2016 Qatar MotoGP Test Thursday Press Releases

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


Team Suzuki Press Office – March 3.

The second day of MotoGP™ testing in Qatar was another step forward for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales, who topped the classification with a best-time of 1’55.436 in his 28th out of 42 laps around the Losail circuit.

The young Spaniard has been working very hard to finalise the preparation of his GSX-RR, with a step-by-step approach, which has allowed him to stay consistently within the fastest riders.

Today he continued the work on the set-up and the electronics, leaving the test of the new ‘up-and-down’ seamless gearbox until tomorrow, but today’s time is already 0.444s faster than his best of yesterday and nearly two-tenths-of-a-second closer to his qualifying time of last year’s debut race.

Other positives from tonight for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR were also confirmed by the performance of Aleix Espargaró, who finally regained some feeling with his GSX-RR and began the improvement process that allowed him to perform better. His 1’56.126-lap-time sets him in the 10th place in the classification, but most of the job was done to find a proper setting and work towards the pace as he also focused in the development work of the up-and-down seamless gearbox.

After yesterday’s final test with Suzuki Test Team rider Takuya Tsuda, the new gearbox was installed on the #41 GSX-RR, with the experienced Spaniard to have a first taste of it to give further feedback to the Suzuki engineers.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“Of course it’s nice to be on the top, although we keep our feet on the ground being aware that we are only in a test, but the other positive is that both riders could improve and find a better and better feeling. With Maverick, we are consistently in the top positions, and today he continued to do a good job. Also, Aleix worked positively and registered some progress, which makes us very happy. He found better settings and therefore a better feeling. Tomorrow we will try to improve this final phase of preparation for the Championship and, at this point, we are curious to see how the first races will go.”

Maverick Viñales:

“This was another positive day, not only for the fastest lap but also for the huge job we have done. The step-by-step approach is paying back and my lap-times are good also in terms of pace. Although we worked hard to prepare for the races, I scored the best time and this gives us very good hopes. I’m still working to decide the chassis, we’re still trying both the 2015 and 2016, because we still have issues to verify and room for improvement. The positive is that although my best lap came with the 2015 chassis, the lap times are very close between the old one and the new one, leaving us with many options. As I said, I focused to prepare for the race, so today there was not time to try the new seamless gearbox, as we want to check things within all our configurations. Tomorrow may be the right chance to test it, even though we have also planned a race simulation to verify our consistency on the long distance. For now I’m positive, the leading position is a good feeling although I’m aware there is still a lot to do.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“Finally today was a positive one for me, probably the best day in the whole testing sessions. I can’t say I’m happy, but I definitely feel satisfied. I found a good feeling with my bike and improved the lap times. Although I’m not in a good position in the classification, the work we have done on the consistency is very positive and I feel my pace is pretty good. We still have some issues with my confidence with the front; I’m a very aggressive rider and I like to feel totally comfortable in entering the corners… that was something I had last year and now we must find back. Today we changed a lot the geometry of my machine and this proved to be a major step forward. I also had the chance to test the new full seamless gearbox: The feeling is very positive because the bike is more stable and I don’t lose RPM’s in shifting, but it is still an ‘early’ version and we need to work to finalise its configuration. For sure it is a good step forward and we have much room for improvement. My back hurts a little, but the positive of today gives me a further impulse for tomorrow, but we need to find better efficiency on the time attack and also need a race simulation in order to confirm the good feeling I have about the pace.”

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Continue Development on Second Test Day in Losail

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi completed the second of the three days of testing in Qatar today that mark the final official test of the 2016 MotoGP pre-season schedule. The teammates once again put in long hours as they diligently worked on the settings of their bikes and finished the day in third and eighth place respectively.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were again out on the Losail International circuit in Qatar, putting their 2016 YZR-M1 machines to the test as they continued to look for the ideal balance to use the new Michelin tyres and the new electronics to the fullest.

