Press releases from the teams after the final day of the final MotoGP test at Qatar:
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Wrap Up Pre-Season Testing with Positive Results
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team were back on track in Qatar for a very special third and final day of MotoGP testing. Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales had a full schedule today, completing both a dry and a wet session. They ended the 2018 MotoGP pre-season testing on a positive note, finishing in second and fifth place respectively in today's and the combined timesheets, and in third and seventh position in the wet session.
Unable to complete his time attack yesterday, Rossi was eager to make strides today. The Doctor entered the track at 15:30 local time and he wasn't to let a small set-back get in his way. Though he suffered a crash in turn 14 with still four hours of the dry session remaining, he was unharmed and quickly back out on track to make up for lost time.
The Italian spent the remainder of the available dry time preparing for the first race of the season, to be held at the Losail International Circuit in two weeks' time, and noticeably quickened his pace towards the end of the session. He ended the dry testing in second place with a 1'54.276s, set on lap 42 of 49 laps, 0.247s from first.
Viñales also showed that hard work pays off. He started the session half an hour after his teammate, but went the extra mile to find a good set-up, ahead of the first round of the MotoGP season.
He completed 40 laps in total and made a big step in the final 40 minutes of the dry testing time. He wrapped up the third day of testing in fifth place, posting a best time of 1'54.471s, set on lap 38, 0.442s off the front.
Following the dry session, the riders were given the opportunity to test the Losail circuit in (artificial) wet conditions during the final hour. Rossi completed the wet session in third place with a 2'15.542s. Viñales secured seventh place in the wet session results, clocking a 2'21.302s.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in Qatar on March 15th for the MotoGP 2018 Line-up Presentation and to commence the 2018 season, with the Grand Prix of Qatar being held from March 16th - 18th.
Position: 2nd - Time: 1'54.276 - Laps: 49
"I'm quite happy after this test, especially after this afternoon, because I think we've worked hard in these last few days and also in the first part of today. This afternoon we put it all together and I was able to do a very good lap for second position and I also had a good rhythm, with a good pace. But, we are all still very close in the timesheets, there are a lot of riders that are strong. We continue to suffer with the tyres, front and rear, and I did just half a race distance. We have to try to understand what will happen from that point until the end of the race - we will see in two weeks."
Position: 5th - Time: 1'54.471 - Laps: 40
"In the last 40 minutes I think we made a big step. I feel good on the bike, but not at 100% yet, so there's still room for improvement. Anyway, we did three days of hard work, and we got a bit lost along the way. During those moments I couldn't push and it shows we need to keep focused and pay attention when we make changes, because in the last 40 minutes it felt like a completely different bike. Like I said, we need to keep working. I think if I were to do a time attack right now, I could do a really good lap time. As soon as I got on the bike, after the changes, I felt comfortable and that I could keep a good rhythm - not as good as last year yet, but after today we came to some conclusions."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"We worked really hard these last three days and it wasn't all smooth sailing. We encountered some difficulties along the way that took some time to fix, but in the end we managed to get a lot of testing done and find some solutions. We tried many things, some were good, some weren't, and we made an important step at the end of the dry session. We also had the opportunity to try the track in wet conditions. The most important thing is that the riders are feeling good on the bike and can carry a competitive and consistent pace, because the season will start in two weeks' time, which is something we are really looking forward to."
MotoGP official testing comes to an end at the Losail circuit in Qatar with Andrea Dovizioso third and Jorge Lorenzo tenth in the combined three-day standings
Three days of testing at the Losail circuit in Qatar, the venue for the opening round of the 2018 World Championship on 18th March, drew to a close this evening. In the last half hour all the riders went out for a short session on an artificially wet track to simulate rain conditions under floodlights.
