Qatar Preseason Test Day Three Round-Up

Suzuki Racing

The 2017 MotoGP contenders report in following the conclusion of preseason testing from Qatar.

Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha)

"I'm really happy, we made another step with the bike and I feel comfortable, even on the race pace we are quite happy. I feel that we can still better the electronics and gain a couple of tenths, so we have a margin to improve. For sure we‘re not on the bike‘s limit, so we can still push a little bit more. 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."

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team)

"These three days of testing at Losail have been very interesting because every day we found different track and grip conditions which were very useful in preparation for the race at the end of the month. 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."

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda)

"I think today was a positive day in general. We had a few things to sort out from yesterday, and step-by-step we improved our feeling, the lap times and our rhythm in general. The improvement was general and even if we still have work to do, we gained confidence and this was a positive end to the preseason. This track is not one of my favorites, but the team did a great job and things kept improving. We’re in better shape than last year and we’ll try to add this confidence to the motivation for the GP and to do our best at the first race."

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team)

"Today was a much more positive day than the first two. 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, 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."

Alvaro Bautista (Pull & Bear Aspar)

"I've ended tonight feeling very happy. After improving my feeling with the bike  yesterday we have found something else that gave us a little extra confidence and pace tonight. I lost a little time with the crash but we still had enough to complete our program for this test. At the end we did a race simulation, which went well, and I felt very comfortable on the bike. My best lap over the three days came during the simulation, which is important and good for confidence. I am feeling more and more confident with our race potential and with the bike, I am very happy with how the team is working and the support we are getting from Ducati. Hopefully we can have the same feeling in a couple of weeks at the race."

Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yaknich)

"I'm very happy with how things went in these three days in Qatar following the difficulties encountered in Malaysia and Australia. We did a great job in particular by improving the feeling with the front end. There is still something to do, but the direction is the right one and I'm very confident for the race. We have made progress day by day. And I have the feeling that I could do even better on the time attack. At the same time I am also pleased with the pace that I can still improve."

Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech3)

"The team and I kept the momentum going and completed another positive test here in Qatar and now I think that we are ready to start the season. Our priority today was to run a race simulation which we did at the end and this was very good for us because I ran some really consistent lap times and the engine mappings that we prepared, worked as we expected them to. It was interesting to see how the tires performed and I gained some solid experience so now I have more of an idea about what to expect in a Grand Prix. Throughout this test, I have learned a lot and I have built up more confidence with the bike again, especially in the simulation, where I rode safely. This was very important because the fall at the Phillip Island test when I was doing a long run made me lose some confidence. Now I understand the Yamaha better, particularly when the conditions are changing and I can adapt well. We will see what I can do on the race weekend because it’s a different story altogether when compared to testing but overall, the team and I can be very happy about the preparation that we have done this winter."

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)

"Today was a positive day, we are happy with what we managed to get through. We worked well as a team again and completed the plan that we had set ourselves. We managed to do a 16-lap long run, unfortunately during that I made a small mistake with the buttons on the handlebar, but we were quite happy overall. The final lap time was not very good and I pushed for a lap time on the final lap, but I crashed as we had a malfunction with a part that we think was damaged yesterday. But this is racing and now we look forward to the first round which is very close and hopefully all the fans do too."

Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech3)

"The final day of the test went really well for me and I am excited about returning to the track soon for the start of my rookie season in the premier class. Today I completed a race simulation, which was important because it allowed me to gain valuable knowledge about how the bike’s behavior changes over 22 laps. Even though I may not have been super fast, the experience was the most significant thing and I was consistent with my times also. My confidence improved throughout the three days, which I am really happy about, and today I made the most of the soft tire by setting a solid lap time and ending up in a good position. Overall, we completed this test in a very positive way and now I can start the race week on a better level, plus I understand more about the high level of potential that the Yamaha has. In addition, I finished close to some of the top riders and this gives me further motivation, but it’s great that Jonas was so quick because we are both competitive and we can grow together. Now I will go home and do some training, stay calm and then wait for the race weekend where I aim to do a good job."

