2016 Qatar MotoGP Test Wednesday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams at Qatar on Wednesday:


After two previous Official Tests in Sepang and on Phillip Island last month, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were back on the Losail International Circuit today for the final three-day practice session before the start of the 2016 season on the 20th of March.


Losail, Qatar - 2nd March 2016



Losail (Qatar), 2nd March 2016

Today the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders flexed their muscles once more on their YZR-M1s as they worked through a number of test items ahead of the start of the 2016 FIM MotoGP World Championship.

After a successful but challenging test on Phillip Island, Lorenzo was looking forward to continuing working on the setting of his Yamaha in Qatar. Though the Losail International Circuit can be testy, with the cold night temperatures and sand on the track, Lorenzo wasn‘t shy to get busy and continued the progress he made during the pre-season. He soon took over the top spot in the rankings and went on to become the first rider to breach into the 1‘55s. The Spaniard continued to prove how well the YZR-M1 performs with the new Michelin tyres when he set a best lap of the day of 1‘55.452s and ended the day almost half a second ahead of all of his rivals.

Teammate Rossi was also eager to get back to work, but had to delay making his mark on the timesheets by a few minutes after he suffered a small crash in the morning. Luckily unharmed, he quickly returned back on the track. The Doctor soon got back up to speed and made the most of this first chance to test his bike under similar conditions to those expected for the upcoming race. He used the remaining time to set up his bike to his preference and climbed up to third place in the time sheets to wrap up the day with a best lap of 1‘55.894s, 0.442s behind his teammate.



After the two outings in Sepang and on Phillip Island, it was time for us to tackle the final Official MotoGP Test in Qatar before the start of the season in just three weeks‘ time. The previous tests have provided us with a lot of valuable data, which our engineers have carefully analysed before coming here. Thanks to their hard work we have made steady progress with the optimisation of the use of the new Michelin tyres and this showed in today‘s results. This first day in Qatar was the first time this year when both riders had two of the same bikes available to them, so they were able to speed up their setting development. Apart from a small crash by Valentino at the start of the day everything else went well. Jorge and Vale made a strong start today, ending in the top three with good speed and pace. Both riders have a good feeling here with the Michelin tyres and they look very comfortable on their bikes. Tomorrow we will proceed with our testing programme; we will compare some new items and if the time and conditions allow us we will try to fit in a long run.



1:55.452 / 36 LAPS

I think we made a good start to the Qatar test, I have a good feeling especially with all tyres. We still need to improve the electronics, but to be one of the fastest ones on the first day is a good beginning. The feeling with the tyres is much better compared to Phillip Island, the weather is better and the combination of this track, the bike and Michelin is similar to Sepang. Let‘s see how the performance will develop tomorrow.



1:55.894 / 34 LAPS

I started in a bad way, because after ten corners I crashed. I wasn‘t very fast, but maybe because I had too much angle the rear slid, but fortunately it was just a small slide at 70 km/h. It wasn‘t a big problem but to start like this wasn‘t fantastic... After the problem we jumped on the other bike and I‘m quite satisfied about today because, also here in Qatar, it looks like our bike is competitive. We can be strong and fast and this is the most important thing, because it's already the third track where the Yamaha is competitive. We also started with a good base set-up, in fact I didn‘t work a lot on it. I felt good from the first moment and rode quite fast and I was able to consistently improve my lap times and in the end I‘m in the third position, so it was a good day. Today Jorge was very fast, he was faster, but like in Phillip Island me, Viñales and Jorge are the stronger riders. In Phillip Island there was also Marquez, here it looks like he was a bit slower than us today. I‘m happy to stay with the frontrunners and already lap in 1‘55s, a little bit faster compared to the test last year, so it‘s a good result. After the first two tests we decided to go with the bike that‘s more similar to last year and now we have two race bikes ready in the garage, so we‘re already in race-mode.


Team Suzuki Press Office – March 2.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro continued their positive 2016 MotoGP™ pre-season testing schedule tonight under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, where the season begins in two weeks’ time.