Despite the dirt gradually clearing from the track, Lorenzo struggled to find traction during today's session, though this barely slowed him down. He impressed by setting a fastest lap early on before continuing his hunt for the perfect set up. He completed the second day with a 1'55.535s lap for third position, less than a tenth of a second from today's fastest time.

Teammate Rossi was the first rider to head out on track today and quickly moved to the top of the time sheets. He then turned his focus to testing some new items. As the restrictive tyre allocation didn't allow him to do a time attack, he was unable to improve on his best time from yesterday. The Italian settled for eighth position with a fastest lap of 1'55.947s, a little more than half a second from today's leader.

Tomorrow will be the final day of testing for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team before the start of the MotoGP season. The crew and riders are looking forward to returning to action and is delighted it will defend its MotoGP Triple Crown with the support from, as of today, more than two million Facebook fans on its official page, facebook.com/yamahamotogp.

Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

"After some very positive results yesterday, we had some unexpected difficulties today finding grip. It's been a different scenario to work with and therefore we mainly focused our attention on the bike's setup and the electronics. The quantity of the front tyres was a bit tight for the testing we had originally planned, so instead we mainly worked on the balance of the bike as opposed to doing a time attack. We also tested some new items that were a part of today's scheduled testing programme. Tomorrow we will continue to fine-tune the settings based on the results we got today and we will follow this up with a time attack as well as a race simulation."

Jorge Lorenzo

3rd / 1'55.535 / 48 laps

"Today it has been a little bit more difficult for us to go faster than yesterday, because the track seemed a little more slippery. We tried many things to solve the electronics and the tyres and, although we didn't make any big improvements, we're still in the top three, that's a good thing. I also did longer stints to understand the behaviour of the bike after some laps, so I'm satisfied because I could keep a higher pace during more laps than yesterday."

Valentino Rossi

8th / 1'55.947 / 56 laps

"The second day was OK, I worked a lot and did a lot of laps because we have quite a lot of work to do. In the end my performance was not fantastic in the lap and the position because I'm a little bit worse compared to yesterday, but in reality we didn't do a real time attack because we tried to save some tyres because it's important for tomorrow. We don't have a lot of tyres, so we're trying to manage. I think tomorrow will be very important for trying to understand our potential in a better way and especially for trying to improve the lap time and also for making a long run and try to understand our pace."

Another positive day for the Ducati Team in Losail testing: Iannone second and Dovizioso sixth

The two Ducati Team riders were once again able to make the most of the time available at the Losail circuit in Qatar, continuing set-up work on their Michelin-shod Desmosedici GP machines in preparation for the start of the championship on March 20.

Andrea Iannone completed a total of 41 laps and at the end of the day he was in second place, 0.072s off the pace of Viñales, while Andrea Dovizioso, who carried out an 18-lap long-run at an excellent pace towards the end of the session, did 46 laps to finish sixth, 0.420s behind the leader.

After tomorrow’s final day of IRTA testing in Qatar, the MotoGP riders will next meet up at the Losail circuit for round 1 in two weeks’ time.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’55.508 (2nd)

“Today was again very positive: we are working well, getting a better idea of the tyres and the new bike and we managed to improve a bit more on yesterday. We still have to work on some aspects, but in my opinion we’ve got a very good, competitive package at this track, and there is room for improvement. I am pleased with the support that I always get from the guys in my team, and tomorrow we will continue with our work schedule. It was a pity that this evening we had to stop a bit earlier than expected: we wanted to do a long-run and it would have been great to gather some data in view of the race. Unfortunately a minor technical problem prevented us from carrying on, but we can make up for this tomorrow.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’55.856 (6th)

“Today was another very productive day, and I am satisfied because we were able to do a lot of set-up work on various aspects of the bike. We made some small improvements and then we went out and did a race simulation at the same time as the start of the GP. I am very happy because I managed to keep a constant pace, and I even did my quickest lap three-quarters of the way through the long-run and this, in my opinion, means that we can go even faster. We are still not completely right however, because during the simulation I could see that we have to improve some details, but in general I am really satisfied.”

