2012 Qatar MotoGP Thursday Press Release Round Up

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


The 2012 World Championship officially started today for the MotoGP class, with the first free practice at the circuit of Losail.

Mattia Pasini took advantage of the session on the track to analize the performance of the ART machine here in Qatar, mainly counting on the setting and information that were previously gathered during the winter tests.

Together with his crew, the Italian started the weekend working on the last data from the Irta test in Jerez, focusing on an analysis for the first modifications that will be prepared mostly during tomorrow’s sessions.

Mattia Pasini #54 - 18th with 2'01.261

“This was an important session, the real beginning of the season. I’m not completely satisfied, but generally speaking things didn’t go that bad: we completed as many laps as possible, counting on the information that we gathered in the tests. We put together some important data and tomorrow the real work begins, when we focus on the setting and on possible modifications.”

Good start for the Repsol Honda Team

The 2012 MotoGP World Championship began tonight under the footlights of the spectacular Grand Prix of Qatar.

The Repsol Honda riders took to the Losail circuit for the first time this season in a short free practice of 45 minutes, and started to work on the set up of their RC213V for the opening race of the Championship.

Casey Stoner set the fastest time with 1'56.474 and his team mate Dani Pedrosa finished fifth with 1'57.130.

The action continues tomorrow with two more practice sessions to prepare for qualifying on Saturday.

CASEY STONER 1st 1'56.474

"The track tonight wasn't so bad, I expected the conditions to be much worse but in general it was ok. We started this evening with huge chatter issues and I was a little afraid we couldn't fix this but after a few more exits we managed to reduce it to a more comfortable level. This is a positive point for the weekend but with such a short session and then nothing until tomorrow it's slightly strange. It was an ok start tonight, we finished quickest which is good but we'll have to wait until tomorrow for some real track time and with the conditions a little better and see where we are".

DANI PEDROSA 5th 1'57.130

"There are some corners where we are struggling a lot with the chattering, especially in the area where you slide more, but it's like this and we will need to adapt the best we can. On my first exit I had an issue with the tyres and I had to stop in the garage; I felt a vibration in the wheels, so we decided to change both tyres. I lost some time there and at the end of the practice I went wide twice. Anyway, it's been good to go out there and get the feeling back at this track after a long time without riding here. Tomorrow, with two practices sessions, we will start working more with the chassis and electronics to improve and prepare for the race".

The Wait is Over as MotoGP Begins in Qatar

The long winter wait is finally over as the MotoGP grid took to the track this evening under the spectacular floodlights of the Losail circuit for the first session of the 2012 season. Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies took up where they left off in winter testing, putting in quick, consistent competitive laps from the start. Texan Spies led for a good part of the session and was the first rider to break under the 1’57 second barrier. He finished the session in fourth, 0.508 seconds from top. Team mate Lorenzo was quick to follow, delivering a blistering 1’56.648 in the last minutes to wrap up in second just 0.174 seconds from first.

There was no dramatic changes to either riders bikes for this first session, the cobwebs were blown off and the base set up was assessed for the Losail circuit.

Jorge Lorenzo
Position : 2nd Time: 1'56.648 Laps: 13

“A quite good start, the track seems pretty dirty though, we are very far from the lap times of last year but that’s the same for everybody. I feel good, we are in the top close to Casey and we have improvements to come tomorrow from the bike, the track and myself. At the end we made a small change to gain some rear grip on all the corners which helped drop the lap time.”

Ben Spies
Position : 4th Time: 1'56.982 Laps: 17

“I was happy with tonight, we were generally pretty close to the top. The bike seemed to work pretty well; we made just two small changes to it and kept the same set of tyres on the whole time. We made our fastest lap when the tyre had dropped off with almost race distance on it. I’m quite pleased with how the bike performed. We’ve tested at Sepang, Jerez and here and the bike has been good at all three so I’m happy with the bike, the team and myself. We’ve just got to keep rolling and keep the momentum going.”

Wilco Zeelenberg
Team Manager

“That’s the first free practice done, P2 is quite good and we’re happy to be there just one tenth from Casey. It seems to be that what we’ve learnt and solved over the wintertime is working here. Jorge is riding very well, calm and relaxed and focused so I believe we can make some more steps forward when the track is a little cleaner and get faster. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

Massimo Meregalli
Team Director

“It’s definitely a good start for us. I think everything we saw in the winter tests meant we were confident we could come here and do well. We led the practice for a while and we had a very consistent pace and were able to put in fast laps with a used tyre. What a promising start, the base of the bike is really good as you can see with four Yamaha’s up there being competitive from the start.”

