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Nagashima top Moto2 performer in Qatar | Gardner fifth

2020 MotoGP – Round 1, Qatar


Tetsuta Nagashima blew the competition away in the final stages of a top class Moto2 race at the QNB Grand Prix of Qatar, claiming his first Grand Prix victory in style – 10 years on from late friend Shoya Tomizawa’s first Moto2 win at the same track.

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Tetsuta Nagashima

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Tetsuta Nagashima

Tetsuta Nagashima

2019 Qatar GP winner Lorenzo claimed P2, battling it out with Enea Bastianini to the end as the ‘Beast’ picked up his second intermediate class rostrum in third.

It was Luca Marini who took the holeshot from second on the grid, the Italian quickest off the mark as polesitter Joe Roberts slipped back to third, Bastianini also attacking the American to make it an Italian 1-2. The number 33 didn’t take long to attack for the lead either, with the two duelling as Roberts then came under pressure for third from Jorge Martin.

The star of the mid-part of the race was about to take over at the front, however, as Marini moved for the lead and began to push to make a gap. But Roberts was up into second and the closest challenger for some time, with the group behind then descending into varying levels of chaos and genius as the moves came thick and fast.

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Baldassarri Bastianini

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Baldassarri Bastianini

Lorenzo Baldassarri & Enea Bastianini

Lap 6 then saw Roberts go for an overtake at Turn 1 but the American ran wide, handing the position back to Marini. By Lap 8, just a second and a half split the top eight, with Bastianini, Baldassarri, Xavi Vierge, Marco Bezzecchi and Warm Up pacesetter Nagashima setting similar lap times. However, Marini then started to stretch the field, taking just under half a second out of second place Roberts on Lap 9 and 10 and on Lap 11, the gap was up to 0.9 seconds as another personal best lap was slammed in by the SKY VR46 rider. Could anyone respond?

By Lap 12, the gap was back down to six tenths and Nagashima was starting to look a serious threat in P5 having gone over half a second quicker than Marini that lap. With eight to go the Japanese rider was up to P4 past Bastianini, sat just over a second behind race leader Marini, and the Moto2 race in Qatar was shaping up nicely as the battle entered the final seven laps…

Beta Tools Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro was starting to reel the leaders in too. Just as he did for much of 2019, the Spaniard was coming into his own on used tyres and with little over five laps remaining, a mistake from Marini allowed the leading six to bunch up and Roberts led. Bastianini then snatched the baton with five to go, and suddenly it looked like it was game over for Marini as he began to plummet.

The leading four were now Baldassarri, Bastianini, Roberts and Nagashima with four to go, and the Japanese rider was looking ominous in his mission to the front. The Ajo rider first picked off Roberts for P3 before taking control of the race at Turn 2 with three to go – and immediately starting to creep away..

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Bastianini

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Bastianini

Baldassarri & Bastianini

The number 45 had three tenths in his pocket as the race entered the final two laps, with the battle for the remaining podium places starting to heat up. Remy Gardner was latching onto the back of Navarro as five riders scrapped it out behind Nagashima, who – by the time he’d clocked onto the final lap – was over then a second clear.

Simply stunning latter race pace for the Japanese rider made victory suddenly seem a done deal, and Nagashima would make no mistake on the final lap to take an emotional first Grand Prix victory – 10 years since Tomizawa, who was “like a brother” to him, made history in 2010.

Tetsuta Nagashima

“It’s like I’m in a dream. Yesterday in qualifying I made a small mistake and my grid position wasn’t perfect, and from the beginning I hard to push hard, I thought about nothing else. Last year I was close to the podium but I didn’t get there, so I forgot everything else. Win or crash! Shoya was like a brother to me. When I started racing we were always together and he taught me a lot. I remember it well when he won the race here. My first time winning is unbelievable, thank you to Shoya, my family and my team. I’m very happy.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Tetsuta Nagashima

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Tetsuta Nagashima

Tetsuta Nagashima

Behind him, it was a close but clean fight to the flag. Baldassarri and Bastianini battled it out with some brutality to decide the podium, crossing the line with almost nothing to split them, as Roberts took his best Grand Prix finish in fourth after an impressive weekend – including going fastest on Friday and taking pole. Fifth went the way of Gardner after the Australian made up some impressive ground in the latter stages, ahead of Navarro, who was forced to settle for sixth.

Remy Gardner

“Qualifying could have been so much worse following my two crashes and considering how we ended the opening day. I was riding with a bit of pain in my back and ribs so to put it on the second row for the opening round was good damage limitation you could say. I didn’t make the perfect lap, but Sunday is when it counts. We had had good pace all weekend and, in the test, so I was confident for the race. We lost a lot of time in the first ten laps and I dropped all the way down to twelfth, but I never gave up and kept fighting and in the last few laps I thought we had a shot for the podium. One more lap and it could have been a trophy, but I can’t be unhappy with the work done, the team did a great job and it feels like a podium even if it’s not. Already looking forward to the next race, wherever it is and to pushing hard as ever.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar remy gardner

MotoGP Rnd Qatar remy gardner

Remy Gardner

Marcel Schrötter took seventh after a solid performance on race day, with Aron Canet once again the fastest rookie and once again doing plenty to impress as he debuted in the intermediate class in P8. Xavi Vierge and Tom Lüthi completed the top ten.

