2015 MotoGP Qatar Test Day 1 Press Releases

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


Top ten for Redding on opening day in Qatar

Losail, Qatar – 14 March 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider, Scott Redding, declared himself satisfied with his progress after finishing inside the top ten on the opening day in Qatar.

Redding posted his best lap during the penultimate hour-long session, with a time of 1’56.112 leaving him just 0.847s off the fastest time of the day, set by Andrea Iannone.

More importantly, the 22-year-old Briton ended the day just over half a second behind reigning MotoGP World Champion, Marc Marquez, who was third on the timesheet and the fastest of the riders without access to the softer option tyre.

Redding stopped testing with 30 minutes of the final session left to run, as condensation on track made conditions tricky, but he returns tomorrow determined to improve further.

Scott Redding – 10th – 1’56.112

“I’m happy with today, mainly because we didn’t really change much on the bike at all, other then throwing tyres and fuel into it. I felt comfortable on the bike from the start today and that helped to build my confidence, which is the most important thing. I’m going faster, closing on the guys at the top of the timesheet, so we’re coming across things that we can improve with the bike. Even so, I still feel I’ve got a few tenths in my pocket, especially as we spent today on the harder tyre. We won’t make any big changes for tomorrow, other than to try a couple of setting changes so Chris and me can see how the bike reacts. Overall today has been a pretty solid start to the test.”

Stefan Prein: Rider Coach

“Scott was a lot more confident going into this test than he was in Sepang. He looked more relaxed on the bike from the start of the first session today and he improved with every pit exit. Bridgestone brought two new front tyres to Qatar, which seemed to suit Scott’s style very well, further boosting his confidence. He did a good job today, but we have some ideas for tomorrow that we hope will bring further improvements. Overall this was a very positive start and I hope we can continue in the same direction for the remaining two days here in Qatar.”


FIRST DAY OF MOTOGP TESTS AT LOSAIL (QATAR)

Losail (Qatar), 14 March 2015 – The first session of night testing on the Qatar circuit has the riders, Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri, working hard testing the many changes made by the Noale factory.

The tests, organised over three days, are the last trials scheduled before the launch of the MotoGP season, which will also be held on this circuit and at night on 29 March.

The four RS-GP bikes available for the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini at Losail represent yet another step forward with respect to the versions initially seen during the Spanish tests at Valencia and Jerez and then during the February test sessions in Malaysia. Along with changes to the frame came new electronic management strategies. These are all changes that need to be tested throughout a season that promises to be one of trial and growth for the Italian team, which chose to jump straight into the racing mix a year ahead of the originally scheduled plans.

Marco was only able to begin the work scheduled for today as he was hindered by an extremely irritating flue that initially limited his performance and then even forced him to end his track day early for a visit to the Mobile Clinic.

Bautista was able to lap more consistently to “smooth out” his RS-GP, and this is the most important information for a project that needs time and testing to grow.

In the end 53 total laps were put in, 34 for Bautista (with a best time of 1.58,459) and 19 for Melandri (1.58,990).

ALVARO BAUTISTA

“Today we worked quite a bit on the electronics to improve going into turns and rear grip. Even after changing bikes I still continued testing the electronics. Toward the end of the session we also tested the new material. We had some good results, so tomorrow we'll pick up our work from here to improve further.”

MARCO MELANDRI

“Unfortunately today I was very ill and I was only able to take a few laps. Losing time right now is a shame, but I preferred stopping today so that I can take the best possible advantage of the next two days of testing.”


Repsol Honda Team commence final test in Qatar

The concluding pre-season test of 2015 has begun in Qatar’s Losail circuit. The track opened at 16h00 local time but Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa waited to take to the 5.4km track until 18h30 and 19h00 respectively, when conditions were more similar to the race weekend sessions.

As expected the track was very dirty and it took some laps from all the MotoGP riders to clean the sand and create a defined racing line. The conditions slowly improved and allowed both riders to work on general setup as well some clutch settings.

Marc finished the day in 3rd with his time of 1’55.554 on lap 23 of 44. Dani finished 5th – just 0.259 off Marc – with his time of 1’55.813 on lap 31 of 33.

Testing will resume tomorrow from 16h00 – 23h00 local time.

Marc Marquez

3rd 1'55.554 (44 laps)

“I am happy with how today went. In Qatar you always have to be careful on the opening day, because the track is more slippery than normal, but today it was fairly good and you could go fast - although tomorrow we are definitely expecting it to improve further. Today we worked on a few small things such as the clutch and brakes, in order to draw conclusions. Now we have two days ahead in which to focus on our setup."