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)

"I’m happy with the pace we were able to keep today but of course it hasn’t been the best test of the preseason for us. I crashed three times, the first at the very beginning because the bike had a wobble at turn 4 and I braked late. Then later in the night I lost the front twice, and especially the last crash during my race simulation was my fault. But when you’re doing a long run you must try and push, otherwise you can’t understand where you really are. Anyway, better if this kind of thing happens now, during a test, and hopefully when we come here again for the race we’ll be able to manage things better. As I said, our rhythm is quite good; only Maverick [Viñales] is faster than everyone here, and if we were to race tomorrow I believe we should be able to fight for the podium."

Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha)

"Today was more difficult compared to yesterday. 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. 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."

Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar)

"Overall today it was a bit like the other two days - neither too happy, nor too sad. The most important thing is that after each day we learn a little more, we understand a little more. I have to say that today was the best day of all because we have been able to understand one important thing. At the end, in the last three laps we have improved a lot, riding at 1´55 and we have had a bolt of lightning that has helped us understand where we have to go. Having a pace of 1´55 is something we had not been able to achieve throughout the test so far, so at least I'm a little happier. We still have a bit of chattering, especially on Turn 6, where I can’t get in and slow down like I'd like, but we've improved and that's what's important. And above all, I have managed to find the confidence with the brake and I was able to brake better, something that could not do before."

Karel Abraham (Pull & Bear Aspar)

"Physically it's been a really bad day for me because I seem to have picked up a cold or something so I have a sore throat and I cannot breathe through my nose. All day today I was frustrated, I was not in a good mood, but we tried to work. We did a couple of things with the electronics that seemed to work out but I wasn't myself on the track. Finally we put a soft tire in and I managed to get behind Andrea Dovizioso to make a 1'55.333. I wanted to go a little bit faster but it's a good lap time. We can be happy with our day in general."

Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)

"The truth is that I am very happy about how the three days of testing in Qatar have gone. When we had problems, we knew how to manage them and pull forward. The first two days we tried to evolve the bike and try to improve with the race-pace. But, it was the third day that allowed us to take a step forward, not only for a lap, but the race-pace. We are quite satisfied with the performance. For the race, we have to work a little more but at least we already know which path we have to take. The preseason in general has gone quite well despite the crash in Valencia. I was able to get the pace and adapt well to the bike. The truth is that the team also helped me a lot to adapt quickly. I would have liked to do the test that we missed in Jerez, but with more kilometers we will adapt even more to the bike."

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Gresini)

Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)

"It's been another good day here in Qatar, I felt really comfortable on the bike and we got a lot of work done. I'm pretty happy with my consistency over the long run and the pace was strong, so when we return for the race we just need to continue working in the same direction. It was nice to get the lap time in at the end; it wasn't quite as fast as I'd have liked it to have been, we just didn't put it all together, but it means I have something up my sleeve for when we come back here in nine days time to race. I can't wait to get into it now!"

Loris Baz (Avintia Racing)

"These were three positive testing days and I go back home really happy. Mainly because I had good feeling with the bike and we were able to test some interesting things. Today I did my best lap over the three days with the hard rear tire, and I also improved with the soft one. I think that it was possible to go a little bit faster at the end, but the last front tire I used was not working as the previous one. Anyway I leave Qatar satisfied, we did a good job and I did not crash here and also in the previous test in Australia. So I think my winter test was quite positive. The fastest riders were really fast, so it is obvious that we can improve even more, but if we compare how we are now with how we were at the end of last season, I think that we did a big step forward. I’m looking forward to start racing!"

Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yaknich)

"It was a quite complicated test. We had so many new things to try even today. The problem is that I have not spent enough time on track. As a result it was difficult to find the pace but in the race simulation I went very well and this gives me great confidence. Of course I should be able to do better with the new tire, but that does not matter if we think of the race distance. I go home with a good feeling and I'm looking forward to returning in Qatar in a week to focus only on performances."

Sam Lowes (Aprilia Racing Gresini)

Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)

"I wasn't expecting to feel as good as I have done on the bike when I arrived here in Qatar because of the injuries, but it's been much better than I could have hoped for. This morning it was a bit difficult, but things improved this afternoon and I started to feel more comfortable on the bike again. Most of the day was spent on the race tires and I'm happy to have got down to a 1'56 on a set of tires that had done race distance this afternoon. This was more important for me than a one-off fast lap at this test, but a fast qualifying lap on the soft tire is something we definitely need to think about when we return here to race, because I was unable to take profit from the soft tires today. But, overall, I'm happy with what has been a very positive test and now I'm looking forward to the race."

Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
Mike Kallio (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)