Bo Bendsneyder slipped back from his second row qualifying on Sunday, but nevertheless brought home a good haul of points in P11, ahead of Marco Bezzecchi by the flag. Fabio Di Giannantonio was 13th, just beating Jake Dixon to the line by 0.016. The Brit was involved in the late race incident that put paid to Marini’s chance at points too as the two got a little close and the Italian crashed out, rider ok. Stefano Manzi therefore completed the points.

Qatar 2020 Moto2 Results Standing

Source: MCNews.com.au

Quarantine cancels MotoGP season opener

MotoGP class cancelled at the Grand Prix of Qatar

Due to Qatar travel restrictions brought into force affecting passengers from Italy and other countries, the premier MotoGP class will not race at Losail, with FIM, IRTA and Dorna making the announcement of the cancellation of all MotoGP class sessions, including the race.

All passengers arriving at Doha on direct flights from Italy, or having been in Italy in the past two weeks, were being taken straight to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. Italy’s vital role in the Championship and in the MotoGP class – both on track and off – meant the decision was made to cancel premier class competition.

Losail Circuit Sports Club Qatar

Losail Circuit Sports Club Qatar

Losail, Qatar

As the teams and riders of the Moto2 and Moto3 classes are already in Qatar for the three-day official test at Losail International Circuit earlier this week, the races of both categories will go ahead. The lightweight and intermediate classes will therefore compete in their season opener from the March 6-8. The same will apply to the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup, which will have two races during the Qatar Grand Prix as originally planned. A revised schedule will be released soon.

Team Suzuki Ecstar shared they are naturally disappointed not to race but agree with the decision which was not taken lightly by the officials.

Davide Brivio – Team Suzuki Ecstar Team Manager

“Obviously It’s a big shame to have to cancel this first race of the season, as we were all really ready to start, and so were the MotoGP fans. Some of our team staff stayed in Qatar following the test days, as we were aware of the seriousness of the outbreak. But at this time the most important thing is the safety of the people, and we have to respect the decision made by the local authorities and by the MotoGP officials. It’s a delicate and strange time for everyone around the world and we need to take things race-by-race at the moment and see what develops in the coming weeks. I’d like to wish good luck to those riding in Moto2 and Moto3 next weekend, and I hope we can be back on the track soon.”

Davide Brivio Team Suzuki Ecstar Team Manager

Davide Brivio Team Suzuki Ecstar Team Manager

Davide Brivio
Source: MCNews.com.au

Riders & Team Managers talk the 2019 Qatar MotoGP

Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Rider Quotes

Andrea Dovizioso – P1

“I’m super happy about this win, especially because after the tests I wouldn’t have expected to be so fast. We stayed focused and we made progress in each session. Our strategy in the race was simply to preserve the tyre, and this made the difference, but it wasn’t easy because I led for most of the race and I couldn’t really study my opponents. Marquez gave it everything he could, as usual, and pushed me to the limit. We made the most of our strenghths, that is, acceleration and top speed, but we still need to improve our corner speed. This year there are plenty of quick riders and it’ll be crucial not to lose too many points on less favorable tracks. We need to keep our feet on the ground and continue working in this direction.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Marc Marquez – P2

“It was exactly the same as last year! I tried to push hard but here when you overtake you just run wide and you can’t keep the line. I tried to be there, to push a little and just be there until the end. I’m very happy with these 20 points because normally we struggle here and this weekend especially we worked a lot. We changed some things that meant I couldn’t push like I normally do in braking. But we finished the race and take good points.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Marquez Dovi
Marc Marquez – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Cal Crutchlow – P3

“It’s great to even be back racing in MotoGP, let alone come away with a podium finish, but my LCR Honda Castrol Team did a great job. We worked hard this weekend because the tests were a bit of a waste of time for me. This weekend has been difficult, and if you had asked me after warm-up if I’d finish on the podium I would have laughed! I played my cards in the race, I felt good and once we started the race myself and Marc Marquez had similar tactics – saving the rear tyre and managing things a little bit more. What a great start to the season for everybody, for my team, for the riders and the fans here in Qatar and for the people watching at home. It seems every race in MotoGP is always a battle and it was nice to be in it and race and get a podium. It’s a dream to be honest. At one point we didn’t know if I was going to be coming back at all.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Cal Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Alex Rins – P4

“It was an incredible start to the season, it shows all the hard work we’ve done in the winter. The race pace was quite slow and I was constantly trying to get to the front to pull a gap, but Dovi and Marquez overtook me down the straight and it was difficult. We know this isn’t our best track but I felt good and we’re all pleased with this result.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Alex Rins
Alex Rins – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Valentino Rossi – P5

“We worked hard from yesterday to today, we modified the setting of the bike, also for the race we made some other adjustments. We worked well and I’m happy, it was a good race. I felt good with the bike today and I also enjoyed coming from the back, so it’s not so bad. I arrived in fifth, that’s good, especially because I’m 0.6s from the victory, but at this track we are always good. We have to keep working because in some other places maybe we’ll have more problems, but we’ll take this result. I tried to get on the podium, but I was not strong enough.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Danilo Petrucci – P6

“My sixth place is still positive because we scored important points for the championship. Unfortunately, I was hindered by a less than optimal start, but the race pace wasn’t very fast and I was able to recover positions quite quickly. Still, I struggled to pass other riders and push hard in braking. In retrospect, choosing the soft tyre for both the front and rear was a gamble, but we expected the temperatures to drop further and we also weren’t as fast as usual on the straight. That said, the championship has just begun and I’m confident we’ll bounce back soon.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Petrucci
Danilo Petrucci – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Maverick Vinales – P7

