Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the second day of practice at Qatar:
Marquez maintains Doha domination breaking circuit lap record
In an incredibly close FP3 session Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez remained on top of the timings with his time of 1’54.822, breaking Casey Stoner’s circuit lap record from 2008 (1’55.153). Dani Pedrosa ended the session in fifth place, just 0.202 seconds off his teammate.
Marc has led every session so far in this weekend’s Qatar GP, the opening round of 2015, and his record time which was made on his final flying lap, beat Honda satellite rider Cal Crutchlow’s time by just 0.096s, and ensures he will not need to take part in tomorrow’s Q1. Marc’s teammate Dani Pedrosa finished in fifth place with his time of 1’55.024 and he also qualifies for Q2.
The riders will return on track for tomorrow’s FP4 at 19h55 local time. Then Q1 will take place at 20h35 and Q2 at 21h00 with both sessions expected to be very closely fought battles. Just 1.1 seconds separates the top nineteen riders, with a mere half a second between the top ten riders.
1st 1'54.822 [Lap 15/16]
"Today has been a very good day, because we have improved our pace – which is the most important thing - and tried out a few things that have allowed us to progress. We will see tomorrow if the track conditions stay the same or improve, but today we saw times that were very close; I think that tomorrow they will be even closer. The most important thing will be to continue like this and prepare for Sunday’s race."
5th 1'55.024 [Lap 3/16]
"Unlike yesterday, today we had two practice sessions and we were able to get more of a feel for both the bike and the track. I think that getting into Q1 is good and now we have to focus on tomorrow in order to make the final adjustments to the setup and qualify well for the race."
Challenging Free Practice Sessions for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP at Qatar
Losail International Circuit (Qatar), 27th March 2015
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi faced a difficult and very close second and third free practice session ahead of the Grand Prix of Qatar. The teammates finished in eighth and ninth place respectively in the combined session times.
Lorenzo and Rossi were keen to hit the Losail International Circuit at the start of the morning session. They lined up their YZR-M1s side by side, impatiently waiting for the pit lane light to turn green. However, it soon became apparent that finding the right combination of set-up and tyre would be today‘s biggest challenge.
Jorge Lorenzo showed a quick and consistent pace at the start of FP1. He held fourth place for most of the morning session with a fastest lap of 1‘55.609, but was pushed back two places after a final flurry of activity.
At the end of the second 45 minutes session, the double MotoGP Champion claimed eighth place with a fastest lap of 1‘55.108, less than three-tenths from the leader.
Teammate Valentino Rossi needed a little more time in the morning session to find his pace, as he tried both tyre options. He found a solution towards the end of FP1 and finished right behind his teammate in seventh place with a 1‘55.618 lap.
The afternoon session saw an improvement in time from the nine-time World Champion. He posted a fastest time of 1‘55.192, 0,370s off the front, but was unable to improve his position in the time sheets. He ended the session in ninth place.
8th / 1'55.108 / 18 laps
“It was difficult today, but I feel great on the bike with the soft tyre. We also tried the harder tyre, which is very consistent. I could maybe do around a hundred laps of 1‘56.1 on it, but this is too slow, so, for the moment, I prefer the soft option. We found some problems with the electronics this afternoon that were a little strange. We need to investigate what‘s going on. We‘ll keep working to increase our pace to a high 1‘54, which is our goal. It will be a hard fight for the front row tomorrow, because many riders have the extra soft tyre, that gives them four-tenths of a second. They are also stronger than last year, so it will even be difficult to get a position on the second row, but you never know what will happen. Maybe we can find something that will give us half a second and even let us fight for pole position.”
9th / 1'55.192 / 17 laps
“I am satisfied about today because the minimum target that I set for myself was to be inside the top ten. The last practice session was unbelievable because there are ten bikes within three-tenths of a second. I‘m not happy about my position, but I‘m not far from pole position. To get the pole tomorrow will be very hard, but I want to start a little more in front of the field. We improved the bike and the setting a lot today and my pace is not so bad, it‘s very similar to that of the other top guys. We have to keep working on the tyres, especially the rear. I might be able to use the softer option, but maybe I can also use the hard tyre, so tomorrow will be a very important day to understand which tyre I should use for the race. Right now it‘s 50/50.”
Iannone third and Dovizioso sixth after second day of free practice for Qatar GP at Losail.