Dani Pedrosa

5th 1'55.813 (33 laps)

“In Qatar the first day is always difficult due to the conditions of the track. As more rubber is laid down, the grip improves and it becomes cleaner and more comfortable to ride. Hopefully tomorrow the track surface will already be better so we are able to test more things on the bike.”


Avintia Racing unveils the new livery in Qatar

Avintia Racing MotoGP – Winter Test 2015 – Qatar

The Avintia Racing Team has unveiled the new livery for the 2015 season today in the Losail International Circuit. The paddock and the fans around the world liked the new Avintia logo together with the corporate blue and the Ducati red. After the unveiling of the new colours of their Ducati Desmosedici GP14.1, Hector Barbera and Mike Di Meglio went out on track to continue working ahead the first race of the season that will be in this same circuit in just two weeks time.

Hector Barbera made a strong start and after his first run he was in the top places of the time sheets, then he tried a new engine evolution that came for this test from Borgo Panigale, but he didn’t felt comfortable on the bike. Then he had a minor crash and together with his crew decided to stop the test to come back tomorrow and work with the same bike he dominated the Open class every day during the last test in Sepang.

Mike Di Meglio made a big step today in Qatar and during the day he has been on top of the Open class. Has his teammate Mike finished before the scheduled time, but the French rider of the Avintia Racing team knows better the Ducati Demosedici and he is showing it on the time sheets.

HECTOR BARBERA #8 21st 1'57.405 / @HectorBarbera

Today was a difficult day. In my first run I had really good feeling and I’ve made my best lap time, but then I tried another bike with an evolution engine, that was supposed to be better, but after just few laps I realized that I was not comfortable. I went back on my bike, but we suffered a technical problem and I had to ride again the new bike. After two laps I’ve crashed, the feeling wasn’t good, the new configuration makes the bike feel different, so I decided to finish the day. But anyway I’m happy because with the bike I know better the feeling was great and I didn’t use any soft tyre. We have two more days to work o the bike and keep improving.

MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 16th 1’56.719 / @Mikejpp63

We start working with the same base set up from Sepang and to be honest it was a very interesting day. I felt really good on the bike, in these two weeks I’ve been training hard, I’ve lost five kilograms and I feel better on the bike and I’m able to push harder. I think we still have room to improve a lot, but anyway I’m happy because I’ve been all the day on top of the Open class, so I think that it was a very good first day. To be the best Open bike is our target, we have to more days to improve, but the most important thing is to prepare the first race in the best possible way.


Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Begins Final Preseason Test in Qatar

Losail International Circuit (Qatar), 14th March 2015

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team took to the Losail International Circuit today for the final official preseason three-day test of 2015. Riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi continued to work on perfecting the set-up of their Yamaha YZR-M1s before the first race to be held at the same track in two weeks time.

The first day of testing started off slowly, with most of the teams opting to wait out the afternoon until the temperatures cooled, so conditions were closer to those of the traditional night race of Losail.

Jorge Lorenzo had a challenging start to the test, with a lack of grip on the slippery track slowing him down. Having waited until after 6pm local time before heading out, he rode a 1’57.351s lap and moved up to seventh place in the provisional session standings. He improved his times throughout the session and finished the day in sixth place on the timing sheets with a best time of 1’55.828s, +0.563s off the front.

Teammate Rossi also experienced some difficulties. An unlucky crash at turn eight on his third lap lost him one of his three sets of tyres for today’s session. Despite this misfortune, the uninjured nine-time World Champion soon got back on his way and rode his YZR-M1 to provisional tenth place with a lap of 1’57.557s. He later improved his time to seventh quickest with a 1’55.938s lap. The two remaining sets of tyres were not enough for him to take part in the time attack at the end of today’s session and as the pace of the field quickened he dropped one place, ending the day in eighth place, + 0.673 off the front.