Viñales impressed again aboard his new 2016 GSX-RR Suzuki – as he did in Australia last month – by setting the second-fastest time with a 1:55.880 on his 28th lap, as Espargaro and his crew continued development with his machine, finishing the first of three days in 11th (+1.100).

Viñales rode a total of 44 laps, testing both the 2015 and 2016 chassis’, getting back important information about the feeling. The job done today was mainly focused to improve the finalisation of the machine, step-by-step and mainly regarding the electronics and overall set-up.

It was a little more of a struggle for Espargaro, who did a positive job throughout the day and marked some important improvements, although the end of the day saw him crash and not being able to exploit the whole of his time on-track.

Team SUZUKI ECSTAR also had Team Suzuki test rider Takuya Tsuda onboard today, continuing the development of the seamless gearbox. His focus was on giving the engineers the latest feeling about its set-up in order to have the needed parameters to finalise when to introduce the up-and-down seamless function for Espargaro and Viñales’ Factory GSX-RRs.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“We’re happy for this first day in Qatar, the place here is always peculiar, a little insidious as we ride in the night. We did a good job with Maverick, who could always be fast and at the same time to work on the different technical solutions we still need to investigate; such as the new chassis and the tyre. We did a good job and got useful feedback. Aleix, at the end, found a good feeling, but unfortunately he incurred in a little crash that prevented him recording further improvements in terms of lap-time. The humidity here in Qatar is always tricky and finally caused a change in the track’s conditions which caught-out Aleix. It’s a pity because he was on the good way at that time, but we still have two days to work so it’s ok as far as Aleix’s back will not hurt him too much. Here we had also Tsuda, coming directly from the Test Team, and who is helping us to finalise the seamless gearbox. Now we will analyse the data he recorded for us and tomorrow we will decide if to equip the Factory riders’ machines with the ‘up-and-down’ version.”

Maverick Viñales:

“I’m happy with the work we could do today and for the result of this first day. We didn’t focus on testing so many things but more to find consistency in the improvement of the setting and the electronics. We have tested both the 2015 and 2016 chassis and the results are positive. Although my best lap was done with the old chassis, my feeling is that with the new one we are already very close and this leaves us a lot of room for improvement. We made many laps and did a huge amount of work, the times here are getting very, very fast these days; for example, my lap time is already almost one second faster than last year’s race, therefore we really need to keep on working. I feel very confident with the front tyre, while we still need to work on the rear as we couldn’t find the perfect grip yet, so we can improve further.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“This has been another hard day, but once again I feel positive. After the very bad feeling I had in Australia, here we find a better configuration and the situation got better. Today around the half of the session we changed our direction and the machine improved a great deal for me. Unfortunately when two hours were missing to the end, when I incurred a crash, it was strange because I put a new tyre on and got a high-side in a very slow corner, but this is Qatar: When the humidity comes, the track’s conditions change very much. I didn’t have any major injury but my back hurts a lot, as it already has damage from last year’s crashes. Now I’ll go to rest and recover for tomorrow, but the direction we found is positive so I’m eager to improve.”

Positive start for Ducati Team riders in Qatar: Iannone fourth and Dovizioso seventh at the end of Day 1 of IRTA test at Losail

The three-day IRTA test session at the Losail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha, the capital of Qatar, began positively for the two Ducati Team riders.

At the end of Day 1, Andrea Iannone was fourth classified, with a time of 1’56.119, just 0.667s away from provisional leader Lorenzo, while Andrea Dovizioso was in seventh place with a best lap of 1’56.388, 0.936s behind the leader.

The test session began at 4 pm, but the two factory Ducati men exited the pits a couple of hours later, just when it was getting dark. Iannone went on to complete 53 and Dovizioso 46 laps respectively, both riders continuing set-up work on their Desmosedici GP machines with the tyres brought along by Michelin for this test.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’56.119 (4th)

“All in all today went well, because we finally managed to get a lot of work done and find the answers we were looking for. We were able to evaluate two different types of frame that we had available for my Desmosedici GP and this is very important in view of the first race, but also for the future. Today we concentrated on putting in the laps, working calmly: my team is in great form, and we must continue like this in the next two days of testing, but above all I will have to succeed in understanding how to get the best out of the new tyres, because for the moment I can only manage to lap strongly on tyres that have done a lot of laps.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’56.388 (7th)