“At the start I got a lot of wheelie, I couldn’t keep the gas fully open and I missed the inside a little bit, so I couldn’t keep a good line. Obviously, we have to improve the bike. When I’m alone I can do really good lap times, even in the middle of the race I could ride 1’55s-lows on my own, but as soon as I’m behind another rider I suffer this lack of grip on the rear, and I couldn’t attack and overtake. We have to improve, and so do I. We need to keep working. The positive point is that we now know where we have to improve, and this is very important.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Joan Mir – P8

“I’m so happy about the race. We showed good pace in FP4 and I was able to bring this speed to the race. I learned a lot from the top guys and this was one of the most important and interesting things about this race for me. It was a shame that my tyre went off a bit at the end so I was unable to push more, but anyway, I hope to continue this way – improving race by race, and trying to stay with the front guys.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Joan Mir
Alex Rins – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Takaaki Nakagami – P9

“It was a bit of a struggle today, but I’m really comfortable on the bike and, especially at the start of the race, I felt really strong. Last year, I struggled to get the speed I wanted after the start, but this time there was a real improvement I think. After that I was a little bit disturbed by (Joan) Mir and (Jack) Miller during the race. After that I tried to overtake them and maintain my rhythm and, in the end, the lap time was quite good. The race was good and I’m really happy to finish in the top 10, of course we can still improve but, for the first race, P9 is not so bad. The team looks happy so I’m happy as well!”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Aleix Espargaro – P10

“Not bad at all! Finishing in the top ten for the first race is definitely positive. Since I started well, I tried to stay up with the leaders. Our engine is now competitive, especially in the top gears, and I have good speed on the straight, but with the new tyre, I never had good traction. Then, grip started to drop for everyone, I felt very competitive. It’s a shame that we lost a lot of time overtaking Miller, but when I did, I was also able to get past Morbidelli and finish in the top ten. We can build our growth on this good result.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Franco Morbidelli – P11

“I would split my race tonight into two parts. The first half was good despite a bad start, because I was able to recover positions easily, run with the front group and manage the tyres. Unfortunately, we made a bad choice with the rear tyre and went for the soft option when the majority of riders went for the medium. I had to make the tyre last for as long as I could, but from around the halfway stage I started to struggle to stay with the group. It is a shame because we had the pace to finish higher up and we worked really well, being reasonably strong throughout the weekend, so we need to focus on the positives and keep this dynamic going in Argentina.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Franco Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Pol Espargaro – P12

“A mix of feelings but we must be happy because the gap to first place is not so far. We were close…but we also finished twelfth. It feels like it’s good, but also that it’s not enough. When you are close to the top guys you start to look what is going on and thinking about where we lose such a small gap per lap. I think we are talking 0.3 per lap: it is not much. I think it is in some acceleration. We are so close but twelve seconds away.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Jorge Lorenzo – P13

“There are many positive things today even if where we finished is not what we thought we could achieve. I was very limited by the crash yesterday, it was a very big impact everywhere and especially on my shoulder. It limited everything. From then, I was always slower than at the start of the weekend. I had some problems in the opening laps and lost about three or four seconds there. Without doubt we have much more potential and if we’re not unlucky we can be stronger.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Andrea Iannone – P14

“Overall, it was a positive race. On my début with Aprilia, we finished 14 seconds behind the leader and that means that we worked well. There was no lack of difficulties: on the first turn I lost the left winglet due to contact and that certainly didn’t help. I am pleased, we improve every time we go out onto the track and a team of skilled people who believe in me has my back. These are fundamental ingredients that allow me to be positive. We are on the right path.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Johann Zarco – P15

“The beginning of the race was pretty good. I was controlling the bike well and the others were not much stronger than me. It was a good way to analyse the performance of the others. I’m happy because I expected to have some struggles but I saw other riders were also having problems: I know at the moment we don’t have the package for winning, not even for the top five but with good work and good control I really trust that a top ten is possible and that is the target throughout the year. Let’s see in Argentina if I can catch it. I wanted it here but because of the up-and-down of Friday and Saturday finally I was not ready. That is part of experience, and doing 22 laps in a row was really important and the first time we do it. I have a factory team and I know they have the quality to make a strong analysis of this race.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Fabio Quartararo – P16

“I made a mistake before the start, which was a shame, but it is better to make mistakes at the start of the season rather than in the middle. The first lap was very difficult because the tyres were still cold so I had to really concentrate under braking, I stayed calm and was very careful until the tyres got up to temperature before I increased my rhythm and pushed. I struggled a little towards the end of the race but I am happy with the job we have done here during the weekend and also at the test. The biggest thing I learned from my first Grand Prix is that it is much harder to overtake in this category than it is in Moto2 and Moto3, but we did learn a lot during the race. I want to thank the team for all their support during my first Grand Prix in this category. Now I can’t wait for the next one.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Fabio Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Miguel Oliveira – P17

“The race was quite interesting. I was trying to keep up with this little group of Aleix Esparagaro and Taka Nakagami and after seven, eight laps to go I felt a big drop of tyre, I had a lot of sliding with vibration on the rear, so I honestly thought the tyre was going to explode. Obviously, I couldn’t do much. I’m disappointed, because I knew I could have finished in the points. It was quite hard to manage it, but anyway, I’m glad we finished the race, I had good fun and gathered some good information.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Miguel Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Hafizh Syahrin – P20

“It has been a difficult race for me. We have a big gap to the front and I don’t know how to explain it well. I couldn’t keep the pace and while I played with the electronics the gap got bigger and bigger. To be honest, I’m slow at the moment and I don’t have the confidence to push more. I try to learn from today’s race and improve further. I’m disappointed with myself, but we keep on working hard, we are patient and I hope it’s coming soon.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Hafizh Syahrin
Hafozh Syahrin – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Pecco Bagnaia – DNF

“I got off to a good start taking a line that allowed me to gain positions. In the first corner, however, there was a very aggressive overtaking on Petrucci who touched me breaking the right wing. I tried but it was impossible to continue. It was a good weekend in which we worked well and the first laps were important to understand how the others ride”.

