Moto GP

Lorenzo tops the time sheets as Qatar testing concludes


A crash-filled final day in Qatar as the MotoGP World Championship conclude their pre-season testing, Lorenzo on top again.

MotoGP riders were given one last test session before the 2016 season begins on the 20th of March in Qatar. For many riders it was a difficult final day as they pushed for a fast lap, a number of falls occurring as a result.

After a slow start to the session with only Stefan Bradl venturing out in the opening hours, Valentino Rossi suffered his second fall at Turn 10 midway through the session. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider was unhurt and was able to return to his box and resume testing.

Soon after Tito Rabat suffered a fall at Turn 6, the rider unhurt. Later in the evening the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS man suffered another fall, again unhurt. Both Aleix Espargaro and Loris Baz fell with over two hours remaining, Espargaro‰Ûªs a fast off at Turn 3. Neither rider was injured. There were further falls for Hector Barbera and Cal Crutchlow, the latter heading to the Clinca Mobile for checks and was deemed fit.

But it was Jorge Lorenzo who led the field on the final day with a 1‰Ûª54.810, easily the fastest lap of the test. The current MotoGP World Champion was the lone rider down into the 1‰Ûª54s at the end of the three-day test and over half a second faster than his closest rivals. Not only was Lorenzo‰Ûªs one lap pace near untouchable, his race simulation was demonic with the majority of laps in the low 1‰Ûª56s and several in the 1‰Ûª55s, even towards the end. Few other riders managed a run of 22 consecutive laps, none able to touch Lorenzo‰Ûªs pace.

"It was a very positive day, because we improved our lap time a lot and we did a complete race simulation, that has been very good because I did a few laps in the 1'55s even with not the best front tyre," Lorenzo said.

"With the softer one, with which you could be much faster, we had some graining. This tyre will probably not be available in the race weekend, because Michelin is planning to change its tyre allocation to one tyre that's a little bit harder and one that's not so hard as the one I used for the simulation. With the intermediate tyre on the front I could have been even faster, so I'm happy with the fastest lap time and the simulation and we are ready to be competitive for the race."
Scott Redding was second fastest on combined times and in the top times in all sessions

0.516s behind Lorenzo on the second day, and in the overall times, was Scott Redding. The satellite Ducati rider was able to produce a great lap of 1‰Ûª55.326 aboard his Octo Pramac Yakhnich GP15, the year old machine still proving competitive at the Qatar circuit. Aside from being the leading satellite bike, Redding was also the leading Ducati with a comfortable 0.2s margin over Andrea Iannone at the end of the third day.

"I am really very happy. I wanted to push hard to see my potential. At the beginning we struggled a bit with the new tires but things improved after day," Redding said.

"Today I was strong with the new tire but I set my best chrono on lap ten with a tire 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 someone starts to laugh. I'm proving to be able to stay at that level and I will try to do even better."
Maverick Vi̱ales headed the time sheets on day 2 but on combined times was 3rd fastest
Improving his Thursday best by 0.103s, Maverick Vi̱ales continued to shine under the desert floodlights. A 1‰Ûª55.333 saw the Team Suzuki Ecstar man third on Friday and third overall. As with the previous days, Vi̱ales continued to focus on shorter runs.

With under half an hour of the test to go, Marc Marquez set his best time of the test with a 1‰Ûª55.402. As on Thursday, the Repsol Honda Team rider had left the pits early and began to push from the start of the session, suffering a fall at the last corner as a result. After this crash it was a matter of rebuilding his confidence until a final flying lap dragged him to fourth, Honda riders having struggled outside the top five for much of the test.
"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." Valentino Ross
In fifth on the final day was Valentino Rossi with a 1‰Ûª55.429 completed on his 36th lap of 55. All of the top five were able to go faster than Vi̱ales‰Ûª best time from Thursday. The Qatar Test has seen Rossi focus on gathering data, putting in a total of 144 laps across the three days in the desert. Frustratingly once again Rossi was over half a second behind his teammate, though no doubt his hard work testing settings will assist him in the long run.

Sixth on both the final day and overall, Andrea Iannone was one of only a handful of riders who did not improve their time on the final day. The Italian‰Ûªs 1‰Ûª55.508 stood as his best single lap of the test, but like Lorenzo he turned his attention to a longer run on the final day.

Under a tenth back on Iannone was Cal Crutchlow who was able to improve his Thursday best time by over half a second to end the day and concluded the test in seventh. With Dani Pedrosa again having a difficult time on the factory bike, Crutchlow was the second fastest Honda rider. Crutchlow was 0.108s ahead of Andrea Dovizioso who set his fastest lap on lap 47, his last lap of testing.

Suffering two falls on the final day, Hector Barbera still managed to end as the fourth fastest Ducati in ninth with a 1‰Ûª55.733. The Spaniard was only able to manage 23 laps on the closing day. After three successful tests, Barbera heads into the first round of the championship confident of battling for the top ten. All of the top nine were within a second of Lorenzo‰Ûªs lap.
Dani Pedrosa was way down in 14th and really happy with where things are at the end of testing.
After a difficult pre-season, Dani Pedrosa concluded the final test as the tenth fastest rider due to his 1‰Ûª55.857 from Thursday. The Repsol Honda rider was visibly frustrated when talking to the media after the Qatar Test and will need a significant change of fortune before the season starts.

‰ÛÏWe had not many tyres left so we couldn‰Ûªt do much testing today and I finish more early than usual," Pedrosa explained. "Unfortunately the conclusions are not entirely satisfactory. Over the three days we have tried to test a lot of things, but there are still some ideas that we want to apply the next time we are on track. With the data obtained in the last few tests, the technicians in Japan will work to try to make some changes ahead of the first Grand Prix. We'll see if they are favourable, and if we can get better performance for the race.‰Û

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