Solid Start for Movistar Yamaha at the Qatar Test
(Friday, 10 March 2017)
Today Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi got down to work on the first day of the MotoGP Official Test Losail, securing second and seventh place respectively. The pair completed multiple stints throughout the late afternoon and evening, in preparation for the first round of the 2017 MotoGP season to be held at the same circuit in just two weeks‘ time.
Viñales continued his strong pre-season campaign with high confidence. He got up to speed quickly on the YZR-M1, developing a good feeling early on, and went on to set a provisional fastest time of 1‘55.734s with three hours of the session left.
In between a total of 60 laps, he provided valuable feedback as he worked on the testing programme. Viñales focused primarily on tyre degradation, fuel consumption, both important points at the Losail Circuit, as well as finding a good race set-up. He posted a best lap of 1‘55.179s on lap 49, to clinch second in today‘s timesheets, 0.360s from first.
Teammate Rossi also had a productive evening under the Qatar floodlights. Having waited until after 6pm local time before heading out, he completed 48 laps in total, whilst working through an extensive range of setting options with varying weight distribution.
Though focused on improving the feeling of the front of his YZR-M1, he managed to consistently improve his times as well as the feeling with his bike. He was able to set a best time of 1‘55.679s and took seventh position in the standings, +0.860s from the front.
Tomorrow the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back on track from 16:00 - 23:00 local track time.
We went into the first day of the Qatar test with great motivation. The first session at the Losail circuit is always a little bit more difficult because there is a lot of sand on the track and not a lot of rubber. Nevertheless, the team worked hard to complete the first items of our testing programme. The main goal for today was to get the riders to feel comfortable. Maverick‘s side of the garage mainly focused on finding a good set-up for the race weekend and they managed to improve on every run. He had a good speed and pace on a used tyre, which was satisfactory. Vale‘s side mainly worked on the items the engineers brought here to modify the weight distribution of the bike, focused on improving the front feeling. We will continue our testing schedule tomorrow.
I have a good feeling after the first day in Qatar. I felt good with the bike already from the first lap, I was fast and, you know, that‘s a good thing. We‘ve been to four different tracks and I feel good at each one. This means I adapted well to the bike and we improved a lot. All the time we are bettering the race pace and each first and last lap on the same tyre is quite similar, so I‘m happy and I‘m quite surprised that we improved on every run. We wanted to work a lot on the race pace, it‘s important here. In Qatar it matters a lot to have a good pace because the tyre drops quite a lot, especially on the left side. Tomorrow it‘s our plan to make the tyre life last longer and make the lap times more consistent, so we‘re going to work on that.
Today we worked on the feeling of the bike especially on the entry of the corner. We improved, but I‘m not very happy. We are not at 100%, because I didn‘t have enough feeling to push on the entry, but today wasn‘t so bad and we tried something quite interesting. We also had a bit of trouble with the front tyre life, the tyre is a bit too soft, so we have to work on the weight distribution. The condition of the track usually changes a lot here in Qatar, so we will try to continue our work tomorrow and try to make things better.