Second day of testing for the Repsol Honda Team in Qatar

Night two of the pre-season test at Losail International Circuit saw Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez entering the track a few minutes after 6 p.m. local time, with his teammate Dani Pedrosa following immediately afterward.

On his first run, Marquez improved on yesterday’s time by nearly half a second before crashing without consequences at turn one. He was able to quickly re-join the action and tried various chassis settings with his RC213V. Pedrosa also tried a number of setup options, improving his pace as the evening progressed. With approximately one hour remaining, both riders tried a new aerodynamic solution, using a new fairing with winglets.

Marc rode 42 laps this evening, with his best time of 1’56.046 occurring on lap 4. Dani also completed a total of 42 laps, setting his quickest time of 1’55.857 on his final lap. Temperatures were similar to the first evening, with air and ground maximums of 23° C.

The test will conclude tomorrow.

Dani Pedrosa

1'55.857 42 Laps

“We have improved a lot compared to yesterday even if I found it a little hard to get back on the pace at the beginning. Later on I was able to do almost a full race simulation and was able to gain experience with the electronics and tyres. At the end we tried to improve our feeling, which is not as good as we would like, but we must be positive and improve step by step. We tested the winglets for the first time and they certainly change the feeling we have but the first contact went well. There are some positives and some negative things, but it was only the first prototype and I guess we'll have to change some things to improve the aerodynamics. Let's see if tomorrow, on the last day of testing, we can take a small step forward in order to better understand where we can be in the opening race."

Marc Marquez

1'56.046 42 Laps

“We have taken some steps forward from yesterday. We have improved the feeling when cornering - the bike turns in a little more - and that has allowed us to lower our times slightly, but we still have some problems exiting corners. The pace we have is good although we are still finding it difficult to get rear grip. The lap times are the same with both with new and used tyres; we could not take advantage of the new rubber and that is something we are working on the most. In the last run we tested some small winglets and we will have to analyse them well, because we only used them for one four-lap stint, so there will be further research and development. It is only the first prototype. Tomorrow we will try to take another step forward.”

Another great night for Scott: 4th after the second day of testing at Doha

Another great night for Scott Redding on the Losail circuit at Doha. On the second day of the Qatar test, last step before the start of the season scheduled for March 20th on this track, the British rider was able to make further progress in lowering by 6 tenths of a second his best time (1:56,213) that earned him fifth place in the test debut day.

Having shot down the wall of 1:56 at mid session, Scott continued to improve, lap by lap, notching up an impressive crono of 1:55,677 which allowed him to end fourth the second night in Doha, 1 tenth of a second behind the hypothetical front row and just two tenths off the best laptime of day recorded by Maverick Vinales.

For Redding positive signs came even from the race pace as in the second part of the session he managed to lap consistently in high 1:55 (42 laps completed).

Rather difficult evening for Michele Pirro. Due to a crash on his first laps he was forced to stay long in the pits to allow the mechanics to fix bike one. At the end of day the Ducati test rider completed 21 laps finishing 20th place with a laptime of 1:58,113

4° - Scott Redding 1:55.677

I am very pleased with how things went today. I improved the laptime and it was a goal. I lapped a lot with hard tyre and I felt good. Then I tried the soft but I have not found many benefits. I had a lot of grip at the rear and little confidence at the front. This is the problem that we must try to solve. We do not know if this will be the race tires and tomorrow we will do other tests. All in all, though, I feel I have to be very good on the bike and also the pitch is constant even though I'm still pushing to 100%. Trying to have fun on the bike to bring back my confidence. And I'm very happy.

Determined Tech3 duo power on in day 2 at Qatar

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith pushed on and continued their preseason work in the penultimate day of testing in Qatar. The pair carried on refining their Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes in preparation for the all important 2016 season opener, where they aim to battle for the leading satellite position.