Jorge Lorenzo

6th / 1'55.828 / laps

“It’s been very difficult to get onto the pace today. We don’t exactly know what happened, but it looks like we need much more grip on the rear when we enter the corners. I think we are still very far from our limit. The track is not very grippy, especially on the entry of the corners and also the curbs are very slippery and bumpy, so the track conditions are a bit strange compared to last year"

Valentino Rossi

8th / 1'55.938 / laps

“At the end today it was not so bad. I had a quite good pace, we worked a little bit on the bike and we improved the setting. Unfortunately I had a crash at the beginning of the session. Fortunately I was not injured, but I did have one less tyre so I had to work the whole day with two sets and I was not able to do the time attack at the end. The feeling is quite good for the first day, the lap times are not so bad and it looks like this year’s battle will be very hard because all the bikes and the riders are very strong. Tomorrow we have to continue to work on the bike. We don’t have a lot of new things, but we’ll work on the balance and the setting and will try to improve the lap time.”

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

“The plan today was to work on the settings for both Jorge and Vale and also to work on the braking to keep closing the gap to our competitors. Jorge worked hard with his crew from the beginning but was still looking for a comfortable pace and set up at the end of the session. Unfortunately Vale had a strange crash after just three laps going into turn eight and so we lost one set of tyres and some valuable time. Fortunately he was uninjured which is the most important thing. We are not completely satisfied at the end of today with our position but as always will work on solutions both tonight and in the morning to be ready to make improvements and step closer to the front.”


Ducati Team riders get off to a superb start on day 1 of testing in Qatar. Iannone 1st and Dovizioso 2nd with the new Desmosedici GP15.

Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso were on great form today on the opening day of the three-day IRTA test taking place at the Losail circuit in Qatar. After running in the leading positions throughout the session, the two Ducati Team riders finished the day in the top two slots.

Iannone took to the track at around six o’clock in the afternoon and concentrated on testing the new Desmosedici GP15. He completed 50 laps, setting his quickest time in 1’55.265 on lap 30 and topping the timesheets at the end of the day.

Dovizioso on the other hand began his testing schedule right at the start of the session, around four o’clock, and completed a few laps with the Desmosedici GP14.3 before stepping onto his GP15 and continuing on the same bike until the end of the day. He did a total of 48 laps, the best of which was 1’55.363, and finished the session in second place.

Also out on track was Michele Pirro, test-rider for the Ducati Test Team. Pirro did a total of 53 laps on his Desmosedici GP14.3 during which he continued with development work and concentrated above all on new software. Michele ended the day in 23rd place and with a time of 1’57.664.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’55.265 (1st), 50 laps

“For sure it was a positive first day, and we are learning more and more about the Desmosedici GP15 and its reactions. Today we carried out the schedule we had planned at the start of the day and we managed to get through everything we had to do. Now our engineers will have even more information to evaluate the situation, and in any case we were always quick. I am happy because we are improving every time we go out onto the track.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’55.363 (2nd), 48 laps

“I am very satisfied with this first day here in Qatar, because we immediately got off to a fast start and this is always important. For sure we still have a lot of work to do because there are a few aspects of the GP15 that we have to improve before we arrive at the race, but I am happy with the base settings we have established here. Tomorrow we’ll do some important tests to better understand our new bike, but as I said before today was a very positive start."


Tech3 duo continue pre season in the desert

Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Bradley Smith fought the dusty track conditions on the opening day of the final pre season test in Qatar to finish in 9th position as the start of the 2015 campaign draws closer. The young British rider jumped back on his Yamaha YZR-M1 and set 43 laps as he undertook a shake down and reconfirmed the setup options which he established in Sepang. Despite the track surface being sprinkled with dust at the beginning of the session, Smith got to work in the desert and produced a best time of 1’55.954 on his 41st lap. This result left him only four tenths of a second back from 3rd and the British rider optimistically looks to make further steps forward tomorrow.

Meanwhile on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Pol Espargaro concluded the first day in 14th after posting a best time of 1’56.615, which he set on his 31st lap. As the sun set, Espargaro battled onwards and tirelessly ran a total figure of 50 laps, the joint highest number completed, whilst undertaking adjustments to his Yamaha YZR-M1. The young Spaniard will be back in the saddle tomorrow afternoon where he will intend to bridge the gap to the leading MotoGP riders as there are two additional days of testing left at the Losail International circuit in Qatar which is the scene of the opening race on the 29th of March.