“Today was once again a productive day, on a track that is very different from Sepang and Phillip Island. These tyres are a bit strange, in the sense that every time you have to get used to them and you need a bit of time because the more you lap, you quicker you get. In fact, I had a tyre that had done twenty laps when I set my quickest time on the last lap of the run, and this confirms that we are still getting used to the characteristics of the Michelins. Let’s hope that in the next two days we can manage to get through all the tests we have scheduled in order to prepare for the first race of the year in the best possible way.”

Repsol Honda Team commence final pre-season test in Qatar

On day-1 of the final MotoGP pre-season test the track opened at 4:00 p.m. local time, but most riders waited until sunset to get started, so as to find similar conditions to the race weekend. Marquez headed out at half past five, Pedrosa a couple of hours later and they ended their work with one hour to go in the session, when temperatures began dropping fast and the tarmac got greasier from the humidity.

Both Marc and Dani struggled more than expected to find a good setup for the Losail track and, together with their crews, have planned some major setup changes for tomorrow. Marc aims to improve his RC213V in turning and corner exit. Both riders will mainly work on their chassis setting aiming to achieve better corner speed.

Their best lap times for the day were 1’56.523 on lap 29 of 45 for Marc and 1’56.910 on lap 26 of 27 for Dani. Testing will continue for two more days.

Marc Marquez

1'56.523 45 Laps

"We knew before coming to Qatar that this circuit is one of the toughest on the calendar for us, and this year we are finding things a bit tough on the kind of corners that you encounter here. We are far from where we'd like to be, but the positive thing is that this is still only testing. Even though in Australia things went very well, here we have the opportunity to try many different things. In the remaining days, we will try some more things out to understand which direction we need to go to improve. We have been working a little on everything and where I feel best is when braking and entering the corners. We have work to do on cornering and on corner exits, because that is where we are losing a lot of time and at a circuit like this it makes it very hard on the straights."

Dani Pedrosa

1'56.910 27 Laps

"The first day in Qatar is always a bit tricky because the track is not very clean, so we started a little later today and I didn't put in many laps. We've been testing calmly in order to see the feeling we have and start working with the bike, but we struggled a bit. We got some ideas about what to test tomorrow; we don't know if it will be the solution to our issues, but we will make a bigger change to see if it helps us go faster. We're struggling a bit, because we are not taking the corners as fast as we want."


The final MotoGP Official Test of the 2016 pre-season began at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on Wednesday, with the session starting in the late afternoon sunshine before continuing under the track’s famous floodlights. It is the last chance for all the MotoGP teams, including LCR Honda and their British star Cal Crutchlow, to get their bikes ready for the season opener which takes place at the desert venue in just over two weeks’ time.

Crutchlow and the crew took delivery of the brand new factory spec Honda RC213V engine on which he will campaign this season, with the 30 year-old offering positive feedback as he acclimatised to the tricky conditions found at the track which lies just north of the capital Doha. With two more days of testing left, Crutchlow still wants to work further on the front end of his machine, but was satisfied with the race pace he showed as he set the eighth fastest time of the day and ended up as top Honda performer.

The Isle of Man resident also paraded the stunning new 2016 livery of his LCR Honda, but the full unveiling of the team’s look for its celebratory 20th anniversary season in grand prix racing will take place over the Qatari race weekend.

#35 Cal Crutchlow – 8th – 1’56.510 (lap 46 of 52)

“Today was a bit of a ‘getting-to-know-you’ session with the new engine. Everything else on the bike is completely as it was, but we were glad to receive the new engine from Honda. We found some positive things with it, but we have only tested it briefly to begin with.”

“I used the hard tyre all day, and I felt good – I did my fastest lap after 22 laps with the hard rear tyre. So this is quite satisfying because we know we can do a good job, and I feel very comfortable at the moment to be able to go fast when we need. I don’t think the result today reflects anything like what it would be in a race here.”