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Qualifying Bagnaia
Pecco Bagnaia – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Jack Miller – DNF

“It’s a real shame because we went very fast through the whole weekend and I was convinced that I could stay with the leading group until the end. Unfortunately, after the problem with the seat, I couldn’t control the bike in the corners and it was impossible to keep on. All things considered, the feeling is still positive and I can’t wait to be in Argentina”.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Jack Miller
Jack Miller – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Bradley Smith – DNF

“It was not the weekend finale that we expected. As we had already figured during the tests, after the first 5 laps in which I felt very good, we inevitably began to lose ground. During the final laps, I tried to pick up the pace a bit, but I crashed on turn 1. We’ll need to analyse this behaviour well. We have some ideas about it already and we’ll start working on it as early as the next tests in Jerez.”

Team Managers

Luigi Dall’Igna – Ducati Corse General Manager

“We couldn’t have started the season off in a better way. Hats off to Dovizioso, who rode a clever race, without making mistakes, preserving the tyres and managing the situation until the very last corner, where he played his cards wisely. Thanks also to the team, who worked hard all winter to make sure we were ready for Qatar. We’ll keep putting in the same effort to allow both our riders to be protagonists in the next races.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“After yesterday’s qualifying, the team worked really hard to prepare something for Vale to give him a better feeling for the race. He did a great job riding to fifth place, especially considering that he had to come through mid-pack, which is always a bit chaotic. He was only 0.600s off the race win. Coming from 14th on the grid, that is a solid achievement. It’s a shame Maverick couldn’t exploit his pole position today. His rhythm in the middle and towards the end of the race was pretty good, but unfortunately the rear tyre he used in the race was performing less when he was riding behind another rider. We will try to find out what the reason is for this change. These are not the results we were hoping for at the opening round, but it’s an indication of where we can improve. We will regroup and learn from this GP weekend and this race day, to prepare for the next round in three weeks’ time.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Wilco Zeelenberg – PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team Manager

“I want to start off by thanking the team for their excellent work throughout preseason and here at the first round of the season. Everything went really well up until the race. I think that’s the best way to summarise the Qatar GP! Fabio [Quartararo] stalled the bike on the grid and had to start from pit lane. Unfortunately, it was a small mistake that had a big consequence. However, he didn’t throw in the towel and he put together a strong pace in the race, making it up to sixteenth. Morbidelli didn’t have an easy start, dropping from 8th to 12th on the first lap. Then he had to push to recover, whilst managing the tyres, but after fifteen laps the left side was very worn and the performance dropped off, losing speed and a lot of time under acceleration. 11th and 16th position was not what we were hoping for from this GP, but considering the exceptionally high level of this championship and the difficulties we ran into on Sunday, we can be proud of the job we did.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Fabio Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Davide Brivio – Suzuki ECSTAR Team Manager

“It has been a great race and we were very close to the front – fighting for the win for the whole race. Alex did a great job and achieved a lot, despite the fact that our bike suffers a bit on the straight. We feel very positive because this isn’t our best track but we still had a very good result. Joan put together an incredible debut, we hoped he would be in with a group so he could learn, and it turned out he was in the best possible group to get important lessons! He made some great moves and fought with the fastest guys.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Rins
Alex Rins – Qatar MotoGP 2019
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Team Manager

“Round one and generally we are really happy to have four bikes on the grid and have all four finish: this sounds like something quite easy but it is not always like that. Both Pol and Johann were quite happy with the performance of the bike and we know we have to improve our package and continue to grow. When we first came here we were thirty seconds from the race winner and we have to be realistic. This was never an easy track for us but in the middle of the race we were only 5-6 seconds away and this is very motivating for everybody in the team to keep pushing. We have eighteen more races now and we will try often as possible to get into these top ten positions.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco – Qatar MotoGP 2019

Qatar MotoGP Race Results

Pos Rider Nation Bike Time/Gap
1 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati 42’36.902
2 Marc Marquez SPA Honda +0.023
3 Cal Crutchlow GBR Honda +0.320
4 Alex Rins SPA Suzuki +0.457
5 Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha +0.600
6 Danilo Petrucci ITA Ducati +2.320
7 Maverick Viñales SPA Yamaha +2.481
8 Joan Mir SPA Suzuki +5.088
9 Takaaki Nakagami JPN Honda +7.406
10 Aleix Espargaro SPA Aprilia +9.636
11 Franco Morbidelli ITA Yamaha +9.647
12 Pol Espargaro SPA KTM +12.774
13 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Honda +14.307
14 Andrea Iannone ITA Aprilia +14.349
15 Johann Zarco FRA KTM +15.093
16 Fabio Quartararo FRA Yamaha +15.905
17 Miguel Oliveira POR KTM +16.377
18 Karel Abraham CZE Ducati +22.972
19 Tito Rabat SPA Ducati +23.039
20 Hafizh Syahrin MAL KTM +43.242
Not Classified
/ Bradley Smith GBR Aprilia 2 Laps
/ Jack Miller AUS Ducati 10 Laps
/ Francesco Bagnaia ITA Ducati 13 Laps