Both Ducati Team riders had a good run in today’s two further sessions of free practice held at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Andrea Iannone ended up third overall in the combined standings, just 170/1000ths away from provisional leader Marquez, while Andrea Dovizioso was classified in sixth place, 222/1000ths away from the top.
The overall standings see the entire field pretty close together, with a total of 18 riders covered by less than one second and eight riders separated by less than three-tenths.
Andrea Iannone set his quickest time (1’54.992) on the third lap of today’s second session, the Italian using the hardest compound rear tyre at his disposal (the medium). The man from Vasto then took to the track for the first time ever with side fairings with winglets and continued to lap at a good pace, but he then crashed at Turn 2 on his thirteenth lap, fortunately without any consequences.
Andrea Dovizioso exclusively went out on track today with the winglet version of his Desmosedici GP15 and he set his best time (1’55.044) on his fifteenth lap, after fitting a ‘soft’ rear tyre. Dovi had in any case set some positive times throughout the session, using the medium compound rear tyre option.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) - 1’54.992 (3rd)
“I am satisfied with this second day of testing because in the end we again managed to find the feeling we had in the tests, and we were pretty quick both over one lap and over race pace. It’s a pity about the crash, I came into the turn and the front suddenly closed up on me. We were trying some different settings and I crashed, but luckily I didn’t hurt myself. To avoid crashes here at Losail, they should remove Turn 2 because we always crash at that point! In any case, on the medium tyre we are all pretty much together, while I only tried the soft tyre at the end of FP2, but conditions were not perfect, and so I don’t know how much advantage it will give. In any case in my opinion, from first to fifth place on the same tyre we are all very close.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) - 1’55.044 (6th)
“I am very pleased with the work that we’ve been doing these days, and we succeeded in testing a lot of things, some of which were positive. I don’t yet have a perfect feeling with my GP15, but despite this I managed to lap in 1’55.6 with the used tyre and I think that is a very good pace. However we have to improve because we’re still lacking a bit of stability when braking and this is quite important in view of the race, but we do have the speed and tomorrow we’ve still got a fourth free practice session to work on fine-tuning the bike. My lap on the soft tyre wasn’t perfect but it was important to remain in the top 10, and try out the grip on this tyre in view of tomorrow’s qualifying session.”
ESPARGARO FOURTH IN QATAR MotoGP FP3
Mar 27th, 2015
Team Suzuki Press Office – March 27
Aleix Espargaro put Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s 2015 GSX-RR into fourth position in tonight’s third qualifying session at the Losail Circuit in Qatar as team-mate Maverick Viñales dramatically upped his pace from yesterday.
In the second day of practice and qualifying for Sunday’s season-opening MotoGP™ World Championship race, Espargaro set a best lap-time of 1’54.994; just 0.172-seconds away from provisional pole-setter Marc Marquez. Viñales finished the session 0.854-seconds away from the top-time with a best-lap of 1’55.676; more-than a second quicker than he posted yesterday.
In the first session, both Espargaro and Viñales worked hard to find a good set-up for the race, spending a lot of time on hard tyres, but a small problem with the clutch prevented Espargaro a ‘one-off’ quick-lap with his soft tyres, while Viñales managed to improve his best time on the last lap, eventually running out of fuel just after the flag.
FP3 proved very important for the overall classification and both riders worked on developing their electronics and overall set-ups initially, but then towards the end they used their soft tyres to make their fastest laps. This proved a successful plan for both riders, with Espargaro placing fourth with a lap of 1’54.994s and Viñales 13th with 1’55.676s.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“We are still in free practice but once again it’s a pleasure to see where we are: both riders worked very well and they both encountered a few troubles but they both adapted to the situation. They kept both their calm and their confidence. At the end Aleix finished in a very positive fourth place, making a remarkable one-lap-run, but most-importantly he is also finding a good set-up and confidence with the overall pace. Maverick is a young man, he is also still learning how to use the soft tyre and therefore it is good to see him only 0.854s from the leader. Right now we are satisfied, we will keep-on with our step-by-step approach and we will wait to see what happens in qualifying.”