Pol Espargaro stepped his efforts up today and produced a lap that was over half a second quicker than his personal best from yesterday, whilst the overall top time was not lowered significantly. This was despite suffering with a crash at turn 15 that fortunately did not injure him, yet his progress today leaves him confident of advancing further tomorrow. Meanwhile, Bradley Smith wisely decided to preserve his tyres for the final session, where he will attack at full speed. His time of 1'56.517 from yesterday leaves him in 14th in the combined standings and tomorrow he aims to close his preseason campaign strongly.

Pol Espargaro

11th / 1'56.173 / 30 laps

"We are improving step by step every day, but the main thing is, I'm ok after the crash. It was a front-end crash like we had at Phillip Island and we were testing a new, different compound. It was an option to try, but maybe I pushed too hard. However, we can say that it's not the compound that we like the most or one that we want to use at the race weekend here. I felt that we had chatter and movement, like some other riders. Yet, the other tyre is not so bad. I did 26 laps with it, which is more than a race distance and the rhythm was consistent plus, I felt comfortable. Apart from that, everything is ok and we worked on my lines, the rhythm and with the electronics. Every time we run, we learn a bit more about the electronics and we are trying new things all the time. In addition, we focused on the tyres quite a lot but we still need to get more rear grip. At first, I thought the dirty track may have been behind the lack of grip, but that's not the case, so we need to improve in this area, which will be our main target for tomorrow and we may run a race simulation as well. Yet, as a whole, we are improving and moving forward."

Bradley Smith

16th / 1'57.267 / 14 laps

"It goes without saying that today has been a little bit frustrating. We found ourselves in a position where we don't have a lot of tyres available to us that work with my riding style and my bike. At the start of the session, we began with used tyres from yesterday just to see their character after having been heated up twice and I have to admit that I felt quite comfortable, but this was our first run. Later on the second stint, I wanted to try some new tyres so we put a slightly harder compound on with a new rear. In all honesty, I found it really tricky to ride close to a solid lap time. So, after pitting and assessing the situation as well as listening to other riders' feedback, I decided that the best thing to do was to save our good tyres for tomorrow and put our efforts in then. The plan is to do around 60 laps and we'll have to focus all of our energy into getting the maximum from the final session. Anyway, the general feeling that I had with the bike in the first run was positive, so we're not far away from where we want to be. After some work tomorrow and hopefully a race simulation, we'll be ready for the first GP of the year."

Fifth place for Barbera and good pace for Baz on the second day in Qatar

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

Avintia Racing team riders focussed in their bikes race set up and both completed a big number of laps today at the Losail International Circuit. They want to make sure that everything is ready when the red lights turn off the night of the 20th of March. Michelin brought two front tyre specs to this test, but only one suits with the Hector and Loris’ Ducati Desmosedici GP, so with only four front tyres for three days, the team had to make a minute plan to save one set of tyres for tomorrow.

Hector Barbera ended the session with the fifth fastest time, but the he went out to do a 15 laps race simulation and his pace was fast and constant. Also Loris Baz made a long run, and he almost completed the full race distance. The Avintia Racing French rider set his fastest lap time in this run, but he wants to go faster tomorrow to cut some tenths.

HECTOR BARBERA #8 / @HectorBarbera 1'55.815 P5

“I’m happy because today we could work without any incident and from the first time out my feeling with the bike was great. I was immediately fast lapping low 56s quite easily and every time I went back on track I made improvements. We did a small race simulation, mainly to check the fuel consumption, and it was very positive because my pace was constant. Everyday the first race is closer and everyday we are more ready, improving in every test, I’m fast and I feel better with the bike. Today we finished the plan at nine so we stopped, we only have four front tyres that work with our bike, yesterday we used two, today one and we kept one for tomorrow. Once again I want to thank my team because one more day they we giving their 100%.”

LORIS BAZ #76 / @lorisbaz 1'56.427 P12

“Today was a good day and I’m happy, but the problem are the limited number of front tyres, there are two references and one of them doesn’t work with our bike, so we only have four for three days. Yesterday we used two, so today it was not possible to use one for the time attack and one for the race simulation that we had planned. So we decided to focus on the second option. We did 18 laps and my pace was quite good, but we need to make further improvements. The positive note is that I did my best lap at the beginning of the long run and with full tank. I would like to have more tyres to do more laps tomorrow, but is the same for everybody. Overall we are doing a good job and tomorrow we’ll do one more step forward. The most important thing for this test is to work towards the race, and this is what we are doing.”