MotoGP Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 25
2 Marc Marquez Honda SPA 20
3 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 16
4 Alex Rins Suzuki SPA 13
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 11
6 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 10
7 Maverick Viñales Yamaha SPA 9
8 Joan Mir Suzuki SPA 8
9 Takaaki Nakagami Honda JPN 7
10 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia SPA 6
11 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha ITA 5
12 Pol Espargaro KTM SPA 4
13 Jorge Lorenzo Honda SPA 3
14 Andrea Iannone Aprilia ITA 2
15 Johann Zarco KTM FRA 1
16 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha FRA 0
17 Miguel Oliveira KTM POR 0
18 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 0
19 Tito Rabat Ducati SPA 0
20 Hafizh Syahrin KTM MAL 0
21 Bradley Smith Aprilia GBR 0
22 Jack Miller Ducati AUS 0
23 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati ITA 0

Source: MCNews.com.au

Dovizioso claims opening 2019 MotoGP win at Qatar

2019 MotoGP – Qatar Round 1

Andrea Dovizioso claims Qatar victory

Jack Miller a DNF – Remy Gardner P4 in Moto2

Qatar marked the closest top 15 riders in history, but wasn’t without its dramas, with Andrea Dovizioso claiming the overall win for Mission Winnow Ducati, closely followed by Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow. Just missing the podium was Alex Rins and Valentino Rossi.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Dovi
Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso

“I’m super happy about this win, especially because after the tests I wouldn’t have expected to be so fast. We stayed focused and we made progress in each session. Our strategy in the race was simply to preserve the tyre, and this made the difference, but it wasn’t easy because I led for most of the race and I couldn’t really study my opponents. Marquez gave it everything he could, as usual, and pushed me to the limit. We made the most of our strengths, that is, acceleration and top speed, but we still need to improve our corner speed. This year there are plenty of quick riders and it’ll be crucial not to lose too many points on less favorable tracks. We need to keep our feet on the ground and continue working in this direction.”

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso & Team at Qatar

One point of note was protests concerning aerodynamic devices on the rear swing arm of Ducati machinery ridden by Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller, however based on guidelines and regulations currently in force, the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel rejected these protests.

It was Dovizioso who got the holeshot from pole, he and Jack Miller grabbing P1 and P2 into Turn 1 as Marquez held position just behind. Polesitter Maverick Viñales didn’t get the start he would have been aiming for as he dropped to sixth on Lap 1, with Takaaki Nakagami and teammate Crutchlow catapulting through to the top five.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Marquez
Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

The race then began to settle into a rhythm, with a train of riders at the front led by Dovizioso keeping a steady pace at the front. Rins was the man on the move on Lap 4 as the Spaniard made more progress after a sharp start from P10 on the grid, the Suzuki man coming through to take the lead by Lap 5 before the Spaniard duelled Dovizioso for the pleasure. It remained a lead group of nine following each other line astern, however, with no one breaking rank just yet.

On Lap 12 the number 04 was back at the front, and the pace then turned up a notch as he and Marquez started to create a gap back to third place Danilo Petrucci, who’d made his way through the group. The pace then slowed again, however, as Dovizioso went from a 1:55.3 to a 1:56.1 to bring the top eight back to within just over a second…

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Rins
Alex Rins – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

With seven laps to go, the top eight were covered 1.2 seconds and that’s when Rossi really started to make up ground, picking off his teammate first and then Joan Mir to go up to P6. With three laps to go the fight for the win became a five-way scrap, with Petrucci, Viñales and Mir fading off the pacesetters.

Reigning World Champion Marquez had got the better of Dovizioso on the penultimate lap, but the Ducati struck back down the straight. Crutchlow held P3, Rins P4 and Rossi P5, menacing behind and waiting for the fireworks to begin in the lead. Pushing hard, Marquez had a slight moment with the front at Turn 3, before making a lunge up the inside of Dovi at Turn 10. He couldn’t keep it though as the Desmosedici was able to cut back up the inside on the exit, setting up another classic grandstand finish.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Marquez
Marc Marquez – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

It looked like a carbon copy of 12 months ago at the final corner, but it was the same edge-of-the-seat heart-in-your-mouth moment as Marquez dove through on the inside, sitting up Dovi but running wide as he couldn’t quite get it stopped in time. From there it was another classic point and shoot contest to the line as both gunned it on the exit, but Dovizioso couldn’t be caught and made it out ahead.

It was closer than before though, with an infinitesimal 0.023 separating the two as the flag waved. Behind, Crutchlow kept his cool to take a remarkable podium on his first race back since his huge Australian GP crash, with Rins a valiant P4 and Rossi again proving you should never count ‘The Doctor’ out. P5 from P14 on the grid was another impressive race day showing from the nine-time World Champion.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

Petrucci would have to settle for P6 on his maiden factory Ducati ride, 2.320 behind his teammate in the end, with polesitter Viñales crossing the line 0.161 back from ‘Petrux’, in P7.

Mir produced a fantastic rookie ride to finish just over five seconds off the race win in P8, with the Spaniard beating ninth place Nakagami and tenth place Aleix Espargaro – and just 9.636 covering the top 10 in Qatar.