“The day has been positive. In the first session we improved the traction control and my feeling with the bike got better and better. Also in the second session we worked-on finalising the set-up and we had very positive feedback. We couldn’t try any of the long runs that we wanted because in FP2 we had some little issues that delayed our work, but at the end I managed to make a very good fast lap. I feel confident with both tyre compounds, which is important for qualifying and the race. Now we need to improve a little bit the feeling with the front-end and hopefully validate our potential race pace, while attempting a fastest lap in qualifying to see where we can be on the grid.”
“In the first session I had some issues with the soft front tyre which didn’t give me a proper feeling, while in the second session I immediately found more confidence, even if we didn’t change anything in the set up. It is probably only that I need to learn this new bike and learn further how to manage the soft tyre and give directions to the team. I guess this is why at the end I’m satisfied with the day’s work. We made many steps forward and my fast lap is not so bad. I know I have room for improvement and tomorrow we will try our best to get much further up in qualifying.”
SECOND DAY OF TESTS AT THE QATAR GP. BAUTISTA AND MELANDRI AT WORK ON THE RS-GP BIKES
Losail (Qatar), 27 March 2015 - On the second day of free practice for the Qatar GP the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini was hard at work on new solutions, especially concerning the chassis, on the RS-GP bikes that Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri are riding.
The two 45 minute sessions the teams had were used to search for a solid technical base to build on in order to develop the young Aprilia project. In this phase it is also important to rack up some miles and along with them the information to direct the bike's growth.
In the two Friday sessions Bautista (24th at 1'57,107) and Melandri (25th at 1'58,542) put in a total of 51 laps (26 for Alvaro and 25 for Marco). Both Romano Albesiano (Aprilia Racing Manager) and Fausto Gresini (Team Manager) assessed the work done by the teams positively, naturally in light of the youth of the technical project.
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Responsabile Aprilia Racing)
"Today we worked especially on the setups in search of better load transfer so that the rear tyre will perform better and Alvaro especially had some good feedback today. We also had to face and resolve a few problems that are normal for this stage of the project but which slowed our work down a bit in this last session. Naturally we are hard at work analysing the data in order to make changes."
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
"For us it is always like a test. The project is very young and we need time. Today we tried various bike setups to improve grip and the power transfer to the tarmac. I would like to point out the efforts of everyone on the team which is truly impressive. We are all working hard to streamline this development process. Every time we are on the track we gain new useful information so now we'll analyse all the data collected today and tomorrow we'll be back on the track trying to improve."
"In FP2 we tried a different frame setup to improve the feeling going into turns and to get better traction. The feelings were positive but then a technical problem kept us from taking advantage of the final minutes of the session where we would have liked to have put on the soft tyre. In FP3 a problem with the engine on the second bike kept me from being as fast as I would have liked. The positive side is that the setup we tried in FP2 seems to be a good base for future developments, so tomorrow we'll see if we can try it again more thoroughly and maybe take a few steps forward. We know that in our first year of tests we'll have days where everything goes well and others where we'll have to take on and solve problems, but that's the only way to grow."
"Not much changed compared to yesterday. We made various changes but my situation didn't improve significantly. We're working on the details but I still haven't found that substantial change that I'm trying to achieve. I'll continue to put forth my best effort. My goal now is to point our mechanics in the right direction to improve significantly."
SENSATIONAL SECOND FOR CRUTCHLOW AFTER FP3
The MotoGP World Championship looks to be in rude health after the second and third free practices for the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix, with the field so close that a mere 1.3 seconds separated the top 21 riders. That tightly packed group included the CWM LCR Honda Team duo of Cal Crutchlow and Jack Miller.
Britain’s Crutchlow was once again the standout performer on the evening, and was the only rider to get within a tenth of leader Marc Marquez. He set a stunning lap of 1’54.918 to finish the evening second-fastest, and looks ready to mount a serious challenge for pole position in tomorrow’s qualifying session.
Cal Crutchlow #35, 2nd - 1’54.918 (+0.096, lap 14 of 16)
“Obviously I’m happy enough with the lap time tonight and how things were feeling at the end of the session, but the early part of it was a bit of a disaster. There was a strange feeling with the bike and I was riding around in 18th spot, with the rear not working as it had in the earlier practices. I think we’re on a bit of a different plan to the other guys tyre-wise, so maybe that was why the track felt a lot worse later on.”
