Dovizioso tops day two at Losail MotoGP Test
Andrea Dovizioso set the fastest time on day 2 of the MotoGP test in Qatar, as less than 1 second separated the top 14 riders.
Overcast conditions greeted the teams as they arrived at the 5.4 km circuit in Losail, with most riders preferring to wait until the floodlights came on before heading out on track.
The dust on the circuit that had affected riders yesterday seemed to not be such an issue today thanks to all of the on-track activity, and it didn’t take long for Marc Marquez to lay down a marker early on in proceedings by setting a time faster than anyone had managed on day one.
Marquez traded fastest laps with the Ducati’s of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso throughout the day, but it was the GP15 of Dovizioso that eventually claimed the top spot with a 1’54.907 as the evening wore on.
Not only was this the quickest time of the test so far, but it was 0.2s faster than Casey Stoner’s circuit record set in 2008, and he was the only rider to break the 1’55 mark.
The Ducati Team had brought a new exhaust for its riders to test and we also saw the reappearance of “winglets” on the Desmosedici for the first time since 2010. The Italian manufacturer just missed out on another 1-2, with Iannone finishing in third just 0.197s back from his teammate and only 0.013s behind the 2nd placed Marquez.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’54.907 (1st), 38 laps – “I am very pleased with my time today: we worked really well and always used the hard tyre, just like yesterday. I am also happy from the point of view of our speed because we are able to be very competitive both with used tyres and with new ones. We still have to improve certain aspects, like stability under braking, and in the first part of acceleration the bike still moves a bit too much, but as for our lap speed we are at a good point. Now we’re working on fine-tuning and on race distance, because on this track the drop in tyre performance is very significant.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’55.104 (3rd), 46 laps – “I am very happy with the way today went, for sure it was a positive session because I improved my best time by a little bit but above all we concentrated on race pace to try and improve this aspect, which for us until the end of last year was a bit critical. We obtained a lot of useful indications, especially from the point of view of the electronics and tomorrow we will also try and do an entire simulation over race distance.”
Reigning MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez led the timesheets for most of the day on his Repsol Honda but had to settle for second place, 0.184s behind Dovizioso, with his teammate Dani Pedrosa in 6th on the other factory Repsol Honda. Marquez had been searching for his ideal race setup while Pedrosa evaluated a new set of front forks on his RC213V.
Marc Marquez – 2nd -1’55.091 (54 laps) – “I’m happy that we improved our fastest lap, but above all I’m pleased with our overall pace, which is the most important thing. We have also gained confidence with the front end – thanks to a change to the geometry – which was something we had been finding difficult at this circuit. Tomorrow we will continue our programme, focusing on the rear in order to see if we can find more grip, but the overall verdict is positive so far and I feel confident.”
Dani Pedrosa – 6th – 1’55.582 (40 LAPS) – “Today we were able to improve our pace, put in some good laps and be more consistent, which is positive. We also worked on the front end of the bike with a new fork, trying to improve the feeling and corner entry. Tomorrow we will work on the rear, to see if we can find a bit more grip. That is an important factor at this track, because you spent a lot of time leaned over and I’m sure that any improvement would be notable.”
After a difficult first day of testing, where both riders complained of not getting a “good feeling” around the Losail circuit, Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo improved his time from day one by 3 tenths and finished in fourth place. His teammate Valentino Rossi set his quickest lap late on in the evening, improving by almost half a second from yesterday, and finishing in 5th (+0.674) just one-thousandth of a second faster than the Honda of Pedrosa.
Jorge Lorenzo – 4th / 1’55.500 / 51 laps – “It was another difficult day. The conditions of the track improved not a lot, but a little bit. Even though we improved the feeling with the bike a little, we are still far from the fastest time. We tried many things, but everyone else made a bigger step in their work, so let’s see what happens tomorrow. We’ve found something important and we’ll also do a long-distance run to see how the bike works.”
Valentino Rossi – 5th / 1’55.581 / 61 laps – “It was a difficult day for me, because we tried to work a lot on the setting of the bike to improve and to be faster, but we didn’t get the improvement we expected. I was in a difficult situation, but fortunately in the last hour we modified something. We did a step back and went a different way. The last part of the test was good, because I was fast with both the hard and the soft tyre and I was able to improve my position so I’m in the top five, but especially I was able to improve my pace and stay in the 1’55’s so at the end it was not so bad. We have to continue working for tomorrow and try to fix as much as possible for the weekend of the race. We have some other things to try; some different parts, settings and we have to decide on the tyres. It looks like today was hard work, a lot of laps, a lot of effort, but at the end it was a good day. We did good work and we found something good at the end.”
