Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Sunday's thrilling opening round at Qatar:
Rossi Rules Stunning Season Opener in Qatar
Losail International Circuit (Qatar), 29th March 2015
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi opened the 2015 MotoGP season tonight with a stunning victory at the Grand Prix of Qatar. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also put on an impressive performance during the opening round at the Losail International Circuit, finishing in fourth place.
What started as a battle that could have been anybody‘s race, ended in a thrilling duel.
Rossi rode an incredible race. Starting from eighth on the grid, the nine-time world champion fell back to tenth position and took a few laps to get a feel for the situation. He then ploughed through the order on his way to the front of the field. He quickly overtook several riders to take fifth in a duel with rival Pedrosa on lap four. Keeping up his pace, he soon passed Hernandez for fourth and continued his podium chase by bridging a 1,5 second gap to rider in third. He then clawed his way to the front group of Dovizioso, Lorenzo and Iannone. This was the start of an incredible final battle between the two factory teams as the riders changed positions several times.
Rossi fought hard, eventually overtaking Iannone with four laps to go. A nail biting last few rounds with rival Dovizioso followed, with the Doctor giving one of his best performances in his 20 year MotoGP career. Fighting until the very last corner he gave everything to hold enough of an advantage to clinch the first victory of the 2015 season, with a margin of 0.174s.
Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also had a great start to his 2015 Championship, flying from sixth on the grid to grab second place into turn one. He continued to chase Dovizioso, as rival Marquez had run wide. Lorenzo took over at the front in turn 12 of lap two, but was unable to create a lead. The Mallorcan and Dovizioso battled fiercely and were later joined by Iannone and Rossi. Lorenzo feeling the heat of the following riders, made many attempts at reclaiming the lead, but was unable to hold first position. He fought bravely, but with four laps to go was forced to let his teammate and rivals go through due to a problem with his helmet. He finished fourth, 2.707s from the front.
Rossi‘s superb win earns him first place in the championship standings with 25 points. Lorenzo now holds fourth place in the championship with 13 points.
Thanks to today‘s results Movistar Yamaha MotoGP take the lead in the teams‘ championship with 38 points. The next round will be held at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), United States, in two weeks‘ time.
46 Valentino Rossi
1st / 42'35.717 / 22 laps
“In the last three seasons I always rode solid races and arrived on the podium but to come back with a victory is another thing. I am so happy because we suffered a lot during the practices and also the tests, but we worked very well for the 22 laps race and I was very strong. First of all you have to be lucky, but especially the work that we do with the team during the weekend makes the difference for my pace in the race. It was definitely one of the best races of my career, considering where we were yesterday. I really have to thank all my team, my engineers and all at Yamaha because I think today we did something amazing.”
99 Jorge Lorenzo
4th / +2.707 / 22 laps
“It was a difficult race. After the first lap, I found myself in second place and I followed Dovizioso. I was faster and I passed him where I could in the fast corners. On the speed and in braking the Ducati was much stronger than our bike, but we could recover on corner speed while the acceleration was similar. To be honest, I thought that I could win the race, though it surely wasn‘t going to be easy, because Valentino had a very strong pace at the end of the race. I was feeling better and better, but suddenly there was something wrong when in the top part of the helmet the foam came loose and came down so I lost half of my vision. I couldn‘t see the corners very well and couldn‘t concentrate or ride like before and I was losing half a second or more per lap. In a race where, at minimum I could fight for the win, I finished fourth.”
Massimo Meregalli - Team Director
“It has been an incredible start to the season. Vale‘s race was a masterpiece! He rode well and really got what he deserved. Unfortunately Jorge had a problem with his helmet seven laps to the end and had to slow down a bit. Otherwise I think we could have had both riders on the podium. Especially considering how we started the weekend, this is a great result. Our target was to start with a victory and we achieved it. I want to say a big thank you to everybody who made this happen. The whole team has been putting in hard work, starting from last week. We now look forward to the next race in two weeks time.”
Superb double podium for Ducati Team riders in Grand Prix of Qatar. Dovizioso second and Iannone third at the end of a spectacular race at the Losail circuit.