Bradley Smith

Position : 9th Time : 1'55.954 Laps : 43

"It’s very nice to be back at Qatar which is a track that I enjoy and I have had some good results at in the past. Overall, I am quite satisfied with my performance on the first day and to finish only four tenths from third is positive. We didn’t change the base setup which we were using in Sepang, aside from a few small modifications which were necessary, so we know we did a great job in Malaysia. Today I concentrated on undertaking long distance runs in order to prepare myself for race situations with the overall conclusion being positive. For sure, there is a bit of a gap to the front but the riders who were using a softer tyre obviously had an advantage because the grip level was low, as it always is on the first day at Qatar. However, this is likely to improve in the next two days and when this happens we will have more grip especially in the corners which is where our strengths are, so I feel confident about lowering my time further and moving up the field."

Pol Espargaro

Position : 14th Time : 1'56.615 Laps : 50

"It was a tricky start to the three day test in Qatar and to be honest, I didn’t feel as comfortable as I would have liked to as the conditions were strange and I wasn’t totally happy on the bike. The main issue was the front feeling as I didn’t have a lot of feedback from it. Because of this, I couldn’t feel how hard I was braking nor could I gauge the level. It was truly challenging but it could be because of the different compound of tyre that we used, which was not the same as last year. However, tomorrow we will try the other tyre option which is closer to what we used twelve months ago. There are still two days left, so we remain positive and I am sure we can make some steps forward."


CRUTCHLOW IMPRESSES ON DAY ONE OF FINAL TEST

The final official MotoGP test of the 2015 pre-season got under way at Losail in Qatar today, with the CWM LCR Honda Team looking to fine-tune their motorcycles before the season proper begins in under two weeks time at the same track in the Gulf state. The opening race in Qatar takes place under floodlights, and although the track was open from 4pm in the afternoon, it wasn’t until the sun had dropped behind the horizon that the hard work could begin in earnest.

Cal Crutchlow arrived at the desert track in fine form, having been third quickest overall at the previous test session in Malaysia, and the Briton’s pace continued to be strong as he set the seventh fastest time of the evening, a 1’55.837.

The 29 year-old worked tirelessly alongside his CWM LCR Honda Team once more as they endeavour to solve the front-end niggles that have become the final piece in the puzzle of his Honda RC213V; a bike he rides for the first time this season.

Crutchlow and the team have another two days of testing at Qatar before the first practice session of the MotoGP World Championship takes place on Thursday March 26th.

Cal Crutchlow #35, 1’55.837 (lap 26 of 38)

“Today was a good day, I felt confident riding and I only used two sets of the four tyres available to us so this is good for the other days. We worked on more of a ‘long-distance’ setting for the bike – we weren’t really looking for a lap-time and I feel confident that we could make the lap time if we really needed it. Tomorrow will be the day we’ll do some longer runs though to go with it.”

“We had to be a bit careful with the track conditions today because between 4pm and 6.30pm the track was too hot, and we’d be wasting tyres. Then from about 10pm the track had a lot of dew on it. We have to be careful of the situation as regards that and just stick to our plan which is to work from seven until ten, which is why we didn’t do as many laps as we wanted. But we’re happy enough.”


MILLER MUCH HAPPIER AS FINAL QATAR TEST BEGINS

The final official MotoGP test of the 2015 pre-season got under way at Losail in Qatar today, with the CWM LCR Honda Team looking to fine-tune their motorcycles before the season proper begins in under two weeks time at the same track in the Gulf state. The opening race in Qatar takes place under floodlights, and although the track was open from 4pm in the afternoon, it wasn’t until the sun had dropped behind the horizon that the hard work could begin in earnest.

For Jack Miller it was the first time at the desert track on board a MotoGP machine, but the circuit holds happy memories for the Aussie after having taken his very first Grand Prix victory there on his Moto3 bike last year. That seemed to boost the Australian’s confidence and he was clearly much happier at the venue than at the previous test in Malaysia, as he set about continuing his adaptation to the Honda RC213V-RS he will campaign in the premier class of MotoGP this year.

He ended the evening with the 19th best lap of the day, but crucially he was less than two seconds behind the fastest rider on the evening, Andrea Iannone – the closest he has been during pre-season tests so far.

Miller admitted he wasn’t getting too carried away with his progress however, and recognised that the team have another two days of testing at Qatar before the first practice session of the MotoGP World Championship takes place on Thursday March 26th.

Jack Miller #43, 1’57.228 (lap 43 of 49)

“I’m really happy with how the test went today, because we’re not so far away from where we want to be now, We’re inside the two-second barrier, just 1.9 to the front today, but we can’t celebrate yet because this is just testing and we still have a lot of work to do so I can be more comfortable with the bike.”