“The whole CWM LCR Honda Team are doing a great job though, and we are all working so hard. I’m not sure today’s speed and lap-times are relative to where we will finish the race, but I hope it is! We’re working hard enough, and I’m surprised with how fast we are going with the package we’ve got, but we still need to improve our lap by lap pace and we will be trying to do so overnight.”
Redding makes a big step forward in Qatar
Losail, Qatar – 27 March 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Scott Redding made a significant improvement during this evening’s third MotoGP free practice session, overcoming grip issues to finish 12th and within 0.6s of provisional pole sitter Marc Marquez.
Redding struggled for rear grip and with a lack of feedback from the front tyre during the first free practice session this evening. In the interval his technical crew made significant changes to the set up of the bike, which brought immediate improvements when the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider took to the track for tonight’s second MotoGP free practice.
The 22-year-old Briton bettered his target lap time as the session drew to a close, to finish within 0.6s of the fastest time of the day. However, with the top 17 riders all within a second, it wasn’t enough to elevate Redding higher than 12th on the timesheet.
Scott Redding: 12th – 1’55.447
“The first session was really difficult, because the feeling I’d had with the front here at the test simply wasn’t there today. The problem was made worse by a lack of rear grip; whatever I tried I just couldn’t seem to improve. For the second session we made some fairly big changes to the bike and, straight away, the feeling was there again. In some corners the problems we’d had in the morning were completely eliminated, while in others they were only reduced, but the feeling overall was much better. My target was to do a 1’55.5 so I was happy enough when I got down to a 1’55.4, until I saw my position on the timesheet! It’s tough out there and we still need to do some work tomorrow, especially in the last sector where I’m losing four tenths in just three corners.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“There’s no denying the fact that Scott struggled this morning, having been unable to rediscover the feeling with the bike that he’d had at the test here. It was difficult to understand why he was having problems, as the set up of the bike was unchanged. However, Scott and his crew worked their way through the problems to come up with a solution ahead of the second session, which brought an immediate improvement. Not only did they go faster, but also they now have a far better understanding of the bike, which will stand them in good stead in the future. There is still work to do, and further improvements to find, but I’m fairly satisfied with the end result today, given the issues we encountered.”
Tech3 pair push onwards in the desert on day 2 at Qatar
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro concluded the second day of action at the opening round in Qatar to finish in 10th position after a spirited performance under the floodlights. The young Spaniard kicked off proceedings by finishing in 14th in the second practice, however, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion remained optimistic of improvement and focused on the FP3 session where he adjusted the setup of the Yamaha YZR-M1. Espargaro powered onwards and scored a best lap of 1’55.328 that left him only 0.506 from the leading rider, after cutting a full second from his yesterday's time in the intensely competitive field. His performance in the third practice session, sees him glide straight through to Qualifying 2 tomorrow, where he will fully intend to clinch a top qualifying placement for the first race of the year on Sunday.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith rode determinedly and gave his all before completing the challenging day in 16th position. The young Briton, who reaches the milestone of competing in 150 Grand Prix’s in all classes this Sunday, opened the second day at the Losail International circuit by finishing in 9th in the second free practice. In the afternoon Smith continued to push, yet was unfortunate in not being able to improve on his time set earlier in the day, which left him in 16th overall. Nevertheless, his best lap of 1’55.741 was just seven tenths from the top 5 and will see him compete in the Qualifying 1 session tomorrow. The 23 year old still remains positive and confident of seizing a strong result in the 22 lap race on Sunday.
Position : 10th Time : 1'55.328 Laps : 17
"For sure, I can’t be completely happy as finishing in tenth is nothing to be thrilled about. However, maybe I could say that I'm satisfied in one respect as we are right behind the factory guys and also the gap to the leader is not that big. Moreover we still have some margin to improve as we are struggling with our rear grip, yet I'm confident that we can solve this issue tomorrow. In my opinion, it’s normal that we ended up in tenth in a session which turned out to be a qualification for us and also, my teammate who has always been fast at this track, is even further behind. I don't think we deserve the disadvantage we have because of the tyre allocation, but that's how it is so we just have to deal with it. Fortunately we managed to go straight to QP2 but for sure, it won't be easy at all to achieve a decent grid position tomorrow."