The Ducati Team riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, produced a couple of great races in the opening round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship – the Grand Prix of Qatar – held under floodlights at the Losail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha.
Dovizioso, who started from pole position, powered away into the lead during the opening lap, before engaging in a terrific battle with Jorge Lorenzo until lap 18, when he moved into the lead once again, this time followed by Valentino Rossi. On the twenty-first and penultimate lap Rossi was able to slip past and Dovizioso tried to attack him for the win, but had to settle for an excellent second place, just 0.174 seconds away from the top slot.
Iannone started from row 2 and crossed the line at the end of lap 1 in third place. He then kept that position until lap 12, when he was passed by Rossi. The man from Vasto remained in fourth place until lap 19, when he managed to get past Lorenzo, and he eventually finished the race in third place just over two seconds down on the winner. Today’s result for Iannone was his first-ever MotoGP career podium.
The Grand Prix of Qatar saw an exceptional race debut for the new Ducati Desmosedici GP15, which made its track debut just over one month ago in the Sepang 2 tests.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd
“This is a special result for Ducati and for me, after everything we have been through in the last few years, and it rewards the work that we have done together to arrive at this point. I never expected to be so competitive in the first race, and it really is an extraordinary result. I want to thank all the engineers and the people in Bologna, who managed to get the bike ready in time for the Sepang 2 tests, the mechanics who have worked so hard this weekend and all the guys in Ducati Corse for the commitment they have demonstrated with this project. Iannone and I managed to get two podiums for Ducati and that’s a great result, but above all now I believe that this is only a starting-point for the future.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 3rd
“I am very pleased with this result: it is my first podium in MotoGP and it’s really incredible to have done it on my debut race as a factory Ducati rider. Dovi and I finished second and third with the new GP15 bikes, and I didn’t expect to be so competitive so soon in the first race, so it really is a fantastic sensation. Back home the guys in Ducati Corse have done a great job this winter, and I owe a lot to them. Since 2013 I have had the support of this great company, which has helped me to improve and which has taught me a lot of things, and so I would like to dedicate my first podium to all of them. A big thanks to everyone in Ducati, to Gigi Dall’Igna, to Claudio Domenicali and all the people who work with me.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“For sure it’s a great emotion to have two riders on the podium with the new GP15, and for this reason I am really pleased, especially for all the guys in Ducati Corse who have done a great job back home in planning, designing and building the new bike in such a short period of time over the last few months. Probably today we could have even come away with a victory and not having done so actually leaves me with a tinge of disappointment, but today’s result in any case is fantastic and I am sure that we will manage to achieve our aim in the next few races.”
Difficult season opener for Repsol Honda but Marquez and Pedrosa salvage important points
It wasn’t the start that Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa would have liked for their 2015 MotoGP Championship campaign.
Dani, starting from second on the grid and Marc starting from third, both had a problematic first corner, with Marc emerging as the biggest victim. As the MotoGP riders jostled for position, Dani was edged out down to seventh and Marc made a small mistake, running wide in turn one and rejoined the track in last place.
Both riders began to make up positions with Dani in sixth and Marc up to eleventh by lap three. The Repsol Honda duo pushed to chase race leaders Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Iannone and Rossi with Dani was on the tail of this group but unable to keep the pace. As the race progressed Dani began to suffer severe arm pump in his right arm and slowly dropped back. Meanwhile Marc passed Petrucci, Crutchlow, Smith and Hernandez and was up to sixth by lap eight.
On lap twelve Marc reached Dani and passed him into 5th, demoting Dani to 6th. Marc began to chase down the leading four riders but the gap of 3.8s was too great. Nevertheless, Marquez still managed to break a record with the fastest top speed recorded in the premier class of 350.5km/h, beating the previous record held by Iannone of 349.6km/h.
This is the first time since winning the German GP in 2013 that Marc has not lead the MotoGP Championship standings. Both riders will be looking to bounce back from this disappointing start and challenge for victory at the Red Bull Austin GP in two weeks time.