Andrea Dovizioso finished the final day, and also the combined standings, in third place with 50 laps to his name and a time of 1’54.331, making use of the last half hour on a dry track to conclude a 10-lap stint on used tyres, while Jorge Lorenzo was ninth today and tenth overall with a time of 1’54.692 and 63 laps to his name.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04): 3rd – 1’54.331 (50 laps today)
“I’m very happy with the work we did these three days, because we were able to try everything we had planned and also to prepare well for the race, even though here in Qatar the conditions of the circuit change easily and in a couple of weeks they could be different to what we have encountered in these three days. During the test the track had a lot of grip, something that is usually difficult to find here at Losail, and in the various simulations we were fast and consistent, and so I’m very satisfied with our performance.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99): 10th – 1’54.692 (63 laps today)
“Today went much better than yesterday, and we found a setting that allowed me to do several laps quite fast. However we once again suffered a bit when the temperature cooled down and the humidity increased. In these conditions we are still struggling to be competitive and keep a good pace. We should therefore focus on improving this aspect in view of the first round and we still have a lot of work to do to get the best out of our bike’s potential.”
Marquez and Pedrosa finish final pre-season test in Qatar
The final day of the last test of the pre-season dawned sunny and dry but quite windy in Qatar. Marc Marquez headed out on the track soon after 3 pm. followed shortly by teammate Dani Pedrosa.
Both riders used these three days to finalize their preparation for the start of the 2018 season and to work on the race setup of their RC213V. For the first time, today they also had the chance to ride in the wet at the Losail Circuit, as race direction organized a special test for the final hour, artificially soaking the track.
Marc completed a 10-lap mini long run and a total of 75 laps, with a best time of 1’54.591” on lap 70 to finish sixth fastest for the day. Dani ended in 11th place with a best time of 1’54.774” on lap 29 of 44.
The team will now fly back to Europe for two weeks but will return on track at Losail on Friday, 16 March, for the first practice of the Qatar GP (2.45 – 3.30 p.m., local time).
6th (7th in the Combined standings) 1'54.591
“I’m satisfied with how our pre-season went in general. We’ve worked a lot on our race pace, which is the most important thing in the end. It’s true that we’ve struggled a bit here in Qatar, but we’re happy anyway, as today in particular we took a step forward and I was able to lap consistently enough in the low-to-medium 1’55” range. Today we also tried the carbon swing arm in just one run, and I managed to ride quite fast, though we need to work more on that. For sure the championship will be very competitive starting at the first race, but I hope to enjoy it. Regarding the test in the wet, well, with the reflection of the light it’s a bit more difficult than usual to see the kerbs and the white line, and the track is a bit slippery, but for me it should be possible to do the race if it rains.”
11th (12th in the Combined standings) 1'54.774
“I’m quite happy with the pre-season overall, with the work we’ve done, and with our pace. We’ve been competitive in different conditions, which is positive. Unfortunately, the crash on the first day made things a bit difficult for us here, and the track itself is also a bit demanding for us, but we made some progress and improved our pace a little anyway. We’re not the fastest here at the moment, but we worked well and understood a lot about the conditions and how the track changes between having grip and not having it. We learned a lot about these things. Now we have to focus on ourselves, not looking at the others, and I think we can take another step for the race. I look forward to starting the championship! Regarding the wet test, I think that in case of rain for the race, we’ll have to speak and decide all together.”
POSITIVE END FOR WINTER TESTING
Team Suzuki Press Office - March 3rd.
Alex Rins: 7th - 1:54.650 (+ 0.621)
Andrea Iannone: N/A
• Alex Rins concludes the final test with positivity and strength.
• Andrea Iannone forced to sit out third day with ill health.
• Final settings found ahead of opening race of the season.
Team Suzuki ECSTAR had mixed fortunes on the final day of the last winter test at Losail International Circuit. Nevertheless, overall it has been a positive three days, with the opportunity for the team to adjust and define settings and work on race setup for the first Grand Prix of the year in ten days’ time.
Alex Rins kept the crucial consistency which he has shown throughout the winter, and after trying a race simulation he completed the day in 7th place, +0.621 from the top of the timesheet. His overall feeling was very positive.
Unfortunately Andrea Iannone could not take to the track due to sickness. The symptoms began to set in overnight on Friday and his condition worsened, especially with the addition of a fever. This made it impossible for him to ride. He was finally given the diagnosis of gastroenteritis with fever, which means he will need some time to recover.
