#QatarTest 2020 Day Two
Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) set the fastest lap of the Qatar Test to top the timesheets on Day 2 with a 1:54.038, the Frenchman going a couple of tenths faster than the lap-times we saw at the event last season. Day 1 pacesetter Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was 0.162 in arrears in second, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completing a top trio split by 0.226 as Yamaha and Suzuki continue to look very strong.
Quartararo shot to the top with just over an hour and a half of Day 2 remaining with the best time of the test, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) claiming P4 and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) sitting P9.
Quartararo commented that he had a better day than he did on Saturday, despite Yamaha having a couple of issues with engine braking. But things seem positive from the likes of Viñales – tipped by a couple of riders as the man in the best shape as it stands – and all the Yamahas are inside the top 10. Rossi stated they’re ready, too.
Fabio Quartararo – P1
Today has been a really positive test. We worked on the pace and, like yesterday, we just tested some different electronic settings, engine braking and of course we tried some settings on the bike – on the front and rear. I’m really happy because at the end of the day it was a better day than yesterday. I felt better on the bike and we still have one more day so I hope to improve but overall today was a really positive day. We still need to understand some more things on the bike because at the moment we have only done three days in Sepang, two days here so far. Tomorrow I can still learn many things from the bike and we will be ready to race.
Maverick Viñales – P3
“We did the same work as yesterday. We‘re trying to understand the bike and the tyres really well. We concentrated a lot on the rhythm. We‘ve made good steps forward, but there are still some things to improve. My confidence is really good, but I need some more laps on the track. I did a couple of longer runs on the soft tyre to try to understand how it works and how it could work during the race. We are trying to cover all the things and all the doubts that we could have during the race weekend, just so during that weekend we can focus on riding and pushing a little bit more than we are doing now. I‘m riding well, I think we‘re getting a lot of information on the bike, and all the things we’re doing are going well. I‘m actually quite confident and happy.”
Franco Morbidelli – P4
“Today we’ve been quite fast and we were able to have a good pace with the medium tyre, but we also tested both the hard and soft tyres. The medium and soft are very similar in performance so it’s going to be important to make the right choice on race day. Later in the night it was quite humid and more difficult to make a decent lap but overall today I felt a bit better, a bit more comfortable with the bike, a bit more consistent. We’ve been working this afternoon on my speed and it looked good but in the race we will have to see. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I feel ready to go racing in two weeks.”
Valentino Rossi – P9
“Today was also not so bad. I feel good and I had a good pace, but today was a bit more difficult compared to yesterday because we tried something to improve in some areas like braking. Unfortunately, we paid in other areas. Also yesterday it looked like the tyres would last for the whole distance of the race, but today we have more problems, so at the end of the day it was a bit more difficult for me. Also my position is a bit worse, but we are all close together. Tomorrow will be important, it will be the last day of winter testing, so we need to make a summary. I think we did a good job, we tried everything, so tomorrow we will see.”
At Team Suzuki Ecstar, meanwhile, Alex Rins and Joan Mir both had a bumpier ride on Day 2 after proving the men to beat on Saturday, with crashes for both, riders ok. Nevertheless, the two Spaniards looked in good shape on the whole as they continued to test the new GSX-RR chassis, as well as some electronic, rear shock and new Michelin tyre testing. Rins put it simply: “We are ready”, with the Hamamatsu factory sounding confident ahead of the Qatar GP. Mir was seventh, his fastest lap a 1:54.612.
Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager
“We worked well, we continued with our plan and managed to do what we wanted to do today. Both Alex and Joan worked to confirm the package that we’ll use for the first race and now things are clearer. It was a good day in terms of lap times and pace, so we’re feeling happy and positive about how everything has gone. One more day of testing tomorrow and then it’s time to go racing!”
Alex Rins – P2
“Today I’ve finished the session feeling happy. We’re becoming more and more sure about the chassis for this season. My rhythm was nice today and everything went very well; tomorrow we will try to do a race simulation. I had a small crash this morning, but it didn’t impact on the overall plan and we’ve still managed to do a lot of work today.”
