2016 Qatar Moto2 & Moto3 Test Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of the final preseason test at Qatar:

Red Bull KTM Ajo kick off final preseason test in Qatar

Brad Binder and Bo Bendsneyder successfully complete first of three nights of testing in Qatar, setting the eighth and tenth fastest times, respectively.

03/11/2016 - Losail International Circuit

Just a week before the 2016 Moto3 World Championship season gets underway, the Red Bull KTM Ajo team have one final chance to show their preseason potential this weekend in Qatar. Friday saw the start of the last preseason test at the Losail International Circuit, and both Brad Binder and Bo Bendsneyder achieved positive results onboard their KTM bikes on the opening night. The pair placed eighth and tenth, respectively, on the combined timesheet.

From the start of the evening, the young riders showed that they reach the end of the preseason in strong form. Brad Binder was the fastest rider in the first session with a time of 2:08.257, whilst Bo Bendsneyder accompanied him into the Top 10 with the seventh quickest lap. For the latter, it was his first time riding at the Qatari track.

In the second session, both improved their top times by more than a second, and they then further surpassed their previous best laps in the final run. Binder set a 2:07.048 in the last hour, with Bendsneyder again inside the Top 10. The Dutchman put in a spectacular lap of 2:07.453. In the end, both riders completed a total of 51 laps -adding up to 274km.

The floodlights at the Losail International Circuit will be powered up again on Saturday night, for the second of the three nights of testing for the lower cylinder classes.

Brad Binder,

"Tonight was difficult for us. In the first session we did not have much grip, but we were able to ride better than later on -when the grip level increased. We have been working to address different aspects with which we were not feeling comfortable. In the last session we found a setup that is definitely much better. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make the most of this to set a fast lap as the red flag was shown, but things are improving every time we ride. We have two more nights of testing and time in which to continue working."

Bo Bendsneyder,

"I'm happy with this first night of testing here at the Losail International Circuit. This was also the first time I've ridden here, so we started the day learning and understanding the layout of the track. After that, we were able to start working with the bike and improving the setup, but we are taking things step-by-step. The last session was very good; we improved our times and our pace is getting faster, so I'm satisfied. I'm eager to get back out there tomorrow and continue moving forward."


The final pre-season test of the Gresini Racing Team Moto3 ahead of the 2016 season kicked off today in Qatar: Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio faced the first of three days of night testing under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit, immediately getting a good feedback.

Enea Bastianini put in 29 laps, setting a lap time of 2’07”346: the 18-year-old rider from Rimini will continue to work tomorrow on the set up of his Honda, focusing in particular on the rear end.

Also Fabio Di Giannantonio was satisfied of this first day: the young rookie completed 46 laps improving himself in each session and closing the evening with a best time of 2’08”467. For the 17-year-old rider from Rome this was the first contact with the Losail circuit and also the first night test under the floodlights.

ENEA BASTIANINI (9th - 2'07"346)

“Today we needed some time to get used to a very different track compared to Jerez and also to the night test: we still made a good job, although we must continue to make the most of the next two days of testing, because many riders were already very strong today. This is one of the few occasions when you can test just before the race weekend, so it will be important to be able to find a good setting to get prepared for the season opener. We are only at the beginning of the test and today the track was still a little dirty, so it’s difficult to draw conclusions and to understand in which direction to work: in any case, at this time we are struggling a little bit at the rear and we have already some ideas to improve tomorrow”.

FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO (26th - 2'08"467)

“I’m quite happy, because today I always improved myself, session after session, and also every time I went out on track. The track is really beautiful and riding at night is exciting! At the moment we are still a bit far from the top, but I just started to learn the track and this was only the first day of testing, so we can only improve! Let's see how it goes tomorrow!”.

Johann Zarco starts final preparations for first GP of 2016

Reigning Moto2 World Champion ends first night of testing at Losail International Circuit fifth on the combined timesheet.

03/11/2016 - Losail International Circuit

After the first official test of the season in Jerez, Johann Zarco arrived at the second and final test in Qatar with a clear objective: To further improve his performance in order to go into the first Grand Prix weekend of the year as prepared as possible. With a best time of 2:00.542 on the first night at Losail, the Ajo Motorsport rider completed the first of the three days of testing in fifth place in the combined timesheet -only 4 tenths off the best time.