At the end of the session the track was flooded by the organisers in order for the riders to check the conditions should rain strike Qatar during the race weekend, it was compulsory for the riders to check the feel of the tyres and the glare of the wet track under the lights. With Andrea Iannone unable to ride, this task was undertaken by Alex Rins.
Ken Kawauchi - Technical Manager
“Overall it was a good test, except for the fact that Andrea was sick today and had to cancel his track time. But on the second day he did a race simulation and he could get some important information to prepare for the race. Alex did all three days of testing so we were able to define his settings for the race. I am confident that we have prepared well for the first race.”
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
“We have finished our testing. Today was good and bad; bad because unfortunately Andrea couldn’t ride due to his sickness, so that was a pity. But it’s OK, we’ll just have to finalise things with him during the race weekend. And Alex ended these winter tests with a long run and good pace, so I think we are ready for the GP weekend. Everybody wants to get to the race now, we’re all tired of testing, and we want to know the answers to our questions!”
“I think the three days riding here have been very good, and it’s been a very positive test because we tried many things and we confirmed all these things. We also tried a race simulation and the race pace was quite good, so I’m really excited to start this new season with a lot of confidence, and I think that we have a great package.”
“I’m disappointed I couldn’t ride today, but I was feeling very bad. I tried but it was impossible to go out on track. I felt very sick and weak. Anyway, the progress we’ve done in this last test leaves me quite satisfied, we had two positive days and we have a good base. We missed out on the fine tuning work we were supposed to do today, but we will work hard in free practice before the race to recover the tasks we lost. Apart from my sickness, my feeling is good with the bike and the team.”
TESTS CONCLUDED IN QATAR, APRILIA READY FOR THE RACE
COMFORTING FEEDBACK FOR ESPARGARÓ AND REDDING
The final tests before the start of the 2018 MotoGP Championship, also in Qatar, have just come to a close. For Aprilia these were three important days which provided comforting responses on the level of the new 2018 RS-GP, especially in terms of race pace, as demonstrated by the long-run done by Aleix Espargaró and Scott Redding.
Both riders worked on refinements in view of the race, turning laps with used tyres to improve the performance of their RS-GP machines, a bike for which consistency over several laps is traditionally one of its strong points.
"I can’t wait to be back here in two weeks to really get to work. The tests are important but I’m happier when it’s a race. This year things will be even more interesting because all the teams and riders will be at a very high level. I gave it my best during this pre-season to improve the 2018 RS-GP. It was a pity that a small problem kept me from finishing the race simulation. The truth is that the winter tests are often deceiving. There are a lot of riders who manage to do some fast laps but values will change in the race. I believe in our potential and I am confident that we will be battling for the top 8 straight away."
"We made a nice step forward again today with a few changes that increased my confidence straight away. I did another long run today and I was fast. I felt good on the bike and with a used tyre I did the same time that I had done yesterday with a new tyre. The RS-GP continues to perform very well with the tyres and that is something that has always been a problem for me in the past, whereas even with the soft tyre and a lot of laps I am able to be incisive and that makes me confident for the race."
Zarco concludes final pre-season test superbly on top, while Syahrin shows impressive progress
With a masterful lap of 1:54.029 Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Johann Zarco dominated the MotoGP field on the last day of testing before the start of the 2018 season. The remarkable Frenchman took over the top spot with two hours to go, before he carried out a race simulation in order to be perfectly prepared for the first race, which takes place in two weeks’ time under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit.
On the other side of the Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin improved his pace aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 considerably. The premier class rookie skimmed nearly 1.5 seconds from his best lap on day one to complete what is just his second MotoGP test only 0.141 behind the fastest newcomer of the category, with a fantastic accomplishment to reach the top 16 overall. Both, Zarco and Syahrin are eager to commence the season following highly promising signs during their respective preparations.