Position : 16th Time : 1'55.741 Laps : 16
"Of course, the end result today wasn’t what we planned at all. To be honest, we were going really well in the first two runs in FP3 and I felt confident on the old tyres at the beginning. Then on the second run, we tried the hard compound and I was one of the fastest riders on this type of tyre. However, we then put the new medium on at the end of the session but it didn’t work well and I couldn’t improve my lap time. Yet, I can’t be negative as the bike feels good and I am certain that if we make a few small modifications, we can improve tomorrow. Qualifying 1 will be tough, especially with the riders who will use the soft tyres, but I am convinced that it is still possible that we can do a good job. We have been competitive all weekend and we were just unlucky when it was time to do a time attack. These things happen, but I’m glad it was today and not tomorrow or Sunday. We’ll stay positive, try to improve in a few small areas and then prepare for a fast lap in qualifying."
Bradl only three-tenths short of the fastest Open bike in Doha
Stefan Bradl was very close to the Open class leader during the second day of practice for the Athinà Forward Racing team at the Losail circuit.
The German posted an encouraging 1.55.694, which earned him the 14th place just three tenths short of his rival Hector Barbera. Bradl is feeling confident in view of the first qualifying session of the season and the goal is to place his Yamaha Forward on top of the Open class standings.
Loris Baz spent less time on track as he crashed entering a corner, fortunately without major consequences. The Frenchman was brought to Clinica Mobile for verification and then to the Circuit Medical Center. He suffered the avulsion of the nail of the left little finger and had a X-ray performed to his hand to exclude any fracture.
"I'm not very far from the first Open bike. Barbera is only three-tenths faster and I’m less than a second from the leading factory bikes. The overall feeling is good, I have to work on the rear grip to have more confidence in the corners. Tomorrow we will continue to work in view of the race, I look forward for more track-time".
"The goal was to make the most of this practice session in view of tomorrow qualifying, but after falling I was unable to complete the run. After the fall I suffered the avulsion of the nail of the left little finger, but fortunately without any fracture. The guys of the Clinica Mobile fixed my hand so that I can go back on track tomorrow. I’m eager to do well in qualifying".
MILLER CONTINUES TO PROGRESS IN QATAR
The MotoGP World Championship looks to be in rude health after the second and third free practices for the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix, with the field so close that a mere 1.3 seconds separated the top 21 riders. That tightly packed group included the CWM LCR Honda Team duo of Cal Crutchlow and Jack Miller.
Australian Miller was the rider in that 21st spot, but although in terms of position he was not where he wanted to be, the youngster was delighted with the progress he was continuing to make over his rookie weekend. After another incident-free evening, he set a best lap of 1’56.162, and is confident about his prospects for Sunday’s race.
Jack Miller #43, 21st – 1’56.162 (+1.370, lap 13 of 15)
“We’re really happy with how today went, we’re getting much closer to the front. Today we finished just 1.3 behind the leader so we have improved a lot. Still, the position stayed the same because everyone is improving, but it’s all so close it’s just like being on the Moto3 grid again!”
“As it’s so tight, I’m sure the racing will be very interesting, and we seem to be really comfortable on the hard front tyre and the harder rear option. That means we feel strong for the race but we will see what tomorrow brings in qualifying.”
“I’m really looking forward to my first qualifying session and what is a new format for me. I’m getting much more comfortable with the MotoGP bike and the different style I have to use, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Abraham: Only thing we miss is to make one "perfect" lap
The Friday’s practice session of MotoGP class has ended up with twentieth time for Karel Abraham in Losail, Qatar. After promising results of pre-seasonal tests and first practice Friday brought disappointment to the team. However Abraham has minimal loss of 1,258 of second to the pole position and only six tenths to the twelfth position signifying battle for second qualifying.