5th Championship Standing: 5th - 11 points
"We should be happy because we have salvaged eleven important points, when we could easily have left here with none. It was a tough race, in which I made a mistake at the first corner and dropped back to last place. This meant that I had to make a comeback, pushing hard all through the race, but in the end I saw that I could not catch the group at the front. The positive that I'll take from today is that we rode at a similar pace to the lead group. In Austin we will continue to work hard, with an even stronger desire to do well."
6th Championship Standing: 6th - 10 points
"Tonight’s race didn’t go to plan and unfortunately, I had serious problems with my right forearm which isn’t good news for me. I worked very hard over the winter in order to find a solution, because I was suffering in every race last season. Every doctor recommended that I not undergo another operation and I have tried to look for alternatives, but by the looks of things nothing is working positively for it. Now I have to assess my options and see what I can do. It is probably the most difficult moment of my career. I will do my best to find a solution but in this moment it is difficult to imagine what it could be."
TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR POSITIVE AT QATAR MotoGP
Team Suzuki Press Office – March 29
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales both raced to points-scoring positions in Suzuki’s full-time return to the 2015 MotoGP™ series tonight at Losail in Qatar; and the team is positive with its initial debut.
Espargaro finished 11th and series rookie Viñales 14th aboard their 2015 GSX-RRs under the floodlights of the night-race; and in front of 19,500 spectators. It was an important result for Suzuki after a three-year absence from motorcycling’s premier class of racing; and after much development from the Japanese factory and continued testing to develop the all-new GSX-RR.
Espargaro started from 11th place on the grid, after a weekend that saw him well-in the top 10, and was in the top-seven on the opening laps. Viñales, who started from 13th place on the grid, fought back throughout the 22-lap race to score his first-ever MotoGP series points.
Satoru Terada – Team Director:
“This has been a very important result for us. We have spent the last three years preparing for this debut and we have hit our objectives. Both the riders ended the race and got into the points. Developing a high-performance MotoGP™ machine is not an easy process; we’ve learnt that we have some strong points and some weak points. We have a good chassis, but we lack outright power and this prevented us from to be fighting further up the grid. We are all aware of that and we have engineers in Japan working hard to improve our performance. In fact, this result gives us a further incentive to give our best and push even harder as soon as possible. At the end of the day I’m proud of these results, I know I’m working with a full team of professionals and we will push-on to greater heights.”
“I can’t say I’m happy with this result as this is probably the worse position I’ve been in since last season and I honestly thought I would be higher-up in the classification. We had a few issues with the machine but we all know that the main problem now is the power. Engineers in Japan are working hard, I know, but unless we get some more horsepower, it will be very hard to get to the front. In any case I’ve also had good feelings from the race; I ended it and I got points, which was our objective. We are all fully focused on our development process and I’m sure we will get even better results soon.”
“It’s been an amazing experience! Racing with the top riders in MotoGP™ is something unbelievable and I’m so happy with the experience. The race has been strange; soon after the start I had some issues with the electronics and I lost some traction control, so I had to rely only on my wrist, but the machine was performing well so I decided to keep on and finally I ended the race and got two points. This was our priority, so I’m satisfied. We know where we need to improve and also what went wrong with this race, so we can work on it and hopefully be even more effective in the next race. ”
CONTACT WITH MARQUEZ KNOCKS BAUTISTA OUT OF THE GAME. MELANDRI RIDES HIS RS-GP ACROSS THE WIRE TO FINISH ITS FIRST RACE
Losail (Qatar), 29 March 2015 - The first race for the RS-GP was long-awaited by the entire Aprilia Racing Team Gresini as an essential test to assess how far development has come on the young project in an actual competition.
But contact with Marc Marquez in turn 6 of the first lap put Alvaro Bautista - the rider who had shown the most encouraging progress throughout the weekend - out of the game, damaging the front left brake lines and the sensors.
Marco Melandri rode his Aprilia across the wire, accumulating laps, information and sensations that will be important for the RS-GP growth process.