The reigning Moto2 World Champion started the day's action with a time of 2:01.342 in the first hour of the test, which placed him fifth provisionally. Later on, with a cleaner track, the Frenchman lowered his previous best to set his top Friday time of 2:00:542 -giving him fourth. In the last session, he was just 9 thousandths of a second off that lap time, to conclude the night fifth on the timesheets. Overall, Zarco put in a total of 49 laps -264km.

The Ajo Motorsport team and Zarco will be able to continue working on Saturday, where a change in schedule means that the Moto2 class will open up the action.

Johann Zarco,

"I'm happy, because I felt much better than in Jerez last week. I was able to prepare well, so it has been a success. The temperatures were high, which gave me a positive vibe, and the pace and lap times were both good. We have been consistent, and that's great. In any case, we must improve our times even more. Tonight, at the last minute, we tested some new setups that have not worked out as we had wanted. In three nights of testing we aim to improve our pace and our fastest lap. That's it for today, so now it's time to rest and regain our energy for tomorrow."


The first day of official IRTA testing at the Losail circuit began for the three young riders of the Leopard Racing Team.

Leopard Racing finally departed Andalusia, having visited the Jerez circuit three times in the past month, the team landing in the desert of Qatar for the first day of testing. This will be the last chance the Moto3 riders have to test before the season starts at the same circuit.

During the first day of testing at the Losail International Circuit, the three riders rolled up their sleeves for the final two sessions, having chosen to miss the first session due to a dirty track and temperatures drastically different from what the race weekend will hold.

It was a particularly important test for rookie Joan Mir who spent the majority of the day studying and learning the circuit, having never previously raced there. Between the second and third session, Mir was able to improve his time by a second. Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Locatelli continued on the same path as in Jerez, refining the setup of the KTM RC250 GP machines with small changes to the chassis.

Quartararo closed the final session in second place with a 2’06.622 which saw him wrap the day up in third overall. Teammate Joan Mir was 13th while Locatelli ended the day in 24th. Testing will continue on Saturday and Sunday at the Losail circuit.

#20 Fabio QUARTARARO - 3rd (2:06.622):

“Today we went out in only two sessions because the heat was strong, but they were two positive runs. In the second session I went out on track with a hard tyre and I managed to use it till the end, in the third session I felt comfortable with fresh tyres. I’m happy because I did my time alone. We’ve made a big step forward compared to Jerez. The goal tomorrow is to improve my time even more.”

#36 Joan MIR - 13th (2:07.529):

"It’s been a very positive day, I learned a lot about this track I did not know. Today we have not changed the bike a lot because we already had a good base from the previous IRTA test, after all, the main thing that needed to improve today was me. I’m happy because in each session I improved my time, the last run I wasn’t able to improve my time further as I still have to get used to the soft rubber, which requires a slightly different trajectory. I am very satisfied and there are still two days to get better!”

#55 Andrea LOCATELLI - 24th (2:08.296):

“It was a day of ups and downs. We have not made big changes, but we have also improved the understanding and feeling of the bike. We’ll see tomorrow where we have to change the bike because I lose a little in every sector out of the corners. I like the track and I am confident, too bad there was a red flag that slowed me down when I was about to push. Tomorrow we’ll go right.”

Jorge Navarro fastest on first day of Official Test in Qatar

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders begin finalising the setups for their bikes on first day of testing in Qatar. Navarro places first on the combined timesheets and Aron Canet fourteenth on his maiden run at Losail.

This season, unlike previous ones, the second official pre-season test for Moto3 is being held at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Last year, Jorge Navarro made his debut as a Grand Prix rider at the track, which was totally new for him. This season, teammate and rookie Aron Canet will have the benefit of previous track time at the Qatari circuit.

With the floodlights at Losail still off, the day of testing began at 3 p.m local time with the first Moto3 session. Navarro placed second and Canet thirteenth. In the second session, Navarro led the timesheets from the beginning, with a time of 2:06.176 that was just 0.006 off the Moto3 pole record. It was enough for him to top the combined standings on the opening night in Qatar.

Canet improved by 3 seconds on his best lap from the first session, placing just outside the Top 10 in eleventh. The young rookie was fourteenth for the day, with his best time of 2:07.533 set in the last session on Friday.