Nicky Hayden third, Valentino Rossi tenth on day one in Qatar

The 2012 MotoGP World Championship kicked off this evening at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit, where the first free-practice session of the new season took place under the lights.

On a dirty track surface, Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi spent the single 45 minute session working on finding a race setup, as well as continuing to familiarize themselves with the still-new Desmosedici GP12. Toward the end, the American managed to post the third-fastest time of the session, while Rossi, who used just a single hard tyre, finished the night tenth-quickest.

Tomorrow evening will find the MotoGP riders participating in two more free practice sessions, with qualifying to take place on Saturday night and the first race of the year on Sunday evening.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 3rd (1:56.924)

“The first session went well. This track is a lot different than what we experienced in Jerez, more open and a lot wider. It was quite dirty and not very grippy, which helped us a bit. We started off on the hard tyre and then switched to the soft for the last exit, and I was able to do a nice lap. In general we were pretty fast and consistent, and I’ve certainly had worse sessions here, but we’ll just stay calm, keep trying to improve and try to get a good grid spot on Saturday night. It’s just one session, and there’s a long way to go. Sunday night is what counts, and it would be nice to get this team a result it deserves.”

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 10th (1:57.914)

“It’s the first practice and I used the hard tyre the whole session, trying to do a lot of laps in order to understand it. The new tyre is much better for warming up, so good for safety, but it started to slide a lot after some laps and made some of the understeer worse. We have to work with the setting and also the electronics. The soft will be important for Saturday, but the hard will be the tyre for the race. Tomorrow we’ll try to do better.”


The 2012 MotoGP season has officially started this evening in Doha, where the rider of the Pramac Racing Team has completed the first laps of the Grand Prix of Qatar.

The white green rider had access to a session of 45 minutes to improve his bike for Sunday’s race.

Hèctor Barberà - Pramac Racing Team Rider - 9th best lap time in 1.57.912

“I’m happy with how we are working on during the free practice of today. I had a good feeling with my Ducati and we had a good pace race.We had a few small issues with the front tyre that took quite a lot of time out of our session today.We made several runs to test both the hard and the soft tyres, but the general situation didn’t improve. However we are confident on the work done and we should be able to change the situation.”

Francesco Guidotti - Pramac Racing Team Manager -

“Overall we had a good turn of free practice. The bright spot is that we have a good feeling between the Team and our rider. The fastest Ducati’s rider is Nicky Hayden and we have to work on his race pace to improve our lap time and achieve a good spot on the grid.”


The first day of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship took place today under the impressive floodlights of the Losail Circuit in Qatar. Alvaro Bautista spent the opening free practice session on the same tyre throughout and although he has yet to find full confidence with the Honda RC213V around this track he is not too far from the top times. Team San Carlo Honda Gresini's CRT project made an impressive start to life in MotoGP, meanwhile, with Michele Pirro lapping just three tenths shy of the best of the new breed on board the Honda CBR1000R powered FTR machine.

Alvaro Bautista (7° 1’ 57” 512) “The 2012 season is finally underway on a track that always has grip problems in the first session. We have tried to work to find a good feeling for the bike but I had some problems in corner entry with a little front end chatter that prevented me from being able to push. We used the same hard rear tyre for the whole session and with the track in these conditions that gave us a lot of spinning that made it difficult to get on the gas, so tomorrow we will work with the electronics and the chassis geometry and try to improve my overall confidence with the bike. ”

Michele Pirro (15° 2’ 00” 322) “The first day hasn't gone bad at all, we have tried to get as many laps in as possible to get confident with this bike at this track, having never ridden it here before. We continued the work we started at Jerez and made gradual progress. I have great confidence in the team and I am more and more certain that we will get more competitive as the season progresses. Unfortunately the bike is still very young, with only a few hundred kilometres on the clock, so like everything it will need time. I have the right people around me though and I will try to improve in every session. I didn't expect to be just three tenths behind De Puniet, who is an experienced rider on a competitive CRT bike, so that's a nice start for me and my guys.

Fausto Gresini “The first session hasn't gone badly. Bautista's race pace is not far off the top guys and we still haven't used the soft tyre so I'm pretty satisfied. We are working towards the race and we have some ideas that should help Alvaro gain confidence with the bike. Pirro's performance was a nice surprise, with just three tenths separating him from the best of the CRT bikes, which is incredible considering how new our bike is. Overall a positive start.”