Team Director Massimo Meregalli – “It has been a very busy day today for the team and the riders. On Jorge’s side they focused on electronic adjustments and settings and on Vale’s side they focused on mechanical settings. It’s definitely been a better day than yesterday. Jorge’s crew made an important learning that they need to test on a long run and in Vale’s last run he was able to get back some extra feeling and confidence and was able to provide some extra info that will help us to find more solutions. We still have some work to do to find half a second to close the gap but we are making progress in the right direction and have both riders further up the timesheets. We are confident that for tomorrow’s session when there is more rubber on the tarmac we will be able to close the gap even further.”
Cal Crutchlow was once again the leading satellite rider and managed another impressive showing on his CWM LCR Honda as he ended the day in 7th (+0.717s), setting his best time late on, despite an earlier crash. His teammate, class rookie Jack Miller managed to improve today by almost half a second to finish in 21st place (+1.851).
Cal Crutchlow #35, 1’55.624 (lap 40 of 42) – “It was a more disappointing day today, simply because we struggled to turn the bike a fair bit. Overall, I wasn’t taking too many risks, and felt quite comfortable and confident we could go a lot faster if required, but then just as we really started to work with the bike and get the setting sorted, I made a mistake and crashed at turn two. It was completely my own fault. I braked a little too late, got onto the dirty part of the track and then crashed, so we lost some time, some laps, and a set of tyres too.”
“It all means the longer runs we were planning to do today, we will have to do tomorrow now, but I was still fairly pleased as I was able to go out and go quite a bit faster at the end of the evening despite making a few errors on the lap. There is room for improvement there definitely, but we will need to work hard tomorrow. What I can say is that myself and the whole of the CWM LCR Honda Team are looking forward to that final day of testing before the championship begins.”
Jack Miller #43, 1’56.758 (lap 47 of 50) – “I’m very happy with today, and although it’s not quite what I want just yet, we still made some more improvements and got that bit closer to the front once again. I also made the lap time all alone, which is a positive for me and honestly a real boost.”
“I’m feeling really good on the hard tyre, even when it’s got full race distance on it. That’s why I’m looking forward to the race simulation we will try tomorrow and also trying to put in some faster laps in the early stages tomorrow when the track is perhaps at its best.”
In 8th place, just 0.024s behind his compatriot Crutchlow, was Bradley Smith on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha. The British rider tried out a different swingarm as he once again outperformed his teammate Pol Espargaro in 9th, even if it was by just one-hundredth of a second.
Karel Abraham improved his best time from day one by almost a second to once again be the leading Open class rider, setting a 1’55.765, good enough for 10th place and just 0.674s behind Marquez.
Yonny Hernandez finished in 11th on the Pramac Ducati, almost a second quicker than his teammate Danilo Petrucci, as he continues to regain his confidence following his recovery from a shoulder injury.
The Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR’s of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales were 12th and 14th respectively, with both riders struggling to improve on their times from day one as they continued work on the setup of their ECU.
Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager: “It’s been a very intense day today, we only have one-more session before the official GP weekend, therefore both the crews focused on testing different configurations of the two GSX-RRs to collect data and find the most effective ones. Aleix worked to find some more grip but he struggled, again he tested some improvements in electronics – some worked while some others didn’t – so the team has data to work on and will continue the work tomorrow.
“Maverick had to find his confidence back after the two crashes he had yesterday and he had a positive day. The positions in classification are not as good as yesterday, but there is a leading-group within less-than-a-second and we are in it again with the top riders.”
Aleix Espargaro: “Today I struggled to find a good feeling with the rear tyre. We tested different steps in electronics but we weren’t as effective as we expected. I still believe that the hard tyre is better than the soft one; there is not a big difference in terms of lap times but of course the soft gets worn pretty quickly. At the same time, today I didn’t feel confident with the hard, we tried to improve our performance but at the end of the day we saw that it got worst, so for tomorrow we will try some different configurations of the bike’s geometry, set-up and also electronics. We have still room for improvement with the traction control. It will be the last day of testing so we will also try a race simulation, but beforehand we have to fix the traction and grip problems we encountered today.”
Maverick Viñales: “Today we really worked step-by-step, I wanted to keep calm and not to repeat the mistakes I did yesterday. My best lap is not so good because I had some issues with the front when we tried the soft tyre, but our main focus today was to test the hard tyre intensively which will be used in the race. We made many small changes to the bike to see its reactions and I also focused on refining my riding skills. The electronics are giving us a lot of indications and we have a new direction to look at. I’m pretty confident that tomorrow we will make a big-step forward and improve a lot.”
Scott Redding on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing Honda again finished within a second of the leader in 13th place (+0.896s) as he was one of the busiest guys out on track completing over 50 laps. He was also one of the only riders to complete a full race simulation as he managed a 16-lap stint late on in the day.
The Avintia Racing Ducati of Hector Barbera was in 15th place, with Nicky Hayden on the Open class Drive M7 Aspar RC213V-RS in sixteenth. The American’s teammate Eugene Laverty was a further 0.238s back in 18th ahead with the Avintia Racing Ducati of Mike De Meglio between them.