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
"It's a shame about what happened to Alvaro because of everything this weekend, this was the most long-awaited test. The most important. It would have been truly essential to see where Alvaro would have placed in comparison to that big pack he was fighting in through the first turns of the race, but unfortunately the move Marquez made damaged the bike too badly for it to continue. This was our spirit taking on the first race because it was a test, and this is how it will be in this initial phase of the season, both for the bike and the entire team. Now we need to analyse all the data Marco collected, since he rode his RS-GP all the way to the finish."
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
"What happened in the first race was an important experience for Alvaro and for the entire team, especially in order to bring home all that information that only a race can provide. It's a good sign that Marco finished his race. Of course that isn't enough and we have a lot of work to do in order to improve, but it is a first signal to start from."
"Unfortunately the race test that we had planned ended straight away: Marquez got off to a bad start and he wanted to make up positions quickly, but without considering the fact that there were other riders on the track. In turn 6 he squeezed between Barbera and me, I have no idea how, hitting me and ruining the front brake area, lines and sensors. It was impossible to continue. I'm sorry because Marc is a good guy, but he has been too aggressive in the past in these types of situations. I think it is only right to point it out to him because it's risky. Today I was lucky because I didn't crash, but it doesn't take much to get hurt out there. So, like I said, we weren't able to complete our test today but we must not forget this episode and we need to be thinking about the next round in Austin already. It is a very different track than this one where we'll have the opportunity to check all the data gathered this weekend to develop the bike and look for ways to improve."
"It wasn't the fastest race of my life, but on a new bike in a new category it's what we expected. On the other hand, we finished the race, our first true long run, and we gathered a lot of data that will be essential to our development process. We need time. When the bike starts working well my riding style will also improve and we'll be able to take a decisive step. Now it's up to the guys at Aprilia to interpret my sensations and translate them into changes to the RS-GP. We have some more complicated races ahead of us, since I am unfamiliar with the Austin and Argentina tracks, but they will give us more pointers to work on."
Redding gains experience in Qatar race
Losail, Qatar - 29 March 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda rider Scott Redding gained valuable experience on his Honda RC213V debut in the season opening MotoGP encounter of 2015 in Qatar tonight.
Big set-up changes improved front-end feeling for Redding, but not sufficiently to allow the British rider to battle for the top ten finish he’d targeted in advance of the 22-lap race.
Redding finished at the front of a close four-rider battle to finish in 13th position and his crew will now conduct detailed analysis of the data gathered in Qatar to help the 22-year gain more confidence when the World Championship resumes at the spectacular Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
Scott Redding: 13th
“It was a tough race and certainly not where I expected to be finishing. The target was to finish inside the top 10, so I can’t be happy to be 13th. We are making steps in the right direction but not enough to bring us closer to our target. Turning is the biggest issue and we need to focus on that because I should be finishing much higher up on the package I am riding. We’ve collected a lot of data and I finished in the points, but it is clear there is plenty of room to improve.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“We can take plenty of positives from a difficult weekend here in Qatar. We are still learning how to find the best set-up for Scott with the Honda and while we are making small progress, we need to improve a lot to be more competitive. He scored points but clearly there is a big margin to improve because we need to be fighting close with the other satellite factory bikes. This is a completely new project and we just need time to show our true potential.”
Bright start under the floodlights in Qatar for Smith and Espargaro
Bradley Smith commenced his 2015 MotoGP campaign with an assertive ride to seize 8th at the Losail International Circuit under the floodlights. The young British rider began the race from the head of the third row in 7th and leapt forward as the lights went out to complete the first lap in 5th. Smith remained focused and set into his strong race pace and by the 4th lap, he was running in 7th place. The 23 year old rode consistently over the following laps and was in 8th position with eight laps left to run. This was whilst being locked in a fierce battle to be the top satellite rider as well as 7th place with three other MotoGP competitors. After being pushed back to 9th on lap 15, he burst past Hernandez to reclaim 8th shortly afterwards, before crossing the line only marginally behind Crutchlow who was half a second ahead. The encouraging finish sees the British rider open his 2015 account with a positive result and leaves him optimistic of obtaining another top finish at the next round in Texas.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro finished the challenging Qatar night race right behind his teammate in 9th position after undertaking a strong effort. The young Spaniard completed the first lap in 6th position and was right in the hunt with the front running bikes. He was bumped back to 10th on the fifth lap but remained completely focused on regaining ground on his Yamaha YZR-M1. With only a quarter of race distance left to run, Espargaro was involved in the dice for 7th with his teammate and expertly clinched 9th on the 17th lap. The fastest satellite MotoGP rider of 2014 eventually met the chequered flag in this position, concluding the weekend with a positive collection of points and leaving him primed for success at the next race.