Stoner lights up Losail in first practice session

Round 1: Qatar MotoGP - Free Practice One

Losail International Circuit, Thursday 5 April 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Extra-Hard; Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)

Weather: Dry. Ambient 27-27°C; Track 30-29°C (Bridgestone measurement)

The first laps of the 2012 season were completed tonight at the Losail International Circuit, with Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner taking first place in a session that saw the highly anticipated return of the 1000cc machines to competitive MotoGP action.

Stoner’s best time of 1:56.474 saw him finish almost two-tenths faster than Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and a half second ahead of a determined Nicky Hayden aboard the Ducati GP12, though the reigning champion’s time was set on the harder rear tyre, with Lorenzo and Hayden setting their benchmark times on the softer rear option.

With no pre-season test at Qatar this year, teams spent the first session evaluating many front and rear tyre combinations as they unleashed their new 1000cc machines onto the Losail Circuit for the first time. Track temperatures hovered around the 30°C mark for the first practice session, but patches of sand around the circuit made conditions less than ideal for fast running.

The next free MotoGP practice session is scheduled for tomorrow evening at 1800 local time (GMT+3).

Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

“As is often the case at Qatar, track conditions for the first practice session were not ideal today with a lot of sand on the circuit, but the feedback we got from the riders that the 2012 specification tyres were handling the variable track conditions very well.

“Due to the changing track conditions and perhaps also the riders using their new 1000cc motorcycles at Qatar for the first time, there was no preferred front and rear tyre combination among the riders during the first session. Finding a race setup at Qatar can be difficult as the track temperatures during the race can be lower than during practice, so we consider this fact when choosing our tyre allocation and advising teams on what tyre combination might work best for them.”

Crutchlow and Dovizioso off to fast start in Qatar

Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso began their preparations for the opening round of the new 1000cc MotoGP World Championship campaign in positive fashion in Qatar tonight, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders reeling off fast and competitive times throughout the opening practice session.

British rider Crutchlow produced one of the standout performances of the opening night at the floodlit Losail International Circuit, having led the timesheets shortly after the halfway point of the 45-minute practice session.

A lap of 1.57.601 rocketed the 26-year-old from 12th to first position and he was able to improve his pace to a 1.57.395 at the end of the session to finish in a hugely encouraging sixth position.Crutchlo w used just one soft compound rear Bridgestone tyre for the duration of the session and he is confident had he switched to fresh rubber in the final stages he could have posted an even more competitive lap time.

The former World Supersport champion though was the leading non-factory rider and his best time was less than 0.5s away from the top three.

Dovizioso was also satisfied with his evening's work, the experienced Italian continuing the process of learning how to get the best out of his YZR-M1 machine in less than ideal conditions.

Strong winds earlier in the day meant sand and dust had been blown onto the track from the surrounding desert landscape, and Dovizioso concentrated on improving rear grip on his way to setting the eighth fastest time.

His quickest lap of 1.57.547 was less than 0.2s behind Crutchlow and he is o ptimistic of making progress up the leaderboard with a cleaner track offering more grip tomorrow night.

Cal Crutchlow 6th 1.57.395 - 17 laps:

“That's not a bad way to start 2012 at all and I'm pretty happy to be in the top six. At the start of the session I was way down and not really going as quick as I should, but once I got my head down and got into a good rhythm I was always around the top six and that is very positive. I didn't change anything on the bike at all and I kept the same soft rear tyre on throughout, so I'm sure had we put in a new tyre at the end like some of the others did, I could have been a bit faster and possibly inside the top four. I'd like to get the bike turning better but I'm not going to complain starting the new season inside the top six. It is a good platform to build on for the rest of the weekend and now I'm really looking forward to the race on Su nday night."

Andrea Dovizioso 8th 1.57.512 - 16 laps:

“I'm satisfied with the first session and the feeling with the bike was immediately good. Straightaway I had a better feeling at the beginning than I did at the last test in Jerez, so we could work on improving the bike. I still need to understand how to use the maximum potential of the Yamaha. It has some very good points, which I like a lot, but I know in some parts I can be faster, particularly on the exit of the corner. We need to improve in that area but I know we have some good ideas for tomorrow and I am confident we will make the bike better. The gap to the front is quite big at the moment but tomorrow the conditions will be better and I am sure I will be much closer.”


Losail, 5th of April: lights on for the first round of the 2012 campaign at Losail state-of-the-art race track with premier class riders and Teams fine-tuning their prototypes during the first 45-minute free session held tonight at 20:00 pm local time.

