAHAM AND BAUTISTA HONE THEIR PREPARATION FOR NEW SEASON

Ángel Nieto Team ready to squeeze the most out of final test day

Four riders from four different factories occupied the top four positions on the second day of testing in Qatar, where the final preparations are taking place for the MotoGP World Championship 2018. The top four, all of whom lapped under 1'55, were topped by Andrea Iannone (1'54.586), followed by his Italian compatriot and last year's championship runner-up Andrea Dovizioso, with Marc Márquez third fastest and Johann Zarco, the top independent rider, fourth on a day that saw the top fourteen riders lap within the same second.

Karel Abraham was the faster of the two Ángel Nieto Team representatives on track today in Qatar, taking four tenths off his best lap from yesterday early in the session. After that the Czech rider was forced to switch to his second bike but did not have the same feeling and was unable to improve his lap time further. Álvaro Bautista was the busiest rider on track today, racking up 70 laps as he strived but struggled to replicate the feeling he had yesterday on medium tyres, clocking a best effort of 1'56.104 but at least managing to complete a valuable race simulation of 22 laps. Bautista's long run featured consistent laps between 1'56.172 and 1'57.137, although he believes that pace was still some way short of his and the bike's potential.

18th Karel Abraham 1:55.876 (37 laps): “Today wasn't bad, especially in the beginning, but unfortunately later on we had some little problem with the first bike and I had to jump on the second one and to be honest I wasn't really happy with it, even though the set-up was the same. I couldn't improve my lap time on it but overall we have gone a little bit faster, so the goal is to go faster again tomorrow and improve the lap time. Today we were supposed to complete a race simulation but we didn't manage to do that so that's moved to tomorrow's schedule.”

20th Álvaro Bautista 1:56.104 (70 laps): “I finished up quite happy yesterday but today we had less grip on both the front and the rear and the feeling was not the same. Yesterday the medium tyres were working well but today we struggled and we switched to the soft. We are missing something with the base set-up of the bike and its performance depends a lot on the conditions. I did a race simulation of more than twenty laps and the pace wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as it could have been. We still have tomorrow left and we have a few ideas to try. We think that in trying to fix the rear grip issue we have compromised in other areas and now we have to spend more time in the corner with the bike at full lean. We need to find the right balance for this bike.”


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