Position : 8th Championship : 8th Points : 8
"I must admit that despite the good result, I am slightly disappointed as we were so close to being the top satellite bike at Qatar. This is our ambition for the year, so to miss this opportunity is a bit annoying. However, to finish only half a second back from Cal isn’t bad at all, especially at this early stage of the season. I had a good feeling with the bike during the whole race and we kept a consistent pace. Yet, I wasn’t really able to race how I wanted to and I had to remain riding in a smooth style throughout the whole distance. This was a bit difficult when battling with the Honda or Ducati’s because those bikes require different riding styles, which need the rider to be a bit more aggressive. Nevertheless to finish 8th and collect some valuable points as well as some useful experience and being so close to our objective of the top satellite bike is not a disappointment. In addition, we will improve and learn from Jorge and Valentino in order to be closer to the front at Austin."
Position : 9th Championship : 9th Points : 7
"It’s been a difficult weekend for us. We experienced some issues on the first two days, yet we were able to improve them yesterday and during this morning’s warm up, I felt truly confident on the bike. Having said that, we have had a slight problem with the electronics throughout the weekend, which we were not able to clarify so we didn’t adjust the traction control in order to remain in the best possible way. Therefore the setup of the anti wheelie also wasn't ideal and I lost a lot in acceleration. I just couldn't pass the riders in front and I was often late on the brakes, so to be honest it was a real struggle. However, the main positive is that we managed to finish the Grand Prix and in any case, this weekend is normally a bit of an unusual one as we run at night and the conditions of the track are always changing so it’s difficult to take conclusion out of today's race. Of course, I’m not over the moon about today’s result as it was not my ambition. Yet, now we have to work on solving these problems at the next race in Austin where we must take advantage of the weekend as soon as the first session commences."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :
"What a race and a brilliant way to start the 2015 World championship! Qatar always produces some incredible racing at the start of the year, but this one was very special for sure. It also seems to be a track that suits Valentino very well and the battle for the front was a really exciting one for everybody to watch. Coming back to the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team, we have started the championship well and there are many positives to consider when reviewing the weekend. We were only 0.5 of a second back from the first satellite bike and finishing in 8th and 9th is a strong finish which aids us in clinching 4th in the team championship. In addition, being only twelve seconds from the winner is a lot better than at some moments last year. Clearly we have improved and are closer to the front but now both riders need to be sharper with overtaking. We always knew that the top ten is a good target for this year as there are so many fast riders on track, so now we have to carry on in this positive groove at the next races. We are happy and confident after the first round and also after the tough winter testing, which certainly paid off, so we will see you all in Texas for hopefully an even better result."
End of hopes in last lap. Abraham was run down by Miller
In the very competitive MotoGP grid in Qatar, Karel Abraham´s fight for the best position was ended by Jack Miller in the turn 7 of the last lap. Last year´s vice-champion Miller hit the Czech rider when attempting to overtake him. Both riders crashed out but remain uninjured.