The LCR racer Stefan Bradl was impatience to join the desert track aboard his Honda RC213V after the good feedback he had in Jerez 10 days ago. The 22-year circulated the track 16 times posting the 12th fastest lap time overall (1’58.934) but he experienced chattering issues which affected his riding style.

Stefan : “Well.. it was not so good as I expected because we are a little bit too far away. But I am pretty sure we know we are in a difficult set up direction because I feel very hard to go into the corners. This layout is completely different compared to Jerez where I loaded the front so I feel that our bike needs some more weight in the front. We made a little change during the session but it was not enough and we used just one set of tyres so we have plenty for the other days. The overall situation is ok but I am sure we can do better than this”.


Aleix Espargaró seven tenths shy of team-mate after struggling for front grip

The 2012 MotoGP World Championship officially got underway at 19:55 local time tonight (GMT+3) beneath the glare of the Losail Circuit floodlights. The Grand Prix of Qatar started a day earlier than usual in order to give each category the required track time after dark, with the MotoGP class heading out for a single 45-minute session. Cal Crutchlow and Ben Spies set the early running but as expected it was Casey Stoner who reacted the strongest to set the pace at the top of a 21-strong field.

POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaró were thirteenth and sixteenth fastest respectively, the Frenchman again setting the pace amongst the new breed of CRT MotoGP machines. Riding the ART prototype, De Puniet benefitted from some notable changes to his gearbox setting today, allowing him to set some impressive lap times despite a distinct lack of grip and some suspension problems. Espargaró struggled a little more than his experienced team-mate to adapt his bike to the slippery conditions but he was still the fourth quickest CRT bike on track, some 4.2 seconds off Stoner's pace.

13th Randy De Puniet 1.59.985 (15 laps): "We are the fastest CRT bike again, which is positive for me. We struggled quite a lot with the suspension but that is to be expected because this was the first session, the track was dirty and quite slippery. We tried a couple of things that didn't work as we hoped, as well as working on the electronics and gearbox settings. It is day one and we have made a good start, if not as good as we hoped. We'll get faster tomorrow though because we know what we need to do to improve the suspension."

16th Aleix Espargaró 2.00.720 (14 laps): "We have started well and even though there wasn't much grip the bike was predictable. We managed to gradually improve grip and then when we put a soft tyre in the rear we ended up with the same traction problems on the front that we had at Jerez. The front was a little unstable under acceleration too so we have to work out why that happened. We thought we'd be struggling more than we are in terms of power and top speed here compared to the factory bikes although we are losing out a lot in acceleration. I think we can close the gap to the guys in front of us, we just have to keep working."


While the sun goes down in the desert, the lights are turned on over the Losail Circuit for the first free practice of the Gran Prix of Qatar, inaugural race of the 2012 season. This practice began on Thursday to allow the Moto3s and the CRTs to collect more datas as possible on this new track for them.

Absolute debut inside the Came Iodaracing Team both for the TR003 and for his riderPetrucci. Danilo tried to learn the layout and the right line of the track where he never race, also trying for the first time the experience of riding in nighttime. At the end of the prctice the young rider gets the twentieth place with the time 2'01.352 at 4.878 from Stoner.

Good debut in Moto2 for Simone Corsi that at the end of the two practice gets the thirteenth place with 2'01.899 at 1'132 from Luthi. The Came Iodaracing Team rider has closed the first free practice nr.1 at the fifth place showing to have found a good feeling with his FTR after the problems of Jerez IRTA Test.

Some mechanical problems spoil the first race in Moto3 for Luigi Morciano and Jonas Folger. Some problems to TR002 gear box forced the Italian rider to participate to both the practice while the young German has completedonly eight laps. The technicians Emir and Iodaracing technicians are working hard for allowing the two riders to participate in tomorrow's practice.

"It was a very particular experience - Petrucci said - is very difficult to learn in hurry a new track and do it during the night is very strange! I am quite satisfied, we hadn’t any problem and the grip of the TR003 is good. I am just worried for my right arm because Ihave the same pain of Jerez and this gives to me many problems when I’m riding my bike”.

"I am happy for the result of today - Corsi said - after all the problems of the tests of Jerez, now I have a good feeling with my bike. We must still improve the grip of the back that slips a little bit, but I am sure that in the next days we could fight for the first positions”.


Back to top


So the Dukes are not slow. That would've been truly surprising. HP has never been their problem in GP's. Yes they may have chassis issues, but nothing that sounds any worse than Honda. All riders seem to be able to dial problems out to a greater or lesser degree, or compensate with their riding. Set-up and riding skill will as ever be the defining factor.