Franco Morbidelli was just 0.011 behind Espargaro in P11 on his debut ride for Yamaha, with Pol Espargaro, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone and Johann Zarco completing the point scoring positions.

So who was the ride of the day? Far from the podium in the end and not scoring any points on his debut, an argument could be made for Fabio Quartararo regardless. The rookie was forced into a pitlane start after issues on the grid ahead of the Warm Up lap, and set about unleashing some almighty pace and nerves of steel for a first ever premier class appearance.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Fabio Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

Fastest laps flowed from the Frenchman and he was soon into point-scoring contention…although sadly, it wouldn’t last. Too much too early in a bid to catch the group ahead saw Quartararo fade back to P16 by the flag – but only eight tenths off Zarco. Fellow debutant Miguel Oliveira also impressed and, for some time, was top KTM, before fading slightly, a fate that also befell Mir further forward as they all aim to gain more full-length race experience.

Final rookie Francesco Bagnaia suffered a DNF, with more to come from him in Argentina for sure, and his more veteran teammate Jack Miller also suffered some bad luck. The Australian fell victim to some problem with his machine that saw him drop from podium contention to suddenly outside the top ten, then retiring before the end of the race.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Jack Miller
Jack Miller – Despite a strong start technical issues ended Millers run – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

That’s all she wrote from Qatar but what a story it was. Records broken and history made, five riders in six tenths makes for an awesome opener…even before looking at the winning margin of 0.023. But then, past the stats, it’s much more than a numbers game and always has been.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd MotoGP Podium
MotoGP Podium 1) Andrea Dovizioso, 2) Marc Marquez +0.023, 3) Cal Crutchlow +0.320 – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

Qatar MotoGP Race Results

Pos Rider Nation Bike Time/Gap
1 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati 42’36.902
2 Marc Marquez SPA Honda +0.023
3 Cal Crutchlow GBR Honda +0.320
4 Alex Rins SPA Suzuki +0.457
5 Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha +0.600
6 Danilo Petrucci ITA Ducati +2.320
7 Maverick Viñales SPA Yamaha +2.481
8 Joan Mir SPA Suzuki +5.088
9 Takaaki Nakagami JPN Honda +7.406
10 Aleix Espargaro SPA Aprilia +9.636
11 Franco Morbidelli ITA Yamaha +9.647
12 Pol Espargaro SPA KTM +12.774
13 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Honda +14.307
14 Andrea Iannone ITA Aprilia +14.349
15 Johann Zarco FRA KTM +15.093
16 Fabio Quartararo FRA Yamaha +15.905
17 Miguel Oliveira POR KTM +16.377
18 Karel Abraham CZE Ducati +22.972
19 Tito Rabat SPA Ducati +23.039
20 Hafizh Syahrin MAL KTM +43.242
Not Classified
/ Bradley Smith GBR Aprilia 2 Laps
/ Jack Miller AUS Ducati 10 Laps
/ Francesco Bagnaia ITA Ducati 13 Laps

MotoGP Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 25
2 Marc Marquez Honda SPA 20
3 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 16
4 Alex Rins Suzuki SPA 13
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 11
6 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 10
7 Maverick Viñales Yamaha SPA 9
8 Joan Mir Suzuki SPA 8
9 Takaaki Nakagami Honda JPN 7
10 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia SPA 6
11 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha ITA 5
12 Pol Espargaro KTM SPA 4
13 Jorge Lorenzo Honda SPA 3
14 Andrea Iannone Aprilia ITA 2
15 Johann Zarco KTM FRA 1
16 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha FRA 0
17 Miguel Oliveira KTM POR 0
18 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 0
19 Tito Rabat Ducati SPA 0
20 Hafizh Syahrin KTM MAL 0
21 Bradley Smith Aprilia GBR 0
22 Jack Miller Ducati AUS 0
23 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati ITA 0


Flexbox HP 40’s Lorenzo Baldassarri had to fight off huge last lap pressure from the returning Tom Lüthi to take Moto2 victory at the VisitQatar Grand Prix, with the duel going down to the line. The Italian led from Lap 2 but had to withstand some serious pressure in the final sector of the last lap to hold off a swarming Lüthi, eventually taking the chequered flag just 0.026 clear of the Swiss rider. Dynavolt Intact GP’s Marcel Schrötter completed the podium from pole.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Lorenzo Baldassarri
Lorenzo Baldassarri Moto2 – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

As the lights went out it was Xavi Vierge who took the holeshot from the middle of the front row of the grid, but a big crash behind drew focus early on Lap 1. Debutant Nicolo Bulega, Iker Lecuona and Jorge Navarro all crashed, before Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Marco Bezzechi then fell out of contention on his debut ride.

Back at the front, Baldassarri had blasted his way past Vierge on Lap Two before slowly but surely beginning to build up an advantage over the chasing pack. Despite taking the holeshot, Vierge then started to slip backwards, dropping from second to fifth inside four corners. Schrötter, Remy Gardner and Vierge’s EG 0,0 Marc VDS teammate Alex Marquez all made their way past.

Lüthi then got in on the act, fighting his way through to fifth place before setting back-to-back lap records around the Losail International Circuit to close in on Marquez and then get past him. The Kalex rider then sliced into third place past Australian Gardner with six laps to go, soon after setting up a grandstand finish by catching and passing teammate Schrötter with four laps on the clock.