Tomorrow the Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders begin their activity on track at 4:30 p.m –Qatar Local Time–, up second after a Moto2-only session opens the action.

Jorge Navarro

1st, 2:06.176, 51 laps, 275Km

"The goal today was not a fast time, but rather to have a good feeling"

"I had a good feeling from the start, even though in the first session there was little grip because it was still daytime and the temperatures were high. In the second session it was fully night, and the feeling was very good. We made some minor adjustments to the rear suspension and we rode very fast, but the goal today was not a fast time, but rather to have a good feeling. I wanted to improve my lap times in the last run of the day, but in the final minutes the red flag was out and it was not possible. Nevertheless, I am still very satisfied with the work the crew and I have done today."

Aaron Canet

14th, 2:07.533, 52 laps, 281Km

"We focused on understanding this circuit, which is new for me"

"I love this track. I tend to like circuits with tight corners more, such as Navarra, but here I felt very comfortable from the start. The first session today was in the day and visibility was not very good; then the following two sessions were at night and visibility was better. There are some blind corners at this circuit, and the floodlights that illuminate the track mean you can see much better, which made me more comfortable riding at night than in the day. We continue to work on regaining our feeling with the bike, as we did at the last test in Jerez, but today we also focused on understanding this circuit, which is new for me."


The final pre-season test for the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 started today in Qatar where it had finished last week in Jerez, with Sam Lowes once again very fast and very consistent: under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit, the 25-year-old British rider was the fastest in the first two sessions, finally closing the evening with the second fastest time, 2’00”084, beaten by Alex Rins for only 0.013 seconds in the third and final session.

As happened in the previous tests at Jerez, however, Lowes put on display an impressive race pace, who using old tyres throughout the second session and finally completing a race simulation of 21 laps with a good rhythm in the third and final session.

SAM LOWES (2nd - 2'00"084)

“It was a really good first day. In the last session we chose to make a race run: the race distance is 20 laps here, and we did 21 laps. It was fantastic, the pace is really good and consistent so I’m happy for that. In the second session we used old tyres and we worked well, and also tomorrow we have a lot of things to try. We need to work on the turning of the bike, on front end feeling and also a little bit on the grip. All the team, Ohlins and Kalex are working really good!”.

Testing begins in Qatar for Baldassarri and Marini

The first of the three days of testing is over Lorenzo for Lorenzo Baldassarri and Luca Marini of the Forward team. The two members of the VR46 Riders Academy focused mostly on the setting of the bike in sight of the first race of the championship, which will be held next week.

Baldassarri tried several solutions on the front and back, stopping the clock at 2: 01 097, which earned him the 11th position.

Marini began his familiarization work with the track of Losail, where he is competing for the first time. He set his fastest lap on 2: 01,992, which earned him the 21st position in the combined standings of the day.

Lorenzo Baldassarri

"Day one is over, we have worked very hard and we had to make several changes compared to Jerez, the track is very different. Tomorrow will be a different day but I have positive feelings".

Luca Marini

"It's my first time here in Qatar, all in all it was not bad. I have to get used to the track and to the surface of the circuit which is a bit different from what I’m used to. Tomorrow we will try different setting and we will see how much I can improve".


Danny Kent and Miguel Oliveira engaged their rivals of the intermediate class once more, this time during official IRTA testing in Qatar.

With the air temperature starting off at 28 °C and ground temperature up at 36 °C, the Leopard Racing pair began pair working from the first session. Fortunately the Moto3 riders had been out on track first, cleaning the circuit for the Moto2 riders. This was the first time Leopard Racing have run their Moto2 machines on the Qatar track, the team having competed only in the lightweight class in 2015.

Kent and Oliveira took to the Losail International Circuit at 16:30 Local Time and completed 52 and 40 laps respectively. They both continued to work on adapting and improving their riding styles for the 600cc machines. Oliveira’s main focus was on improving the front of his Kalex while Kent began with his setting from Jerez and worked from there.

Both worked on improving their feeling on new tyres at the track, an important step as the first race of 2016 will take place here on the 20th of March. Britain’s Danny Kenny put in a 2’00.987 in the final session which earned him a tenth place finish on the combined times. An engine failure in the Kalex of Miguel Oliveira slowed the Portuguese rider’s preparation before he could push for a flying lap.