Position: 1st - Time: 1’54.029 - Laps: 53
"That was a very good third day, I’m delighted to finish with the top lap time. I think it was even possible to ride inside the high 53s, but we have to accept that we have to understand step by step how to ride at this speed. We did some great work with the team and with everything we did during these three days, I felt more confidence and I could work well on this. When I did a very long run to test the race, it was not too fast. I did 17 laps in a row, but probably a bit tired after this intense days here. Anyway, we are constant and I can relax a lot on the bike. I’m really happy about that and I need to keep this feeling in mind to start the race weekend well in a fortnight."
Position: 15th - Time: 1’55.273- Laps: 44
“I’m very happy about this last day. I didn’t expect to be able to ride in the low 55s and keep this pace also consistently. A huge thank you to the Tech3 crew, they did a really good job. We are working hard in order to try to get closer to the top as much as we can. Honestly, this time today was surprising for me. I feel very confident, although I did a small mistake during the race simulation. But we quickly understood it and know what we have to do for race day. I’m very thrilled, thanks again to our team, all the sponsors and fans, they are fantastic!”
CRUTCHLOW FOURTH QUICKEST AS QATAR TEST ENDS
PRESS RELEASE: 03 March 2018 | Qatar Test Day Three
LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow signed off his pre-season testing in positive fashion as he finished fourth fastest on the third and final day in Qatar. The Briton was once again towards the top of the timesheets throughout the day as he completed a total of 57 laps to gain more valuable information on the 2018 RC213V.
During the final hour of the session, Crutchlow took part as the layout was watered to allow riders to test safety in the event of wet conditions at the Losail International Circuit. The 32-year-old feels there is still work to be done ahead of the season-opening race at the same venue in two weeks’ time, but is satisfied with the pace he has generated on his new machinery.
Cal Crutchlow – 4th
(1’54.457 – lap 29 of 57)
“Today was the third day of testing and the final one before the season-opener in two weeks’ time, but we are quite positive about the feeling with the bike in the dry. We definitely still have to improve, but at least the team have the information to work with Honda over the next couple of weeks to evaluate the situation. Our front feeling is not perfect yet, but I was able to be consistently fast over the day which is important”.
“Our problem is the front tyre specifications. None of them suit my riding style it seems, so we’ll have to look at this for the race weekend as it will be crucial. But overall we’re happy enough with today’s performance, I did a 12-lap run that I was happy with. In the wet weather test, I thought the vision was ok, but the track was really slippery and I’m sure we’ll discuss this in the safety commission for the first race in Qatar.”
#QatarTest DAY 3. Fantastic long run for Petrux. Jack finishes in Top 10. See you in 2 weeks!
The last winter tests of the 2018 MotoGP season end with extremely positive results for Alma Pramac Racing. Danilo Petrucci impressed with a great long run and Jack Miller improved his time again and confirmed himself in the TOP 10 (11th in the combined standings) after fifth place in Malaysia and Thailand. At the end of the session, the track was wetted to allow riders to try out the tarmac in wet-conditions.
On the last day of activity on the Losail International Circuit, the main focus is on race simulation. Petrux got off to a strong start in the morning and remained at the top of the standings for a long time. Then he entered the track for the long run, and he shot consistently in low 55s, making him one of the fastest. The rider from Terni also recorded the Top Speed (346.2 km/h today) for the third consecutive day.
Jack Miller also had a good feeling and he pushed a lot in the race simulation, managing to record interesting times between 56.0 and low 56s. In the time attack at the end of the session, the Australian rider then managed to score the Top 10, which gives him great confidence ahead of the race.
8th – Danilo Petrucci 1:54.659
“I'm really happy for the long run. I managed to make a very good race simulation with soft tyres both at the front and rear and this is a really positive fact also because we made very few changes to the bike. I didn't look for lap time but that's not important. Now we have to wait for two weeks but the confidence is very high”.
10th – Jack Miller 1:54.749
“We have also managed to make further improvement today, and that is why I am very pleased. We worked on the set up with choices that gave us positive indications. If I have to be honest, I still have a bit of trouble finding the right grip but during the race simulation I had a good feeling and the race pace was good. I am sure that we can improve further”.
Big gains for Morbidelli on the final day in Qatar
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli made big gains on the third and final day of testing in Qatar, with the reigning Moto2 World Champion going almost a second faster compared to yesterday.
