With two weeks to go before the start of the 2015 MotoGP Championship at Qatar, teams and riders have completed their final preseason test Monday under the floodlights at the same track.
Monday was actually a washout, and there was no action due to glare from the floodlights. But when Saturday and Sunday’s sessions wrapped up, a surprise manufacturer took the top time – Ducati.
The Borgo Panigale manufacturer, which didn’t win a race since 2010 Phillip Island (Casey Stoner) was in dominate form. With pilots Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone riding the new GP15, Ducati was able to achieve 1-2 results on Saturday.
But Sunday got even quicker for Dovi, who posted the top time of 1:54.907 – two-tenths faster than the lap record set by Casey Stoner back in 2008. Overall, Dovi was 0.184 of a second quicker than the reigning MotoGP Champion, Marc Marquez. Following in third, 0.197 of a second back, was Iannone.
The next closest rider was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo, who trailed Dovi by 0.593 of a second. All together, the top 14 riders were within a second of each other.
Spec-tire manufacturer Bridgestone, which will be replaced by Michelin in 2016, says Saturday conditions were poor due to the presence of wind-blown sand on the tarmac that reduced grip levels while increasing tire wear, although the track did improve over each session.
Regarding tire compounds, Bridgestone says all of the slick tires in the allocation for the Qatar test were used during the two days of dry track time, with the medium compound front tire being preferred by the majority of riders, although the greater braking stability of the hard compound front tire also made it an attractive option for many riders. For the rear tire, the asymmetric medium compound rear slick which was available to both the Factory and Open-class riders was the most popular option due to its combination of warm-up performance, cornering grip and durability.
Speaking of the test, Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department, says “Although rain on the last day of the Qatar test reduced the amount of track time available, overall this was a productive test for Bridgestone.
“This year we brought a new tire allocation to Qatar to give the riders better warm-up performance and feel, and judging from the feedback we achieved this goal, while also delivering strong and consistent performance.
“All the data we gathered from Qatar over the past few days will now undergo further analysis at our technical centre in Japan, and we now look forward to the opening round of the 2015 season at the same venue in two weeks’ time.”
For more on the series, visit MotoGP.
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft & Medium (Asymmetric) & Medium (Symmetric)
Weather: Dry/Wet. Ambient 20-24°C; Track 21-42°C (Bridgestone measurement)