Joan Mir – P4
“I’m so happy about today, we improved our consistency and pace, and this is something very important and also interesting to see. I’m a bit disappointed because I was aiming to do a time attack during the last hour of the session, but unfortunately I crashed at Turn 6. Anyway, I’m not hurt, and I’m pleased with the work we managed to do today. I’m ready to continue tomorrow and make even more progress.”
In the red corner, there was a little more caution but some positivity too. Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso said they were in better shape than Malaysia and team-mate Danilo Petrucci said he’d also had a better day than Saturday as they continue to focus on their programs rather than chasing a laptime. Dovizioso was eighth with a 1:54.662, Petrucci P12 with a 1:54.852.
Andrea Dovizioso – P8
“I am happier compared to yesterday because we were able to move forward with a huge part of our testing program, and now we have a clearer idea about the situation. We are fast, and our pace is good, but so are our opponents. For sure there are details that we will be able to understand only during a race weekend, while in a test, as we are riding alone, we can only get an idea of on which area we need to focus in order to improve. Today we did a few consecutive laps to understand the effects on the tyre life. In general, I am satisfied, and now we will continue with our program also tomorrow”.
Danilo Petrucci – P12
“Today, we were able to take better advantage of the track time available, and I am delighted with the work we have done. We did a few tests with a rear medium tyre compound, and we were able to keep a good pace for several laps. Compared to fastest riders we are still missing a few tenths of a second, but today we didn’t focus on the lap times, and I am confident that we have the potential to battle at the front with them. Unfortunately, we had some small issues that didn’t allow us to continue until the end of the session. But despite that, I am happy, and I hope we will able to make a further step forward, as the program sees a race simulation also scheduled for tomorrow”.
The revolutionary “ride height adjuster” was a talking point again, with Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) admitting that he’d been using the device for a number of races. The Australian also noted the GP20’s superior top speed, describing it as a “rocketship”. In terms of the time-sheets, however, Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) was the leading Desmosedici, the sophomore briefly sitting P1 with two hours remaining and eventually finishing up P5. In terms of race pace though, ‘Pecco’ says he needs ‘five-tenths’ to stick with the lead guys and he’s looking for more grip on the exit.
Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing) impressed again to sit as the second fastest Ducati on Day 2, in P6.
Over at Honda, reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) suffered a crash at Turn 9 and ended the day in P14, a second off the top. Thankfully he was unhurt.
Marc Marquez – P14
“Today I had a crash at Turn 8 in the change of direction, I’m having to use my legs more with my shoulder still recovering and I pushed a bit too much and lost the front and wasn’t able to save it. Fortunately, I am OK after this. We are trying to find the best way but it is always difficult here in Qatar. At the moment we’re looking at why we are struggling a little bit more here than in Malaysia. Tomorrow we will keep working and also start to look towards the race.”
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) also crashed, going down at Turn 2 and heading to the medical centre afterwards. The fall ultimately ended Crutchlow’s day, the number 35 suffering swelling to his forearm. He and the team decided it was best to not ride again on Sunday, hopefully he will be on track on Monday for the final day of testing.
Cal Crutchlow – P21
“After 27 laps today, unfortunately I crashed at turn two and have a haematoma on my right forearm and abrasions to both arms. As such, we decided to stop the test today because I’m in a fair amount of pain. At the time I was unable to move my fingers because the swelling was so significant straight away. Since then we’ve been mainly trying to reduce the swelling in the right forearm and stop it from getting worse. Hopefully with some rest we can see if we are able to participate in the final day of testing tomorrow. Before the incident, we had been working hard to improve the setting of the bike and my feeling with it compared to yesterday. We didn’t really get a chance to finish that work, so hopefully I will be able to ride tomorrow because there are some things we know we can do to improve the feeling, and with it our lap time ahead of the first race.”
Front end feel for the two experienced riders is the main problem, with rookie Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) also experiencing some issues. The reigning Moto2 World Champion has been feeling under the weather at the Qatar Test but he was happier with how Day 2 went compared to Day 1.