#44 Miguel OLIVEIRA - 25th (2:02.342):

“The day started well, I liked the changes made to the bike right away. In the last session I expected to make another step, which would have allowed me to get closer to the riders ahead. But we had a small engine problem and now the technicians are working to analyse the source of the problem to be ready for tomorrow. I have a good feeling, now to improve the bike.”

#52 Danny KENT - 10th (2:00.987):

“It’s been a good first day here in Qatar and I’m very happy with how things are going. We’ve ended day one inside the top ten and within a second of the top. It’s not the most important thing but for a rider’s head it’s always nice to be inside the top ten. After three years away it’s especially important in Moto2. Step by step we’re getting close and closer to the front group and every time we’re riding we’re learning more and more about the bike and figuring how to be fast. Still there’s a few things I need to change about my riding style to go fast in Moto2 but 18 races, it’s a long year and we’ll get closer and closer.”


Less than a week to the start of the 2016 season - Last three days of testing for Fenati, Migno and Bulega in Doha

The march towards the first Grand Prix of the 2016 season continues for the Sky Racing Team VR46. The italian team is testing from today at Doha circuit in Qatar. After the excellent results collected at Jerez de la Frontera, the hard work of development of the new KTM continues for Romano Fenati, Andrea Migno and Nicolò Bulega.

Romano Fenati, the fastest on the Andalusian circuit, reached a good feeling on his KTM and he closes the first day of testing with a best of 2.06.896 that earned him the 5th place in the combined standings. Day of hard work also for Andrea Migno who recorded a time of 2.06.917 and he is 7th. Positive start for Nicolò Bulega for the first time on the Losail track. The italian rookie used the first sessions for taking confidence with the Qatar circuit and with a good time of 2.07.605 he is in the 15th position in the final standings of the Day 1.

The development of the new KTM for the Sky Racing Team VR46 will continue at Losail circuit even tomorrow and Sunday.

PABLO NIETO - Team Manager

It closes the first day of work outside Europe for the team. We are satisfied with what has been done and we believe we can improve for the race. Romano had a good pace and he will continue his work tomorrow. Andrea was strong from the first session and this means he did a great step forward. Nicolo rode for the first time on this track, difficult and long and he found a good feeling. He will continue taking confidence with the track tomorrow.

ROMANO FENATI - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46

BEST TIME > 2.06.896

I'm satisfied with what I did today. I improved my lap time of the last year in the first session and this is a great start. The pace is good, even with the old tires and I’m confident we can make a good step forward tomorrow. The goal is improving for the race of next week.

ANDREA MIGNO - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46

BEST TIME > 2.06.917

I closed the first day of testing with a good time and I’m satisfied. We worked on the setup, my position on the bike and we tried some new solution and we are happy with the feeling found. I have to continue in this direction and be constant.

NICOLÒ BULEGA - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46

BEST TIME > 2.07.605

Overall I am satisfied with today's work. The goal was to understand the track and try to know the trajectories. The lap time is not bad and I am confident I can improve tomorrow.

Strong start of Loi’s desert campaign

Livio Loi and RW Racing GP have made a strong start of their ‘desert campaign’ in the IRTA test in Qatar. Loi completed the first day in second overall, after finishing the three sessions in sixth, second and first in the final session, showing clearly that his fastest time of 2.06,462 wasn’t a coincidence.

Loi was fast from the start and except for a small run off into the gravel bed in the first session, didn’t make a mistake. On top of that all Loi set all of his fast lap times on his own, without the help of tows or slipstreams from the group.

“Livio did a terrific job,” RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen stated. “He was fast in all sessions, very consistent and all by himself. It is just a test - next week in qualifying it could be all different - but this really shows the steps we made, especially in pure speed and consistency. It wasn’t just one fast lap, like others did.”

Obviously the Belgian rider was very pleased with his fastest time in the third session and second overall. “I was in the mix right from the start and the rhythm was good all day. To be honest it didn’t cost me that much effort to set times like these. There was no stress or pressure - nothing at all. And there was no need to either. It was very good for my confidence that I was able to set these lap times on my own. Sometimes there were riders waiting for a tow, but I didn’t stay with them but simply passed them and did my own thing, finishing my laps. The good thing is that I know now that I don’t need a slipstream or any help to be fast. The fastest actually.''


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