Qatar Test Moto Remy Gardner
Remy Gardner – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

The former MotoGP rider had 0.821 to pull in to catch Baldassarri at the front and with just a lap left, he had managed to cut that advantage down to nothing and was all over the rear of the Italian’s Kalex. Baldassarri was able to hold off off Lüthi’s charge for three quarters of the lap but the Swiss rider looked the favourite going into the final sector, applying huge pressure. It wasn’t enough, however, as Baldassarri’s defensive riding was enough to keep him at bay despite the fact the pair exited the final corner side-by-side – with Baldassarri holding on by just 0.026 to take the win.

Gardner initially stole third place from Schrötter on the final lap, but the German slipstreamed his way past the Australian to take the final step on the rostrum by two thousandths and complete a Dynovolt Intact GP double podium finish. Flexbox HP 40’s Augusto Fernandez came from row four of the grid to take fifth place, hugely impressive as he ended the race narrowly ahead of Sam Lowes.

Marquez eventually had to settle for seventh but was over two seconds clear of Sky Racing Team VR46’s Luca Marini in a lonely eighth place. Italtrans Racing Team’s Enea Bastianini was one of the rides of the day to take ninth on his Moto2 debut, fighting off Vierge, who eventually slipped down to tenth. Fabio Di Giannantonio took P11 as second rookie, ahead of a tougher race for Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder.

A nail-biting start to a new era in Moto2 saw Baldassarri collect a commemorative first Triumph-powered race win trophy alongside his VisitQatar Grand Prix race winner prize. With a plethora of riders showing their potential this weekend, it’s anyone’s guess who’ll collect 25 points in Argentina.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Moto Podium
Moto2 Podium 1) Baldassarri, 2) Luthi +0.026, 3) Schrotter +2.123 – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

Qatar Moto2 Race Results

Pos Rider Nation Bike Time/Gap
1 Lorenzo Baldassarri ITA Kalex 39’56.109
2 Thomas Luthi SWI Kalex +0.026
3 Marcel Schrotter GER Kalex +2.123
4 Remy Gardner AUS Kalex +2.125
5 Augusto Fernandez SPA Kalex +2.305
6 Sam Lowes GBR Kalex +3.334
7 Alex Marquez SPA Kalex +5.018
8 Luca Marini ITA Kalex +7.336
9 Enea Bastianini ITA Kalex +12.949
10 Xavi Vierge SPA Kalex +13.865
11 Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA Speed Up +15.525
12 Brad Binder RSA KTM +16.591
13 Andrea Locatelli ITA Kalex +18.667
14 Jesko Raffin SWI NTS +18.916
15 Jorge Martin SPA KTM +22.771
16 Bo Bendsneyder NED NTS +22.822
17 Khairul Idham Pawi MAL Kalex +23.978
18 Dominique Aegerter SWI MV Agusta +26.904
19 Simone Corsi ITA Kalex +27.030
20 Stefano Manzi ITA MV Agusta +40.274
21 Lukas Tulovic GER KTM +43.003
22 Joe Roberts USA KTM +44.212
23 Philipp Oettl GER KTM +47.657
24 Dimas Ekky Pratama INA Kalex +57.596
25 Xavi Cardelus AND KTM +1’18.749
26 Marco Bezzecchi ITA KTM +1’35.817
Not Classified
/ Tetsuta Nagashima JPN Kalex 18 Laps
/ Jake Dixon GBR KTM 18 Laps
/ Somkiat Chantra THA Kalex 19 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
/ Jorge Navarro SPA Speed Up 0 Lap
/ Nicolo Bulega ITA Kalex 0 Lap
/ Iker Lecuona SPA KTM 0 Lap

Moto2 Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Lorenzo Baldassarri Kalex ITA 25
2 Thomas Luthi Kalex SWI 20
3 Marcel Schrotter Kalex GER 16
4 Remy Gardner Kalex AUS 13
5 Augusto Fernandez Kalex SPA 11
6 Sam Lowes Kalex GBR 10
7 Alex Marquez Kalex SPA 9
8 Luca Marini Kalex ITA 8
9 Enea Bastianini Kalex ITA 7
10 Xavi Vierge Kalex SPA 6
11 Fabio Di Giannantonio Speed Up ITA 5
12 Brad Binder KTM RSA 4
13 Andrea Locatelli Kalex ITA 3
14 Jesko Raffin NTS SWI 2
15 Jorge Martin KTM SPA 1
16 Bo Bendsneyder NTS NED 0
17 Khairul Idham Pawi Kalex MAL 0
18 Dominique Aegerter MV Agusta SWI 0
19 Simone Corsi Kalex ITA 0
20 Stefano Manzi MV Agusta ITA 0
21 Lukas Tulovic KTM GER 0
22 Joe Roberts KTM USA 0
23 Philipp Oettl KTM GER 0
24 Dimas Ekky Pratama Kalex INA 0
25 Xavi Cardelus KTM AND 0
26 Marco Bezzecchi KTM ITA 0
27 Tetsuta Nagashima / JPN 0
28 Jake Dixon / GBR 0
29 Somkiat Chantra / THA 0
30 Jorge Navarro / SPA 0
31 Nicolo Bulega / ITA 0
32 Iker Lecuona / SPA 0


Kaito Toba became the first Japanese winner in Moto3 and the first in the lightweight class since Tomoyoshi Koyama took victory in the 125cc race at the 2007 Catalan GP after a stunning ride at the VisitQatar Grand Prix.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Kaito Toba
Kaito Toba Moto3 – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

He’s also the first Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup Champion to become a Grand Prix winner after duelling it out in style to the line against Lorenzo Dalla Porta, the man who just lost out, and polesitter Aron Canet, who completed the podium.