„I can ride 1:58 low regularly, this is good news for the race. But I would need to make one really fast lap that would move us forward on the grid. So far we are not able to achieve it. We are still struggling with some problems, but tomorrow we will try to work on it and be prepared in best way for qualifying practice .“
Marco Grana, chief mechanic AB Motoracing
„It isn't happiest day, but we still have lot of reasons to be optimistic. We are losing just 1,2 second to pole position, it is really close. Unfortunately we are still losing something to the best pre-season lap time, which hadn´t been perfect. So we know that there is potential to speed up and we can do it. Our aim is to be on fifteenth place on the grid and i believe that it isn't unreal.“
Hector Barbera first Open and very close to the Q2 in Qatar
Avintia Racing MotoGP – Grand Prix of Qatar – FP2 - FP3
After a difficult start in the first practice session yesterday, tonight the Avintia Racing Team riders “flew” over the tarmac in the Losail International Circuit. In the FP2, Mike Di Meglio and Hector Barbera finished in the top ten and the goal for FP3, that give the access to the Q2, was to remain in the first ten positions. Hector Barbera was close to made it, and eventually finished eleventh and only half a second from the provisional pole position posted by Marc Marquez. But the most important, is that the Avintia Racing rider was the best of the Open class on track. Di Meglio finished 15th, but with very good feeling and fourth of the bikes running the Dorna software. Tomorrow the target will be use the FP4 to work for the race and to be the fastest in the Q1 to try to get the best possible grid position on the grid in the Q2.
HECTOR BARBERA #8 / 11th 1'55.396 @HectorBarbera
It was a pity to not reach the top ten to get in the Q2, but we have to be happy. We are doing a good job, but I think today we were a little bit nervous because yesterday I didn’t ride too much. It was the first day and you always want more, because for me the first race is like the first school day… So I think this has affected us and maybe we could be slightly faster. Anyway we are only half a second from the best lap time and we are competitive again. I want to congratulate the team, because after two years with many problems, have shown that they have the level to be competitive.
MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / 17th 1'55.866 @Mikejpp63
The FP2 was really good and we improved a lot my lap times from the last test here in Qatar. In the evening we were missed only one tenth compared with the first session, and in my last exit with I couldn’t take advantage of the new tyre as there was a little bit of confusion on the track. I think we would be a little bit faster, but not enough to be in the Q2, that was our target tonight. But to post one lap in 1’55.1 we have to work harder. We have to try to be as high as possible on the grid, but our fight is with the Open class bikes, so I think we are fine.
Marquez leads tightly packed field in Qatar Free Practice
Round 1: Qatar MotoGP™ - Free Practice One, Two and Three
Losail International Circuit, Friday 27 March 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium (Asymmetric) & Hard (Symmetric)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 24-24°C; Track 28-28°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 25-25°C; Track 29-32°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP3 - Dry. Ambient 23-24°C; Track 26-28°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was quickest in the opening practice sessions for the Qatar Grand Prix, the two-time and reigning MotoGP™ World Champion setting a time of 1’54.822 to lead a highly competitive field where the top eighteen riders were split by less than a second on combined times after Free Practice 3.
Marquez set his benchmark time on his penultimate lap in FP3 to finish a mere 0.096 seconds ahead of CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow who set a 1’54.918 to finish second fastest. Third quickest overall was Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone who clocked a 1’54.992 on the new GP15 machine. All of the top three riders set their quickest lap using the combination of the medium compound slicks front and rear.
The wind-blown sand that is usually encountered at the Losail Circuit was less prevalent than in the past, so the grip offered by the tarmac was slightly better than in previous years. Track temperatures varied from 26-32°C over the opening three sessions.
In previous years the demand for excellent braking stability at Losail has resulted in a high demand for the hard compound front slick and although it was the more popular option in FP3, overall the medium compound front slick was also widely used by the riders due to its slight advantage in warm-up performance and edge grip. Both front tyre options are likely to figure in Sunday’s race. Rear tyre choice showed a strong preference for the medium compound rear slick, although the consistency of the hard compound rear makes it a viable race option for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders. The open-class only soft compound rear slick may be used by a few riders during Sunday’s race, but its greatest impact could be felt tomorrow in qualifying with the riders able to exploit the extra grip it offers to help accelerate out of corners.
MotoGP™ Free Practice 4 starts at 1955 local time (GMT+3) tomorrow before qualifying for the 2015 season opener commences at 2035 with QP1, followed by QP2 at 2100.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Conditions this weekend have been fairly typical for Qatar but thankfully we have not had as much sand on track as in previous years so grip levels aren’t too bad. All six of our slick options at Qatar have been used in the opening sessions and it seems our tyre allocation for the season opener is working well for everybody, and it is very pleasing to see the top eighteen riders separated by less than a second. FP4 will be crucial to help riders finalise their tyre choice for the race as the Sunday Warm Up session will take place in conditions that are likely to be quite warmer than the race.”