“It definitely feels good though, as we’ve worked hard for the last couple of weeks and I feel I’ve increased my fitness another step and it seems to be paying off so far. So we’ll continue to put in the hard work.”


Track debut under the lights of Qatar for Athinà Forward Racing

A little less than a week after the official presentation of the team in Milan, Athinà Forward Racing made its debut in Doha in the first of three scheduled days of testing. The ongoing pre-season test in Qatar is an opportunity for the team not only to reveal the new livery and sponsors, but also to try the new aerodynamics.

Overall it was a day of intense work for Stefan Bradl, who was not at his best due to some health issues, finishing 18th overall with a time of 1.57.156 while his teammate Loris Baz was 20th with a personal best of 1.57.376.

The German completed 26 laps on his Forward Yamaha bike focusing his work mainly on the setup and the electronics. It was a different approach for Loris Baz who was more keen in getting more familiar with the new bike and also in improving his pace on the long run.

Stefan Bradl

"Earlier this week I was not felling very good. I had stomach problems and I’m not 100% in shape. I though I was ok, but when I got on the bike I was really not feeling comfortable. I was forced to stop without being able to complete the program we had in mind. I hope to recover and to be able to make the most of the last two days of this test".

Loris Baz

"It 's been a good day. The feeling is better than in Sepang II and this is a good starting point for this last three days of pre-season testing. I tried several new things today and I focused my work on the race pace. I’m glad of what we have achieved and I think tomorrow we will be able to significantly improve our lap".


TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR POSITIVE AFTER QATAR 1ST DAY TEST

Team Suzuki Press Office – March 14.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR took to the track for the first day of testing at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar today, the final official MotoGP test before the season-opening round here at the end of the month with a positive result.

Both Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales spent their time finding the best way to learn the circuit with their machines, making step-by-step improvements that kept them in the high-end of the day’s classification, although the main objective of the team’s testing today was to find an optimal performance at a race-pace.

The more-experienced Espargaro focused on finalising the traction control configuration to find the best grip on the rear, trying both his fastest lap with soft tyres and his longer runs with a hard-compound tyre. At the end of the day he set the fourth-fastest time with a best-lap of 1:55.698 in his 33rd of 44-laps and just 0.433-seconds away from leader Andrea Iannone.

Rookie Viñales also had a positive day getting more-familiar with his GSX-RR, although he suffered two minor crashes that prevented him scoring a better single-lap performance, but he managed to improve his pace and collect valuable information and data for evaluation by his team. The young Spaniard ran a total of 42 laps, scoring a best-time of 1:56.151 at the very end of his session, which placed him 11th overall and only 0.018s from the top 10.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“It has been a positive first day of testing here in Qatar. The track is new for the riders with our machines and they both followed the development-plan we decided. Aleix is more experienced and worked hard mainly to prepare for the race, while Maverick took some bigger steps forward getting familiar with the track and bike’s feedback. He had a couple of crashes but of course he is a rookie and needs to get familiar with this circuit; which is very particular for general conditions and temperatures. So far the evolution process is fulfilling our expectations so we keep on with the plan we had, mainly focusing on getting prepared to the race.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“Today we focused on adapting the set-up to the track, which is new for us, and to get well-prepared for the race. Lap times are not so bad but there is still room for improvements. We tested both soft and hard tyres: the first one is very competitive, but it is not suitable for this kind of track as it deteriorates pretty quickly. I feel more-confident with the hard tyre, the pace is not that much slower but the grip drops after 10/ 11 laps, so we need to work on electronics and settings to counterbalance this.

“So far we tested the same configuration we ran in Sepang 2, making improvements step-by-step, in particular the traction control which will probably be the key to find consistency with the hard tyre for longer runs. We have some upgrades to test in the next two days but our priority is to find more traction over the distance and to find a comfortable set-up for the race.”

Maverick Viñales:

“I am happy for this first day because I finally had the chance of trying my GSX-RR on a new track. We did a lot of work mainly on my adaptation to the circuit and the finalisation of the set-up and electronics. Losail is a very peculiar environment, I need time to get used to the conditions and to adapt to the bike, but we managed to test some improvements in electronics, in particular the traction control.

“I made a couple of mistakes in braking that led to two crashes, but I’m not worried because I know they were my responsibility and my machine is following the improving process we had planned. We still have many improvements to do, mainly to finalise the new electronics and to get ready for the race, both in fast laps and in pace, but for the moment the feedback is very encouraging.”


2015

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