MotoGP teams completed the third and final evening of testing yesterday under the artificial light of Losail International Circuit in Qatar, UAE. Official testing has concluded and teams will now set their sights on the start of the season, taking place again less than two weeks’ time.
At the end of the test it was new Yamaha recruit Maverick Vinales taking top honors. The Spaniard recorded 60 laps through the evening, six more than his stable mate and seven-time World Champion Valentino Rossi.
“I’m really happy, we made another step with the bike and I feel comfortable, even on the race pace we are quite happy,” Vinales said. “I feel that we can still better the electronics and gain a couple of tenths, so we have a margin to improve.”
“For sure were not on the bikes limit, so we can still push a little bit more,” he revealed. “If we do the same in the first GP as we did in the test, we can fight for the victory. We have a really good package and I feel good on the bike. I have a great fitness now, so I feel comfortable.”
For Rossi it was the opposite story with the 38-year-old rider expressing concern— taking a step backward in regard to bike set-up.
“Today was more difficult compared to yesterday,” he admitted. “We started with the same bike to continue our program, but unfortunately I didn’t have the same feeling and the same speed.”
“It looks like the condition of the track changed a bit and we were unable to improve,” blamed Rossi. “I didn’t have the same feeling as yesterday and I was a bit slower. We put in a lot of effort to go a bit slower. I think we are still not ready, we don’t understand 100% how to make the bike work at the maximum. We are a bit worried because at the end except for some good laps the winter tests were very difficult. So now we have to speak together and try to be stronger for the first race. I hope to be faster and more competitive.”
While the factory Yamaha duo had mixed results the Bologna boys were all smiles with their riders leaving as the second and fourth fastest riders— in between the Repsol Honda machined piloted by Dani Pedrosa.
“These three days of testing at Losail have been very interesting,” Andrea Dovizioso said after putting in 43 laps Sunday night. “Every day we found different track and grip conditions which were very useful in preparation for the race at the end of the month.”
Still there is some room for improvement said Dovi: “We went strongly but I am not entirely satisfied with my race pace, which despite being good, is not enough yet because Vinales was really quick. In any case we got through a lot of work and we confirmed a lot of things, so I am confident for the first round of the season.”
Jorge Lorenzo was also happy with the way the weekend went recording his most positive result from pre-season testing on the V-Four powered Desmosidici GP bike.
“Today was a much more positive day than the first two,” said the three-time world champ. In general things went very well and I achieved my best position in the three official 2017 tests.
“We upped the pace quite a lot and I also managed to set some good times,” he continued to explain. “But we still have to work on the race pace and, with the GP in mind, also decide which tires to use. We still have a lot of work to do, but on this track I think we can score a good result and so I’m leaving Qatar optimistic about the first race.”
That’s a wrap from Qatar. Teams are returning home to mount their final week’s preparation before returning to the Arabian Peninsula for MotoGP Round 1. The first Free Practice begins Friday, March 24.
2017 MotoGP Qatar Test Day 3 Results
1. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 1:54.330
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:54.401
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:54.469
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) 1:54.519
5. Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) 1:54:714
6. Scott Redding (Honda) 1:54.750
7. Jonas Folger (Yamaha) 1:54.807
8. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 1:54.821
9. Johann Zarco (Yamaha) 1:54.900
10. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:54.990
11. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:55.185
12. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) 1:55.284
13. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1:55.333
14. Alex Rins (Suzuki) 1.55.362
15. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 155.451
16. Jack Miller (Honda) 1:55.455
17. Loris Baz (Ducati) 1:55.539
18. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 1:55.556
19. Pol Espargaro (KTM) 1:56.665
20. Sam Lowes (Aprilia) 1:56.167
21. Tito Rabat (Honda) 1:56.294
22. Mika Kallio (KTM) 1:58.039
23. Bradley Smith (KTM) 1:58.755