Morbidelli had been struggling to get the best from the softer option Michelin tyres, with a number of minor crashes in Thailand sapping the Italian's confidence as he pushed to reduce the gap to the frontrunners on new tyres.
But solid work from Morbidelli and his crew during the three days in Qatar saw this confidence restored and in his final time attack the MotoGP rookie moved into the top 12 with a time of 1'55.132, to end the test on a high.
Lüthi also saw an improvement in his lap time after completing more than 50 laps of the 5.38km Losail International Circuit today, as he continued working with his crew to increase his understanding and familiarity with the Honda RC213V and Michelin tyres.
The Swiss rider has been playing catch up after missing two tests in 2017 due to injury, but made a big step forward during the second test of the season in Buriram, which he backed up with further progress here in Qatar. Lüthi is the first to admit that the learning curve is still steep, but maybe not quite as precipitous as it was when he threw a leg over the Honda RC213V for the first time in Sepang back in January.
The next time Morbidelli and Lüthi take to the track will be to make their premier class debut at the opening race of the season, which takes place on Sunday 18th March, again at the Losail International Circuit.
Franco Morbidelli: 1'55.132
"We made a fairly big change to the bike for the last part of the test yesterday, but today was more about refining the set up with just a few small changes. Now we've had three days on this track and we've done a lot of laps, which has allowed us to improve our pace and this is the important thing. The three days here in Qatar have gone pretty well, we kept improving and I feel more confortable with the bike, so it's been a good way to end preseason testing. Now testing is done and I'm looking forward to the first race of the season in two weeks time."
Tom Lüthi: 1'56.122
"We had some tyres left, which meant I could put in some laps today and more time on the bike is exactly what I need right now. We started today where we left off yesterday and we saw some improvement, but I'm definitely still looking for more. At the moment it's the same each time for us; working on the bike, trying to understand and, above all else, trying to learn with each exit. What is important is that we've made progress every day of the preseason tests, even on the final day here in Qatar. The feeling is coming better and better and that's exactly what I needed ahead of my first race in MotoGP."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"I think Franco has shown that he's now ready for the first race. He had an issue with getting the best from the soft tyre in Thailand, and crashed a few times as he tried to figure out the process, but that's a scenario common to new riders in MotoGP. But today he mastered the soft tyre, posting a good lap time that compares favourably with the race times from last season, so we're happy with this. On Tom's side there has been constant improvement, even if his position on the timesheet doesn't reflect this, but his lap time is similar to our times from the race last year, the difference is not so big, but everybody is improving and that's how it is in racing. I think that soon we will see Tom make the same step that Franco made today, but we lost some time due to him missing the tests last year. I'm confident that in just one or two races Tom will at the same level as Franco is now."
NEXT CHALLENGE: GRAND PRIX OF QATAR
Ángel Nieto Team complete MotoGP preseason with race simulations for both Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham
Johann Zarco announced his arrival as a MotoGP rider on his debut in Qatar last season, when he led the race for several laps, and he will start his second year at the top level as the man in form after finishing the final preseason test at the Losail circuit with the fastest lap (1'54.029). Zarco finished just a tenth off the best ever lap of Losail, which was set by Jorge Lorenzo in 2008 (1'53.927), with Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow closely behind him as up to twelve riders dipped under the 1'55 mark. Current World Champion Marc Márquez will start his title defence after finishing seventh fastest tonight.
For the Ángel Nieto Team, Karel Abraham finished with a best lap of 1'55.300, which left him sixteenth overall on the final day. The Czech rider completed a sixteen-lap run (the race here on 18th March will be 22 laps), maintaining a pace between 1'55.8 and 1'56.9. Abraham leaves Qatar feeling satisfied with the work done and with the experience gathered on the Ducati GP16. His team-mate Álvaro Bautista, meanwhile, was just 0.047 seconds behind Abraham after himself completing a full race simulation. The Spaniard improved his pace from yesterday but not enough to leave him completely happy as he targets further improvement during the Grand Prix weekend in a fortnight's time.
