When the opening day of 2016 Qatar MotoGP preseason testing began at Losail International Circuit in Qatar, the reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo was untouchable. The Movistar Yamaha YZR-M1 pilot was nearly a half-second ahead of second-place finisher, Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales.But Vinales once again displayed the progress of the Suzuki GSX-RR, which returns for its second year in MotoGP. The Spaniard posted a quickest time of 1:55.436 Wednesday for day two of testing during his 28th of 42 laps as he continued to work on the bike’s setup and electronics.
Vinales, who has yet to fully test the GSX-RR’s new seamless transmission, finished the day 0.072 of a second ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone, on the new GP16, and 0.099 ahead of Lorenzo.Maverick Viñales says: “This was another positive day, not only for the fastest lap but also for the huge job we have done. The step-by-step approach is paying back and my lap-times are good also in terms of pace. Although we worked hard to prepare for the races, I scored the best time and this gives us very good hopes.“I’m still working to decide the chassis, we’re still trying both the 2015 and 2016, because we still have issues to verify and room for improvement. The positive is that although my best lap came with the 2015 chassis, the lap times are very close between the old one and the new one, leaving us with many options.“As I said, I focused to prepare for the race, so today there was not time to try the new seamless gearbox, as we want to check things within all our configurations. Tomorrow may be the right chance to test it, even though we have also planned a race simulation to verify our consistency on the long distance. For now I’m positive, the leading position is a good feeling although I’m aware there is still a lot to do.”Although the top three were tight – all within a tenth of a second – the next closest rider, Pramac Ducati’s Scott Redding, finished 0.241 behind Vinales. Earning the next two places were two additional Ducati Desmosedicis – the Avintia Racing GP15 piloted by Hector Barbera and the GP16 piloted by Andrea Dovizioso; the Ducati’s strong engine always has the advantage on Qatar’s long front straight.As the RC213V prototypes continue to struggle, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa finished seventh – 0.421 off the top time at a track that was always tough for Honda. The Spaniard was able to stay ahead of nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, though, on the other factory Yamaha YZR-M1.Rounding out the top 10 were two-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez, who suffered a turn-one crash aboard his Repsol Honda RC213V, and the other factory Suzuki rider, Team Suzuki Excstar’s Aleix Espargaro.Having only recently revealed their new Aprilia RS-GP prototypes, both Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl continue to work well within the limits of the engine, Aprilia still uncertain of the reliability. Bautista ended the day 18th with Stefan Bradl down in 22nd.The third and final day of 2016 Qatar MotoGP testing begins at 4 p.m. local time Friday.
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends, the weekly podcast brought to you by Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Motos and Friends is brought to you by Yamaha. You can check out the amazing YZF-R7 at your local Yamaha dealer, or of course at YamahaMotorsports.com. The YZF-R7 is an amazing supersport machine that is comfortable too!
In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams takes the smallest BMW ADV bike on an urban adventure in Los Angeles. The BMW G 310 GS is a full size motorcycle with a modest engine, so of course we wonder if it is a little too underpowered and might struggle. Don put it through its paces and gives us his take.
In the second segment, Neale Bayly and Kiran Ridley have returned from the Ukraine to Paris where Kiran is based.
Kiran is an award winning photojournalist, and as an accomplished documentarian, he has covered stories as diverse as drug smuggling around the Mexican border, to the devastation of the Australian Bush Fires, to the tragedy of the Mediterranean migration crisis. Neale and Kiran reminisce about their motorcycle adventure in the Ukraine, and their observations and experiences with the incredibly resilient people of Ukraine, who have been put through such brutal hardship.