MOTOGP RIDERS REACTS TO QATAR TESTS

The 2016 IRTA MotoGP tests has been the most incredible of MotoGP tests in a long time all thanks to the new technical regulations – Unified Spec Magnetti Marelli ECU Software, Michellin tyres, 22 liters equal fuel load, elimination of the Open Class bikes and access to same tyre specs. These regulations has caused tremendous changes as well as revealed new opportunities for riders, manufacturers, teams and the sports alike  

 
After the just concluded three day Qatar Tests, riders expressed Satisfaction and anticipation for the start of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship series which kick starts on the 20th of March, 2016 under the Losail International Circuit Floodlights

Valentino Rossi: “In the end I‘m quite happy. Unfortunately I had another crash in the same corner, but it was a small one and I was able with the team to try everything. In the last hour and a half we improved the setting and I had quite a strong pace and did a good time attack. The lap time is not so bad and more importantly I did a race simulation and I was strong. I think that it will be quite tough, because it seems that from the first test the other bikes improved a lot, but now we are there at their level. I think a lot of riders can be fast for the first Grand Prix, but we are competitive. The problem was that the track improved a lot day by day and the stress on the front tyre increased, so we had to move. Yesterday was not so bad, but today‘s was too soft. I think the last five laps of the race will be difficult for everybody, but the bike is good to ride, so we‘re able to keep a good pace.”

Andrea Iannone: “In the end these have been three days of positive tests and I am satisfied. We still have to understand a few things in view of the race, but I think that we have all the right cards to improve even more. For sure the data we picked up will be analyzed carefully in the next few days and I am confident that during the race weekend we can improve our competitive level even more. Today we didn’t do a time-attack and we didn’t use a soft rear tyre to set our time, but I’m not worried about my position in the standings because we were doing a different job. Even though the long-run didn’t go the way I expected, we have prepared well for the race and I am calm and confident about the start of the season.”

Cal Crutchlow: “Today was a better day, together with the team we worked well. The problem however was that we didn’t have enough tyres for the whole testing session, the same as a lot of the other riders. Unfortunately, that meant we were using some used tyres when we started to do our longer run and I had a front-end crash. The bike actually flipped over and landed on top of me, so I had to have some scans and check-ups afterwards. I’m in a little bit of pain, but actually overall I’m happier today than the other days, that’s for sure. I hope we can continue to work this way for the race weekend here. I need to thank the team for these three days because yesterday I think all Honda riders were a bit stuck, but we’ve started to find our way a little more. Now we’ll go away for a week’s training, before we come back here for the first race in two weeks’ time. I’m really looking forward to getting going.”

Scott Redding: “I am really very happy. I wanted to push hard to see my potential. At the beginning we struggled a bit with the new tyres but things improved after day. Today I was strong with the new tyre but I set my best time on lap ten with a tyre that had 15 laps already. And the race is not much longer. I am very happy, I feel that the confidence is coming. In these days we also had two bikes and this gave me the opportunity to push without having any worries. Qatar GP? When I say that my goal is the Top 6 some start to laugh. I’m proving to be able to stay at that level and I will try to do even better.”

Eugene Laverty:“We have to be positive because this is the first test we have completed without a major accident! I have got my confidence back and that’s the most important thing going into the new season. I have built up my feeling with the bike at this test, I still had a strange feeling with the front but we did make some big progress in that area towards the end of the session today. Unfortunately at that point we didn’t have the best tyres to run so I couldn’t set a lap time but it does mean that we finish this test with a smile and we know we have made an important step before the race weekend.” 

Hector Barbera: “I’m really happy because we did a really good job during these three days, much better compared with the previous tests. We had the pace, the speed and although I crashed twice, this was not a problem, as they came when I was trying to find the limit. Those were my first two crashes over the winter, but is better that they came now and not in the Grand Prix weekend. This was the best test of the winter for me, even though the position is not so good, bit I’m extremely happy with the way we have worked. Winter testing has been really good, and my confidence is high. I’m ready to race.”

Marc Marquez:  “Honestly, I’m very happy today, because we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I went back to having a good feeling on the bike, and even though I crashed I know why it happened. We have improved a lot and I want to thank my team for the great work they have done, because they are working very hard; yesterday they finished at 3am, and they were back here at the circuit for 10am today. I am very happy because we have taken a step forward at a track where I have struggled before. We have made some big changes that have allowed me to start gaining confidence, riding at a good pace both behind Jorge [Lorenzo] and alone, even despite the dew on track at the end. It is still not enough, and we need to improve more, but after today I have much more confidence for the race. Yesterday I was worried about our level, because I had no pace or confidence, and today we have taken a big step forward, so I’m happy with the final result of the last preseason test. We have found out a lot of things that have allowed me to ride at a fairly good level.”

Aleix Espargaro: “Needless to say that this winter pre-season has been very tough for me. I crashed so many times and this slowed down our development job. I still feel I lack in confidence with the front-end, as said I am a very aggressive rider and I like to turn the bike with the front in my hands; unfortunately we haven’t found the compromise that allows me to be confident in this and the result is that I crashed a lot. Anyhow, apart from the single-lap classification I must say that we are not in a bad position, the results don’t reflect the real potential we have and the job we have done on consistency will probably pay us back. The evolutions introduced by Suzuki are effective, we have a lot of room for improvements and the race will probably see me more competitive than what I could in tests.”

Pol Espargaro: “I am really satisfied with what we achieved today, even though of course, there is still margin of improvement that we can make. After the issues that we had in Malaysia where we didn’t know which direction to head towards and where we were struggling with the electronics, I wasn’t really optimistic. In Phillip Island we were able to improve and I ended the test in the top ten which is very important because it is where we need to be. Here, we were still not particularly strong on a single lap, but the most important thing is that I was one of the few riders who ran a race simulation and our rhythm was very strong.

“We were also able to finalise our tyre choice and the tyre that I used was good. In fact, we rode two laps more than race distance. The only inconvenience of the simulation was the interruption because of the red flag. However, when I pitted, we didn’t touch the bike at all and when I went out again, I was able to improve my time. Actually, I rode my fastest lap after having covered the full distance, which is something that I was never able to do with Bridgestone tyres, but with Michelin, I can. Therefore, I feel very comfortable and I am excited to start the season here in Qatar. Honestly, I expect the qualifying to be tricky for us, but on Sunday I am sure we will be able to do great things.”

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