The final preseason test of 2016 MotoGP began Wednesday at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit – the same track that will host the season opener March 20.Just as he did during the opening preseason MotoGP test at Sepang, the reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo led the time sheets on day one of three.
The three-time MotoGP Champion wasted no time placing his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1 in the top slot; pushing the new MotoGP-spec tires from Michelin, Lorenzo was the first to dip into the 1:55s at Qatar.Lorenzo and teammate Valentino Rossi tested a hybrid M1 that consisted of both 2015 and 2016 parts, and by day’s end Lorenzo was quickest. The Spaniard posted a best lap of 1:55.542 – 0.428 of a second ahead of the man who led the second preseason MotoGP test at Phillip Island, Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales. Third went to Rossi, who finished 0.442 of a second behind Lorenzo, who completed a total of 36 laps.Jorge Lorenzo says: ”I think we made a good start to the Qatar test, I have a good feeling especially with all tires. We still need to improve the electronics, but to be one of the fastest ones on the first day is a good beginning. The feeling with the tires is much better compared to Phillip Island, the weather is better and the combination of this track, the bike and Michelin is similar to Sepang. Let’s see how the performance will develop tomorrow.”Vinales, who didn’t get to fully test the GSX-RR’s seamless gearbox, tested both the 2015 and 2016 chassis, earning his second-place position aboard the 2015 prototype.Maverick Vinales says: “I’m happy with the work we could do today and for the result of this first day. We didn’t focus on testing so many things but more to find consistency in the improvement of the setting and the electronics. We have tested both the 2015 and 2016 chassis and the results are positive. Although my best lap was done with the old chassis, my feeling is that with the new one we are already very close and this leaves us a lot of room for improvement.“We made many laps and did a huge amount of work, the times here are getting very, very fast these days; for example, my lap time is already almost one second faster than last year’s race, therefore we really need to keep on working. I feel very confident with the front tyre, while we still need to work on the rear as we couldn’t find the perfect grip yet, so we can improve further.”Though Rossi crashed in the early session at turn 10, he was able to finish the day third overall after 44 laps. The nine-time World Champion was the final rider to post under the 1:56 mark.Valentino Rossi says: ”I started in a bad way, because after ten corners I crashed. I wasn’t very fast, but maybe because I had too much angle the rear slid, but fortunately it was just a small slide at 70 km/h. It wasn’t a big problem but to start like this wasn’t fantastic… After the problem we jumped on the other bike and I’m quite satisfied about today because, also here in Qatar, it looks like our bike is competitive. We can be strong and fast and this is the most important thing, because it’s already the third track where the Yamaha is competitive.“We also started with a good base set-up, in fact I didn’t work a lot on it. I felt good from the first moment and rode quite fast and I was able to consistently improve my lap times and in the end I’m in the third position, so it was a good day. Today Jorge was very fast, he was faster, but like in Phillip Island me, Viñales and Jorge are the stronger riders.“In Phillip Island there was also Marquez, here it looks like he was a bit slower than us today. I’m happy to stay with the frontrunners and already lap in 1’55s, a little bit faster compared to the test last year, so it’s a good result. After the first two tests we decided to go with the bike that’s more similar to last year and now we have two race bikes ready in the garage, so we’re already in race-mode.”The top Ducati was Andrea Iannone, who, along with teammate Andrea Dovizioso, was able to ride one of the two GP16 Desmosedici prototypes. Dovizioso finished 0.667 of a second behind Lorenzo, and was followed by Pramac Racing Ducati’s Scott Redding, who proved last season’s GP15 is still competitive.Making for four Ducatis in the top 10, Avintia Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera and factory rider Dovizioso followed in sixth and seventh, respectively.The Hondas struggled during the opening day of preseason MotoGP testing in Qatar; leading the RC213V charge was LCR Honda’s Cal Cruchtlow, who trailed Lorenzo by 1.058 of a second. The Brit was followed by fellow countryman Bradley Smith aboard the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1, and two-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez on the factory Repsol Honda.Though he suffered a crash early in the day that ended his testing, Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro finished 11th, followed by brother Pol Espargaro on the other Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.During the opening day of 2016 Qatar MotoGP testing, Aprilia unveiled its 2016 RS-GP. Riders Stefan Bradl, who finished 19th, and Alvaro Bautista, who finished 22nd, attended a private test at Qatar before the others arrived. But there is still much work ahead to get the RS-GP competitive.One of the highlights ahead of the Qatar test was the unveiling of the new 2016 RS-GP, Stefan Bradl ending the day 19th. Both Bradl and Alvaro Bautista, 22nd, attended a private test at Qatar while the rest of the field were in Australia but are both well aware there is still a lot of work to do on the new bike.Eugene Laverty was 20th, edging out Honda test rider Hiroshi Aoyama by 0.475s. Aoyama ran several tests for Honda with winglets fitted to the bike, Honda joining both Yamaha and Ducati who have already experimented with various winglets in 2015 and throughout the 2016 pre-season.Testing resumes Wednesday at 4 p.m. local time.
Zero Electric ADV Bike + Al and Bridget from Throw Your Leg Over
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome to Motos and Friends, a weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Electric mobility is everywhere nowadays. Whether it’s a car, a truck, an assisted bicycle, a scooter, or any number of new innovations, the electric revolution is certainly here. In this week’s first segment, Nic de Sena took a ride on Zero’s recently announced new Adventure bike—the Zero DSR-X. There’s been a lot of hype about this new arrival on the ADV scene, and of course the questions are many. Nic talks to me about whether Zero actually have a credible, alternative energy ADV bike—or if the machine is just simply an empty promise.
In our second segment, I chat with Al and Bridget from ‘Throw Your Leg Over’. They took time out to record this episode from somewhere in the middle of Romania, of all places.
These interesting Aussies have traveled—and painstakingly documented—the thousands of miles they’ve covered riding the best roads and sights through Australia, Tasmania, Europe, eastern Europe, and Scandinavia, among other places.