„This race has confirmed to be really hard for all open spec bikes and riders as only few of us got some points. The first part of the race was going well but then the bike begun to lose a grip and I could not keep the pace with Stefan Bradl nor fight with him. Then during the last lap Jack Miller tried to overtake me at any risk and took me down quite hard. Bike is damaged a lot and I am quite bruised. He realized that he had made a mistake and he came to our garage after the race to apologize. Fortunately it happened in race where I was not chasing points.“
Marco Grana, chief mechanic AB Motoracing
„We made a really good result in warm up and we were sure to be well prepared for the race. Karel did good start and we were fighting for points in the first half of the race. Unfortunately in the second part of the race Karel lost a positive feeling from the bike and started to lose. Jack Miller only “crowned” the bad end of the race. He was too long into Turn 7 and he literally shot down Karel. Even he is a rookie, he was acting really crazy. Especially in the situation when both were out of the fight for points. However we should not be negative about this weekend. We managed to do a lot of things and we were not bad in race. We can fight with best bikes of open class, but we need good setup and hundred percent concentrations.“
Bradl a whisker away from winning Open class at Losail
Stefan Bradl finished second in Open class rumble and Loris Baz was 22nd in the first race of the 2015 season for the Athinà Forward Racing team at the Losail circuit.
Bradl, who started from 18th position on the grid, had a good start and went back immediately to the points-zone. The German has long battled with his direct opponent, Barbera, to win the lead of the Open category. A small mistake, committed within sight of the finish line, lost him victory. Bradl was 16th under the chequered flag just three-tenths from the first points of the season.
It was a race uphill for his teammate Loris Baz who started 23rd. The Frenchman lost grip on the front from the very beginning, he was forced to come into the pits to change the tires and crossed the finish line in 22nd position.
"I cannot say I’m satisfied at all with this race, even if I was close to the lead of the Open and I was finally able to battle with my rivals. I was really close to win my class but the last corner I braked too late and Vinales and Barbera passed me. It has been a difficult weekend but I'm happy with the work done by the team and I have come to know more about the Yamaha Forward. It was not a bad race, not counting the small final mistake, I proved to be able to fight with the other Open bikes".
"I did not start well, but I recovered quickly and I started to get close to the points-zone. Unfortunately, after a couple of laps, I started to lose grip on the front and the bike became difficult to drive. I did not want to risk it and I came back to the pits to change tires. Too bad, I was really close to the points and with new tires I kept the same pace as those fighting for the Top15. Overall it was a good weekend: I learned so much and I have collected a lot of info for the race in Austin".
CRUTCHLOW SEALS SEVENTH UNDER QATAR FLOODLIGHTS
The opening round of the MotoGP World Championship was a thrill a minute ride, which had contrasting fortunes for the CWM LCR Honda riders at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Cal Crutchlow was forced to start from 12th on the grid after a qualifying crash yesterday, but after a solid start the Briton gradually began to pick up the pace, and pick off the riders in front of him.
He was suffering with rear grip issues, which hindered his attempts to stick with the likes of factory Honda duo Marquez and Pedrosa, but despite that, he came home as the top satellite rider across the line in seventh place, with six factory bikes ahead.
The next round of the championship is in Austin, Texas, USA in two weeks time.
Cal Crutchlow #35, 7th place
“I think to come away with a seventh place we can be very happy. It was a good start to the season considering I don't have any experience racing the Honda. The guys I was battling with have been riding a factory Honda for a lot longer than me, and we all saw that they struggled too. Being just over a second behind Dani Pedrosa and five behind Marc Marquez shows that we were all struggling for rear grip tonight in Qatar.”
“I think this was about our pace for the weekend anyway, and I made it hard for myself with some mistakes early on in the race, but my pace was consistently good. If I had have got away with the guys in front I could possibly have been around fourth or fifth.”
“For Austin we have to improve, take our comments from this race and see what we can achieve there. It’s going to be difficult to challenge the guys at the front there, but it’s a learning curve for us. I don’t think we’ve done a bad job at all, and we come away happy.”
MILLER OUT ON LAST LAP OF QATAR GP
The opening round of the MotoGP World Championship was a thrill a minute ride, which had contrasting fortunes for the CWM LCR Honda riders at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Australian Jack Miller had been steadily improving his pace throughout the race, but having started from a difficult 22nd position on the grid, he was always fighting an uphill battle. He closed in impressively on fellow open spec Honda riders Eugene Laverty and Karel Abraham, but as they diced for 18th position, he and the Czech rider crashed out.