16th Karel Abraham 1:55.300 (50 laps): “The race simulation we did today was very positive, we set some good times and I am happy with the way it went. In general it has been a good test, we have done a lot of work on the set-up and gathered lots of experience with the new bike. At the end of the day in the wet test I found that the track had much more grip than I expected but the visibility wasn't the best, there were a lot of reflections.”
17th Álvaro Bautista 1:55.347 (58 laps): “Today we tried to work more on improving grip and feeling. We tried some things that didn't work as well as we would have liked. We did improve the feeling but just not as much as we wanted. We also did another race simulation and I was able to go faster than yesterday, just not enough. I would have liked to make more progress today than we did and have a better feeling with the bike, but let's see if we can improve for the race and be more competitive.”
DEMANDING FINAL DAY FOR NAKAGAMI IN QATAR
PRESS RELEASE: 03 March 2018 | Qatar Test Day Three
LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami endured a setback to his preparations for the 2018 MotoGP season on the third and final day of the Qatar test. Having impressed throughout the pre-season sessions, Nakagami suffered a fall at the Losail International Circuit on Saturday that limited his output to just 40 laps.
It meant he was not able to improve his time from Friday and finished down in 21st position on the timesheets. However, the Japanese talent walked away unharmed from the spill and remains upbeat about his chances heading into the first race of the new term – also in Qatar – in two weeks’ time.
Takaaki Nakagami– 21th
(1’55.763 – lap 39 of 40)
“Unfortunately at the beginning of the session, I had a big crash at turn two. I’m really sorry for the team, we lost the one bike and we had to change the planning of everything. I only managed around 30 laps, so today was a bit tricky and not good for the team. But I’m ok, no injuries, no pain, I’m just really looking forward to the race weekend.”
Rabat and Simeon ready to start 2018 season
MotoGP Test Qatar – Losail International Circuit
The last test of the preseason finished today at the Losail International Circuit and Reale Avintia Racing team riders, Tito Rabat and Xavier Simeon, are ready to start the new championship in two weeks.
Apart from that, Rabat and Simeon declared themselves satisfied with the work done during these days and both are already looking forward to return to Losail to start the first race weekend of the year. Homework is done and in two weeks the good starts.
The Spaniard improved again his race pace and, although he also improved his fastest lap, his rivals have also went faster on the last day and he finished the test 19th overall and 1.4 seconds of the frontrunners. He must continue working on the fast lap, but Rabat is confident that with its pace, the race in 15 days will be very different.
His teammate Xavi Simeon also took a big step with the pace and his fast lap today, it was a shame that, when he had more confidence and was pushing with soft Michelin tyres he crashed out in turn 15. Even so the MotoGP ‘rookie’ is happy and willing to debut on this same circuit in two weeks.
Today, the riders finished with an unprecedented test in Qatar and, the 24 of the MotoGP rode in wet conditions in the last 30 minutes of the session and under the flloodlights of the Losail International Circuit. The feelings of the riders have been positive.
Tito Rabat | 1'55.465
“It was a very good test, especially the race pace. I think we are very good in that sense, but honestly, in the fast lap we still have a few tenths to find out to get closer to the top ten. There are just three or four tenths but working more during the race weekend I’m sure that we will make it happen. We worked very well; we completed a good test and now we have to concentrate for the race. I really want to start the season. We haven’t race for a long time now and we want this to start the season and to do it good”.
Xavier Simeon | 1'55.943
“Today I’m very happy with the feeling, we improved my confidence with the bike and now I can feel better the bike. I’m very satisfied with my rhythm; at the end when we went out with a new tyre, I was not able to improve my lap because I crashed. Anyway compared with the rest of the riders, I still need to improve a lot in this sense, but very happy with the race pace. Now I ride in 56 lows, even with used tyres, and this is a very good sign. Today I really have fun on the bike. Now I start to understand more everything, to ride more naturally. In two weeks time the serious stuff starts. I don’t want to put more pressure than usual. I’ll try to follow the line of progression. If I can follow the same dynamic as in this test we can make a good weekend in the first GP”.