“Tomorrow we’re looking forward to trying some more things with the front of the bike because at the moment the limit is the front tyre. We have to stop the front moving so much under braking and into the corner, and this will be our main focus, but at the moment I’m generally really pleased with things.”

Redding enjoys the night of Doha (5°).

Petrux back to Italy: he wants to race in Qatar

The last pre-season test of the 2016 MotoGP season starts giving to Octo Pramac Yakhnich very positive indications by confirming the excellent shape of Scott Redding. On the first day of activities on the Losail circuit, lighted by the energy produced by the 42 big generators provided by Pramac, the British rider has proven to be extremely comfortable on his new Ducati Desmosedici GP lapping at an excellent race pace since late afternoon. Scott always remained in the first position of the standing ended up with the fifth quickest chrono (1: 56,213) while working on the set up of his bike during the 46 laps completed.

Danilo Petrucci, returned to Italy after surgery on his right hand sustained in Melbourne, is determined to forge ahead of his recovery and to run the first race of the season scheduled in less than two weeks here at Doha. In its place was on track Michele Pirro who led the development work on the Ducati Desmosedici GP completing 50 laps with a fastest lap of 1: 57,891 (17th position)

5° - Scott Redding - 1:56.213

It's been a good day although the track conditions were not the best. We did not do too many laps but are satisfied with our work today. In the end I tried the second bike and the laptime that came out it was almost the same compared to bike one. Last season Ducati had a great race here so I'm very confident. Today we have been shown to have potential and this potential can grow. Goals for tomorrow? I wish I could improve my lap time and stay in the Top 6 which is the goal of the season.

Final test of preseason fires up in Losail

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 22:18

ASPAR Team riders continue to build data as they aim for competitive start to the season

After preseason visits to Malaysia and Australia the MotoGP World Championship teams and riders are in Qatar now for a three-day test that will complete preparations for the campaign ahead. Like the Grand Prix here in two weeks' time the sessions are running under floodlights, with the track open this evening from 4pm until 11pm. As usual the dirty track surface here saw a slow and steady start to the action although the lap times soon started to drop, with Jorge Lorenzo setting tonight's pace with a best effort of 1'55.452.

The test represents an important opportunity for the ASPAR Team to continue to gather data with Ducati, building on and comparing with the information stored at the recent test in Australia. The goal for Yonny Hernández and Eugene Laverty is to continue working towards the first race of the season, with the Colombian's first target to solve the electronics issues encountered in Australia. Progress made tonight allowed him to lap just 1.5 seconds off Lorenzo's best, finishing fourteenth overall on the timesheets. Laverty is a few places further back as he continues to adapt to the new bike and tyres, having lost valuable time during preseason through injury.

14th Yonny Hernández 1.57.021 (40 laps): “I am happy because we have fixed the electronic problem we had in Australia. We have started out in the right way here in Losail. The new tyres they have brought to this test are quite different to what we were using before, especially the front. I am happy because we have found the direction we want to work in and we can start pushing now, climbing the upward curve. The lap times are right, we are not far off the top and hopefully tomorrow we can improve our lap time again and find a better set-up for the race here.”

20th Eugene Laverty 1.58.269 (34 laps): “Today the most important thing was to get comfortable on the bike. Like I said at the last test it still didn't feel like my bike so today we have changed the position a little bit and I feel much more comfortable. Just small things like adjusting the footpeg position allows me to move more easily around the bike, do more laps and towards the end of evening I was able to start pushing a bit more. Now we know what we need to change to go faster, because that will be the aim tomorrow."

Positive opening shakedown for Tech3 pair in Qatar

Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro kicked off the last pre season test with two encouraging performances under the floodlights on day one in Qatar. Both riders aimed to build on the knowledge gained in Phillip Island and make some further preparation steps for the forthcoming season, with the highly anticipated season opener only 18 days away.

Bradley Smith concluded the day with a solid run to 9th position, as he examined tyre options and re-evaluated wheelbase settings. The British star waited until the mid point of the session to start but then set his personal best on his 23rd lap, which left him just six tenths of a second back from third marking a positive opening. Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro got up to speed in the desert as he positively adjusted his Yamaha YZR-M1 to the Losail track. After gaining confidence, the Spaniard powered to his fastest time on his 34th lap, that left a deficit of only two tenths to his teammate. Tomorrow, Espargaro will continue his work as he determinedly intends to climb the standings.