Nicky Hayden 1.56.104 (44 laps) “The conditions were quite stable today and we could find a couple of improvements. Our times have dropped considerably. Our consistency, feeling… everything has been noticeably better, the team has done a great job. In some areas the feeling with the bike has really improved. We varied the geometry and the changes have been successful. We are preparing for the first race and today we have taken a big step forward. To finish 1.1 seconds back at a circuit where you need about two minutes a lap, is not a big difference, so it is a good result. We’re seeing that this year in MotoGP it’s going to be very tight and interesting. I hope we can take another big step tomorrow and finish strong. Tomorrow we will try to eliminate some chatter in the fast corners. We have a lot of data, so try to learn from that and keep improving.”
Eugene Laverty 1.56.342 (54 laps): “The bike works much better here than in Sepang, so yesterday I only had to adapt myself to the circuit without making major changes. Our work, both yesterday and today, has focused on the chassis to find the best possible balance. We have also done some electronics testing, but we still have things to do tomorrow. I’m happy with my feeling and also because today we could go faster than yesterday and set some positive lap times. I’m happy with this bike, it is stable and the tyre gives me confidence and allows me to brake hard. I hope tomorrow we can still improve a little more to finish the test on a high.”
Stefan Bradl crashed early on, but was unhurt as he ended the day in 20th ahead of the Pramac Ducati of Danilo Petrucci and his Athinà Forward Racing teammate Loris Baz in 23rd (+2.029s).
Octo Ioda Racing’s Alex De Angelis on the open class ART bike separated the two factory Aprilia Racing Team Gresini RS-GP’s of Alvaro Bautista (24th) and Marco Melandri (26th) respectively at the bottom of the timesheets.
Romano Albesiano – (Aprilia Racing Manager) – “We have now defined a version that we worked on all day. It is, as would be expected, a combination of the various RS-GP versions that we’ve tested on the track thus far. Tomorrow we’ll pick up where we left off. For Alvaro it’s a question of reacquiring the good feeling he had in Sepang, whereas for Marco, although hampered by poor health conditions, closed the gap behind the front runners. Now we have a lot of work ahead of us on the setup, especially in terms of managing the engine brake, electronics strategies and the chassis. On the other hand, I’m quite pleased with our progress session after session in terms of reliability. We need time and a lot of work and that is exactly why we are here.”
Fausto Gresini (Team Manager) – “What we need to do is simply continue working hard with the riders and stay united as a team in order to achieve a common goal, which is to improve constantly throughout the entire season. There is a lot to be done, but it is quite normal and we have always been well aware of that. These tests are very important for defining a base to use in the first Grand Prix, although we know that there will always be changes at each round.”
Alvaro Bautista – “Today we focused on the base that we selected for the first Grand Prix, trying various solutions in terms of chassis geometry in order to try and improve corner entry and my feeling with the front end. We need to eliminate some vibrations in mid turn that keep me from holding a good line. This track definitely has less grip than Sepang, but we still have a day left to work and we’ll try to take the best possible advantage of it to gather as much information as possible so the racing department can work in view of the first race.”
Marco Melandri – “We improved a bit today but we need to do better, especially on corner entry and getting the bike to close the line on the exit opening up the throttle. Unfortunately I still had a cough when I got to Qatar and I’m having trouble breathing, but today I’m a bit better than yesterday. I’m still short on energy but tomorrow I’m confident that I’ll be a little stronger for the last session.”
Testing resumes Monday at 16:00 local time, click here for the full results.
MotoGP 2015 – Losail Test – Day Two Times
- DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team 1’54.907
- MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’55.091
- IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Ducati Team 1’55.104
- LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’55.500
- ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’55.581
- PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’55.582
- CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR CWM LCR Honda 1’55.624
- SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’55.648
- ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’55.658
- ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE AB Motoracing 1’55.765
- HERNANDEZ Yonny 68 COL Pramac Racing 1’55.772
- ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’55.795
- REDDING Scott 45 GBR Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1’55.803
- VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’55.810
- BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Avintia Racing 1’56.058
- HAYDEN Nicky 69 USA Drive M7 Aspar 1’56.104
- DI MEGLIO Mike 63 FRA Avintia Racing 1’56.259
- LAVERTY Eugene 50 IRE Drive M7 Aspar 1’56.342
- PIRRO Michele 51 ITA Ducati Team 1’56.476
- BRADL Stefan 6 GER Athina Forward Racing 1’56.724
- MILLER Jack 43 AUS CWM LCR Honda 1’56.758
- PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Pramac Racing 1’56.762
- BAZ Loris 76 FRA Athina Forward Racing 1’56.936
- BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’57.273
- DE ANGELIS Alex 15 RSM Athina Forward Racing 1’57.390
- MELANDRI Marco 33 ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’57.982