Jack Miller #43, DNF
“It was a difficult race for us. We got off to a good start and I was going quite good. I made a few mistakes and got a little too tight on the bike but finally got myself back together when we were close to last. After that I really started to work, and closed the gap to the other Open bikes.”
“It was working really well, we pulled up and I passed two guys and then caught up Abraham. When I got there I was in too much of a rush to pass and went too deep and lost the front. Unfortunately it took myself and him out. Being on the last lap it was a shame not to finish the race, but we learnt so much and I look forward to carrying on the learning process in Texas.”
First Open victory for Hector Barbera and Avintia Racing
Avintia Racing MotoGP – Grand Prix of Qatar – RACE
The 2015 MotoGP World Championship has started in the best possible way for the Avintia Racing team and Hector Barbera. Yesterday he was the fastest Open class rider on the grid and tonight he confirmed his position after a difficult start of the race that put him 21st after the first lap. But he didn’t give up and lap by lap recovered positions and eventually finished the race 15th and first in the Open class, after a hard last lap battle with Maverick Viñales and Stefan Bradl.
Opposite emotions in the opening race for Mike Di Meglio. In his first race on the Ducati Desmosedici GP14.1 Open, the French rider had some issues with the set up of the bike and he finished the race in 19th position. But he got a valuable experience during the 22 laps of the Grand Prix of Qatar that will be useful in the next rounds. The action will resume in two weeks time, at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
HECTOR BARBERA #8 / 15th (1st Open) @HectorBarbera
Before the race we didn’t know if the set up we used in the warm up would be working in the race and during the race I suffered a lot with the rear grip. But the effort made by the team gave me an extra boost of motivation and made me give 180 per cent. I managed to ride around the problems with the bike and I just tried to enjoy riding. Finally we could recover and bring home the first Open victory of the season, which was our target. After all the problems we had in the last years, this is a prize for everybody in the team. And I want to say a big thank you to Antonio and Boch for always believing in me. Without Antonio, our dream would never have come true.
MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / 19th (5th Open) @Mikejpp63
It was a difficult race for me. During the first half of the race, I had several problems, the same issues I had during the warm up session this morning. What I can’t understand is that the bike was exactly the same as yesterday and tonight we ran into these problems. I was not able to brake and the front was closing every time. Then, in the middle of the race, I started to feel a lot of vibrations and we don’t know why. We have to sit down and analyse every single thing to understand where those problems are coming from. We worked very hard and this is not the result we were expecting today.
A fantastic week end in Qatar. Yonny celebrates his first career Top 10. Danilo is 12th
After a great Gp on the Losail circuit in Doha, Qatar, the Pramac team can celebrate Yonny Hernandez thanks to his placement in the top 10 and look at Danilo Petrucci's 12th place with satisfaction.
It's been a week end full of emotions for the team which stood out first of all during the qualifications thanks to the Q2 achieved by Yonny Hernandez and the Q1 got by Danilo Petrucci, then during the race since the Colombian racer started very well and remained with the leading group for 5 laps even though later was overtaken by Valentino Rossi who won the GP. Yonny lapped excellently and ended at the 10th place. for the first time in his career he achieved the top 10.
Danilo Petrucci just went through a bad moment at half of the race probably due to the deterioration of the back tire but he responded immediately and end the race at the 12 spot showing a very convincing pace during the last part of the race.
It was very important for the Italian racer to get to the end of the race in order to experienced it all and collect important information which surely will be useful for the rest of the season.
Pramac Racing Team finishes the first race ot the 2015 season of the Moto GP with 10 points (6 by Yonny Hernandez and 4 by Danilo Petrucci) and the current fifth place in the Team ranking list.
10° Yonny Hernandez – Pramac Racing Team #68
"I am very happy with what we have done this week. I want to thank Giacomo Guidotti and the whole team: this success is all ours. And we are on the right path to continue on the challenge to get to the Top10. Managing to stay and fight in the group made by the 4 leading racers for the first laps felt great besides being an incentive to contnue to work hard. The level of the Moto Gp is very high but we keep up with it. My team allowed me to be in the right conditions to fight for the first positions. Physically I feel better, the injury to the shoulder has become only a memory. And I am sure we can do much better."