Alex Marquez – P19
“I was feeling better today physically, and I was able to achieve more than yesterday so I am pleased with how today went compared to yesterday. Towards the end of the day I was lacking a little bit of power but in general it was a better day for us. We still need to work more with the bike, so the final day will be important for us. There’s still a chance to improve before I go in to my first race weekend so this will be the focus.”
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) ended the second day as the fastest Honda rider in P10, the Japanese rider enjoying a decent day as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery, with the injury feeling better than it did on Day 1. All in all, a big Day 3 lies ahead for the HRC riders.
Takaaki Nakagami – P10
“We are quite happy to have made another step forward. I feel like I’m improving in myself as well as making a clear improvement in the feeling with the bike. We did many laps today at a high level – lots in the 1’55 bracket and a few also in the 1’54s. I’m really happy with the work we have done as a team at LCR Honda Idemitsu. They have understood my situation, which is not 100 per cent fit physically, but also team boss Lucio Cecchinello has made sure that I am looking after my right shoulder. Slowly we are getting back towards full fitness, and in tomorrow’s last day of official testing I hope we can make another step. We will aim for a good long-distance run and try to prepare the race weekend well. This is our target for Sunday.”
There was big news on Sunday for Aprilia as they confirmed Lorenzo Savadori as their new MotoGP test rider. And for Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Day 2 targets were working on electronics and setting up the engine, as well as trying to figure out why the new RS-GP started suffering in the cooler temperatures – vital for race day in Qatar. And by the sounds of it, Espargaro found something in the cooler temperatures, describing his feeling as ‘extremely good’ at 7pm. The Spaniard did have a crash on Sunday at Turn 4 though, but thankfully he was ok.
At KTM, it seems the four riders are pretty much set on the new fairing they’ll be using. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) admitted they haven’t been going for an outright lap time so far in Qatar, the Spaniard was P13 on the timesheets on Day 2 – 0.852 shy.
Working on the new Michelin rear tyre was a must on Sunday for the Austrian factory and speaking after Day 2’s action, Red Bull KTM Tech 3 rookie Iker Lecuona said he was really happy after he completed a race simulation. His team-mate Miguel Oliveira took a tumble, rider ok, and the two weren’t far apart on the timesheets. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was another to crash, rider ok.
Miguel Oliveira – P17
“We struggled a bit today, to be honest. Somehow, we didn’t manage to find the right speed with the soft tyre, as actually my fastest lap time today has been with the medium compound. I have the feeling, that we kind of lost the direction during the day, so the pace was not as great as we were wishing for, we’re still lacking half a second. It hasn’t been an easy day, therefore our mission now is to find these missing tenths for tomorrow.”
Iker Lecuona – P18
“I’m truly happy about this second day. I improved my lap time a lot. I did a race simulation and it was really nice. For me it was the first time with this bike doing so many laps in a row, although it was not easy to manage the power as it’s obviously a lot different than the Moto2. For now, I’m satisfied. For sure, we aim to improve further tomorrow. I know, I need to work on many points, but I’m already better in the brakes and regarding banking. I hope we can do some more small steps tomorrow in order to gain an even quicker time.”
#QatarTest 2020 Day Two Times
- QUARTARARO Fabio 20 FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1’54.038
- RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.162
- VINALES Maverick 12 SPA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.226
- MORBIDELLI Franco 21 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 0.443
- BAGNAIA Francesco 63 ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 0.482
- ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 0.527
- MIR Joan 36 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.574
- DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 0.624
- ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.702
- NAKAGAMI Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda Honda 0.721
- ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 0.724
- PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 0.814
- ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.852
- MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1.055
- MILLER Jack 43 AUS Pramac Racing Ducati 1.156
- RABAT Tito 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1.314
- OLIVEIRA Miguel 88 POR Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1.562
- LECOUNA Iker 27 SPA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1.606
- MARQUEZ Alex 73 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1.687
- BINDER Brad 33 RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1.892
- CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda Honda 2.140
- SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 2.369