Just one more day of testing remains before the start of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship, after Cal Crutchlow and his LCR Honda Team completed day two of three at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

Having spent the first day of the test focusing on getting comfortable with the new factory spec Honda power unit he will race with this year, the Briton today focused on trying to improve the front-end feel from his RC213V.

As on day one, testing was brought to an early end after temperatures at the desert venue dropped considerably and a fine layer of dew formed on the asphalt. Crutchlow eventually settled for the 13th fastest time of the evening, with a best lap of 1’56.584.

#35 Cal Crutchlow – 13th – 1’56.584

“It was a bad day today. I think it’s clear to see that we are struggling a bit. All the Honda riders are feeling some problems at the moment, and we need to keep working closely with them. At the moment it’s a little concerning because we can’t brake into the corner and turn the bike as we would like. However, we know Honda are doing a really good job for our team, and we’re giving them the best information that we can to improve things.”

“We will see how it goes, because I was confident about being able to go fast today, but it just wasn’t possible. I think in a race situation we are probably in a bit better shape than it looks, but we still need to improve as best we can.”

“The big problem for everybody today was the tyre allocation. There are some big vibrations from some of the tyres and so it is impossible to use them, but that meant we had one front tyre basically for the whole day today if we want to be able to ride tomorrow. We’ll keep working, and will be looking long and hard at the data overnight to feedback information to the crew and to Honda. We still have to be optimistic.”

Yonny Hernández and Eugene Laverty improve lap times and feeling in Qatar

Thursday, 03 March 2016 22:09

ASPAR Team riders continue to work with electronics as they adapt to their Ducatis, gaining speed and confidence

The countdown to the start of the MotoGP World Championship is getting closer, with just one more night of preseason action to come in Qatar before the season starts for real in two weeks' time. The second of three nights' testing took place at the Losail circuit tonight, with the track again open from 4pm to 11pm although there was little action in the early or late stages, when the conditions were unsuitable. Jorge Lorenzo set the pace yesterday but tonight it was the turn of Maverick Viñales, who overcame his fellow Spaniard as he rounds off an impressive preseason that marks him out as a man to watch in 2016. Viñales went slightly quicker than Lorenzo managed yesterday but once again the times were tight, with up to twelve riders separated by less than a second.

It was a particularly productive night's work for the ASPAR Team, with both riders completing a number of laps on used tyres as they continue to work towards the opening race of the season at Losail in two weeks. Yonny Hernández and Eugene Laverty both improved their best lap time from yesterday, the Colombian finding almost four tenths and the Irishman around half a second. The pair again worked hard on their electronics packages and gradually improved their feeling with the Ducati. At the end of play tonight Yonny was fourteenth fastest, 1.2 seconds off Viñales, with Eugene a second further back in seventeenth place.

14th Yonny Hernández 1.56.667 (38 laps): “We worked on the electronics again today and I am happy because we have taken another step forward. We have improved our lap times from the first day and we are getting closer and closer to the top. We also tested the second bike, which we had a little problem with because it was cutting out but thankfully we managed to fix it at the end of the night. We'll go out with the second bike again tomorrow night to make sure everything is okay and to do a little work with the chassis. We have done a lot of work with the electronics during testing but we need to improve a little more. I am satisfied though because we have done a lot of laps on used tyres and the bike responded well.”

17th Eugene Laverty 1.57.670 (41 laps): “"We've made some progress today and we've been able to find out a little bit more about how the bike reacts with the changes we make to it, although we have been a little restricted by the tyre allocation here. We'll do a longer run tomorrow - I'm not sure it will be possible to do a full race simulation because of the numbers of tyres available but I certainly want to find out how my body feels. The race here is 24 laps and I am still not sure how my hand will react so we need to be ready."


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