Moto GP

Jorge Lorenzo heads the time sheets on day one of Qatar testing

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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.

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.

"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," Lorenzo said.
Valentino Rossi
Teammate Valentino Rossi was also eager to get back to work, but had to delay making his mark on the time sheets 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.

"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," Rossi said.

"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, Vi̱ales 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," Rossi concluded.

Main Photo: Jorge Lorenzo
Credit: Yamaha Racing

MotoGP Test Times - Wednesday
1. Jorge Lorenzo, ESP, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 1?55.452s [Lap 23/36]
2. Maverick Vi̱ales, ESP, Team Suzuki Ecstar, 1?55.880s, +0.428s [28/44]
3. Valentino Rossi, ITA, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 1?55.894s, +0.442s [31/34]
4. Andrea Iannone, ITA, Ducati Team, 1?56.119s, +0.667s [53/53]
5. Scott Redding, GBR, Octo Pramac Yakhnich, 1?56.213s, +0.761s [27/46]
6. Hector Barbera, ESP, Avintia Racing, 1?56.320s, +0.868s [27/27]
7. Andrea Dovizioso, ITA, Ducati Team, 1?56.388s, +0.936s [46/52]
8. Cal Crutchlow, GBR, LCR Honda, 1?56.510s, +1.058s [21/36]
9. Bradley Smith, GBR, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, 1?56.517s, +1.065s [23/38]
10. Marc Marquez, ESP, Repsol Honda Team, 1?56.523s, +1.071s [29/45]
11. Aleix Espargaro, ESP, Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR), 1?56.552s, +1.100s [25/35]
12. Pol Espargaro, ESP, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, 1?56.747s, +1.295s [34/43]
13. Dani Pedrosa, ESP, Repsol Honda Team, 1?56.910s, +1.458s [26/27]
14. Yonny Hernandez, COL, Aspar MotoGP Team, 1?57.021s, +1.569s [39/40]
15. Loris Baz, FRA, Avintia Racing, 1?57.121s, +1.669s [31/32]
16. Jack Miller, AUS, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, 1?57.850s, +2.398s [33/37]
17. Michele Pirro, ITA, Octo Pramac Yakhnich, 1?57.891s, +2.439s [48/50]
18. Tito Rabat, ESP, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, 1?58.016s, +2.564s [36/38]
19. Stefan Bradl, GER, Factory Aprilia Gresini, 1?58.066s, +2.614s [14/26]
20. Eugene Laverty, IRL, Aspar MotoGP Team, 1?58.269s, +2.817s [32/34]
21. Hiroshi Aoyama, JPN, Honda Test Rider, 1?58.744s, +3.292s [28/52]
22. Alvaro Bautista, ESP, Factory Aprilia Gresini, 1?58.753s, +3.301s [16/16]
23. Takuya Tsuda, JPN, Suzuki Test Rider, 2?0.578s, +5.126s [35/45]

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