Bradley Smith

Position : 9th Time : 1'56.517 Laps : 38

"The opening to the test was positive here and to be honest, I think we undertook a really smart plan. I decided to wait until the track cleaned up a bit because I was conscious of using the tyres to their full potential. In the previous tests, I rode a lot of laps in the first two days which meant that on the last one, I didn’t have many tyres left. As a result, I decided to change my strategy here and so I just used two sets today with the track conditions being how they were. Nevertheless, we were able to confirm some wheelbase options between bike one and two, and the good thing is that the setting that we found in Sepang and Phillip Island is working well here. Now that we have triple checked this factor, I am confident that we have a solid wheelbase setting which is really important for me, because we still had some questions after Phillip Island. In addition, today we compared two of the rear tyres, with one of these being in the allocation for the race weekend. We already have a clear indication of what we need to do with the race weekend tyre, which is a bit stiffer than the other one, plus we know the setting changes that we have to make to suit it. Furthermore, the front tyre that I tried in Phillip Island is available here in more quantity. I liked that compound, it has a wider profile and I’m keen to keep working on that as I just had access to one in Australia. So all in all, I feel comfortable and confident here in Qatar, it’s a track that I have always liked and I seem to ride well at. It’s nice to be here with my shoulder at 90% after the injury at Phillip Island but after ten days of physiotherapy and rehab, I’m already almost there.”

Pol Espargaro

Position : 12th Time : 1'56.747 Laps : 43

"Instead of it being a real first test day, today was actually about getting in touch with the track, the tyres and the electronics here in Qatar and it definitely wasn't easy. At the beginning of the session, the track was very dirty and I ran with the softer tyre option, which I felt confident with straight away. However, when we changed to the harder compound afterwards, my feeling just wasn’t the same. This tyre was supposed to suit the track better, but we ended up struggling more. In addition, quite a few other riders crashed so I didn't want to take any unnecessary risks. Therefore, we still have some work ahead of us, but we already understand the direction that we want to head towards tomorrow and I'm convinced that this will allow us to progress further up the field."

Barbera and Baz start to work at Losail

02/03/16 Avintia Racing MotoGP - MotoGP Test Qatar

The winter testing resumes this week in Qatar and today began the last three-days-test for the MotoGP grid before the first race of the season. Avintia Racing riders, Hector Barbera and Loris Baz came to Qatar’s desert straight from the mountains of Andorra where they presented the team project for the upcoming season.

Barbera struggled with some minor electronic issues that prevented him to ride his bike as much as he would like to, but even so, the Spanish rider completed 27 laps and was sixth only eight tenths from Jorge Lorenzo, the fastest rider today. Baz began the session with a small crash, but he kept working to improve his feeling with the bike and he showed a strong pace on used tyres.

HECTOR BARBERA #8 / @HectorBarbera 1'56.320 P6

“Today was a strange day. We did only 27 laps because we suffered some problems with the electronics. My bike stopped in the second lap and although we could get on track at the end of the session, we only have one bike and I want to thank my team because they did a great job to get the bike back on track. I would like to do some more laps, but at the end of the day, we were fast again and I did my time with a 17 laps-tyre, and this is important. Tomorrow we will focus in the bike set up for the first Grand Prix, that will be at this track in just three weeks.”

LORIS BAZ #76 / @lorisbaz 1'57.121 P15

“In the first laps the feeling was really bad because of the dust on track. I also crashed after four laps, but it was a stupid crash, I hit neutral going into the corner, and trying to come back I touched the artificial grass and fell down really slow. We continued working and we managed to improve the feeling, first with the front and after with the rear end. My pace was good and I did 57.2 using a rear tyre with 24 laps, and I was not pushing. In my last run I got new tyres and I improved one tenth, but the humidity has risen and the bike was sliding. Overall I’m happy because I had good feeling and this will be good for tomorrow as we have planned to do a race simulation.”


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