12° Danilo Petrucci – Pramac Racing Team #9
"The evaluation of this week end is very positive but I am sure we can do better during the race. I didn't start off well but eventually I recovered during the first two bends and I managed to gain a position. Later I felt that something strange was going on with the back tire and that made me waste almost 5 seconds in laps. Things then got better and I eventually went faster...even better than the beginning. This is only the first race and I am sure that in Austin we will do better. Three Italian racers on the podium? I am very happy with it. My target is being one of them one day. I hope it will happen very soon. In the meantime let me thank the team that did a great job. We have to continue this way because we are doing it right."
Eugene Laverty Media
18th Eugene Laverty: "Unfortunately I suffered electronic problems right from the start of the race, and I couldn’t ride as I had hoped. I was losing a lot of time compared to my laps from the rest of the weekend. It was not how I was hoping to debut in MotoGP but at least I managed to finish the race. Despite the setbacks I have tried to adapt to what I had. Apart from the race, we must be positive; we have progressed a lot over the weekend, we should take that from here and believe that in Austin we can keep improving."
Valentino Rossi wins thrilling MotoGP™ season opener in Qatar
Round 1: Qatar MotoGP™ - Race
Losail International Circuit, Sunday 28 March 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium (Asymmetric) & Hard (Symmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 23-23°C; Track 26-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi emerged victorious from a thrilling battle with Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso to win the opening round of the MotoGP™ season at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit.
Starting from eighth on the grid, Rossi worked his way through the field and by lap eleven had closed right on the leading pack comprising his Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo, and the Ducati pair of Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone. After the four riders put on a spectacular four-way battle for the lead, in the closing stages Rossi and Dovizioso upped the pace and engaged in their own dogfight for victory. As the chequered flag was waved it was Rossi who clinched victory by just 0.174 seconds ahead of Dovizioso, while Andrea Iannone completed an all-Italian podium by finishing in third place a further two seconds behind. All three riders on the rostrum opted for the medium compound rear slick, but while the two Ducati riders chose the medium compound front slick for the race, Rossi selected the hard compound front slick.
Track conditions today were much like yesterday with a constant track temperature of 26°C recorded during the twenty-two lap race. The hard compound front slick that was widely used in race simulations in Free Practice 4 yesterday was also the most popular front tyre choice for the race, with seventeen riders selecting this option, and the remaining eight riders selecting the medium compound front slick. Rear tyre choice showed a strong preference for the medium compound rear slick, with twenty riders selecting this option, and five riders opting for the soft compound rear. Despite it showing promise during long runs in previous sessions, the hard compound rear slick was not chosen by any riders for the race. The Qatar Grand Prix was the first competitive outing for Bridgestone’s 2015 specification MotoGP tyres and the results were impressive, with this year’s Qatar Grand Prix having the shortest-ever winning race time and race winner Rossi able to set a time on his final lap that was just one-tenth of a second slower than his race fastest lap, set on lap five.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“That was an exciting race to the season and it was thrilling to watch Valentino and Andrea battle for victory right until the end of the race. For today’s race we had similar conditions to yesterday’s sessions and as expected the most popular tyre choice for the race was the hard compound front and medium compound rear slick, with fourteen of the twenty-five riders selecting this combination. All three of our rear slick options, and two of our front slick options were selected by riders and I am pleased with how consistent all our options performed over race distance. The competitiveness of this race was reflected with the total winning race time being the shortest ever, and the raced passed almost without incident so overall it was a positive end to the weekend for Bridgestone.”
Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Race Winner
“I’ve said this many times before, but this has been one of my best races. I had a bad start but I recovered well and we did a lot of work during practice and my bike was fantastic. Step by step I could progress and I didn’t give up, when I reached the two Ducati’s and Jorge it was difficult, but in some parts of the circuit I was very strong. I’m so happy today for myself, my team and for Yamaha.”