Toba started third on the grid but it was Canet who got the initial good launch to lead into Turn 1, with Toba slotting into P2 ahead of second on the grid Dalla Porta. There was drama on the opening lap further back though, with Jaume Masia, Tom Booth-Amos, Ayumu Sasaki and Makar Yurchenko crashing out of contention at Turn 6.

There was no drama further up, however, with Canet, Dalla Porta, Albert Arenas and Tony Arbolino getting an initial break in the lead before a front group of the top 19 started to form; just two seconds covering them in true Moto3 style.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Moto Aron Canet
Aaron Canet – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

The lead swapped and changed between several riders, with Toba forcing his way to the front on Lap 6. A 19-rider fight then became 16, Turn 6 the location again as another multiple rider crash occurred – this time it was Dennis Foggia, Kazuki Masaki and Tatsuki Suzuki who crashed out.

Niccolo Antonelli then had a turn at leading the freight train with 10 to go, before Romano Fenati took the baton off his compatriot to lead for the first time in Qatar. Nine laps remained.

The lead was changing lap by lap and any one of the top 15 were still in with a shout at the win. Then, with four laps to go, a major talking point of the race happened. Fenati seemed to misunderstand a track limits warning that appeared on his dashboard and the Italian then dived into the new ‘Long Lap Penalty’ area on the outside of Turn 6 to drop him from fourth to 12th. He wasn’t out of it though as the top 13 were covered by less than two seconds with just three laps to go.

By the final lap it was Toba who led once again and it soon became a three-way fight for the win between him, Canet and Dalla Porta. Coming into Turn 16, the Italian had the advantage but Toba timed the slipstream to perfection to just beat him to the chequered flag, taking the number 27 of childhood hero Casey Stoner back onto the top step. Dalla Porta was forced to settle for P2, with Canet coming home third.

Marcos Ramirez took P4, with Celestino Vietti crossing the line in fifth to get his rookie Moto3 season off to a great start as the top debutant. Arenas, a contender for the win throughout, beat reigning Junior Moto3 World Champion and teammate Raul Fernandez to the line by 0.028, making it 6th and 7th respectively for the duo.

2016 Qatar GP winner Antonelli was just 0.004 off Fernandez in P8, with Fenati salvaging P9 after looking odds on for at least a podium on his return. Jakub Kornfeil rounded out the top ten, less than a second from the win.

History made in Qatar, it’s next stop Argentina for the field – with Toba the first Championship leader of the season.

MotoGP Qatar Rnd Moto Podium
Moto3 Podium 1) Kaito Toba, 2) Lorenzo Dalla +0.053, 3) Aron Canet +0.174 – Qatar MotoGP 2019 – Round 1

Qatar Moto3 Race Results

Pos Rider Nation Bike Time/Gap
1 Kaito Toba JPN Honda 38’08.887
2 Lorenzo Dalla Porta ITA Honda +0.053
3 Aron Canet SPA KTM +0.174
4 Marcos Ramirez SPA Honda +0.505
5 Celestino Vietti ITA KTM +0.584
6 Albert Arenas SPA KTM +0.818
7 Raul Fernandez SPA KTM +0.846
8 Niccolò Antonelli ITA Honda +0.850
9 Romano Fenati ITA Honda +0.890
10 Jakub Kornfeil CZE KTM +0.903
11 Ai Ogura JPN Honda +0.956
12 Alonso Lopez SPA Honda +1.755
13 John Mcphee GBR Honda +1.849
14 Andrea Migno ITA KTM +3.450
15 Gabriel Rodrigo ARG Honda +3.514
16 Tony Arbolino ITA Honda +4.201
17 Vicente Perez SPA KTM +4.267
18 Can Oncu TUR KTM +26.272
19 Kazuki Masaki JPN KTM +31.779
20 Ryusei Yamanaka JPN Honda +31.820
21 Filip Salac CZE KTM +31.943
22 Riccardo Rossi ITA Honda +31.979
23 Makar Yurchenko KAZ KTM +1’23.259
24 Tom Booth-Amos GBR KTM 3 Laps
Not Classified
/ Tatsuki Suzuki JPN Honda 14 Laps
/ Dennis Foggia ITA KTM 14 Laps
/ Darryn Binder RSA KTM 17 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
/ Ayumu Sasaki JPN Honda 0 Lap
/ Jaume Masia SPA KTM 0 Lap

Moto3 Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Kaito Toba Honda JPN 25
2 Lorenzo Dalla Porta Honda ITA 20
3 Aron Canet KTM SPA 16
4 Marcos Ramirez Honda SPA 13
5 Celestino Vietti KTM ITA 11
6 Albert Arenas KTM SPA 10
7 Raul Fernandez KTM SPA 9
8 Niccolò Antonelli Honda ITA 8
9 Romano Fenati Honda ITA 7
10 Jakub Kornfeil KTM CZE 6
11 Ai Ogura Honda JPN 5
12 Alonso Lopez Honda SPA 4
13 John Mcphee Honda GBR 3
14 Andrea Migno KTM ITA 2
15 Gabriel Rodrigo Honda ARG 1
16 Tony Arbolino Honda ITA 0
17 Vicente Perez KTM SPA 0
18 Can Oncu KTM TUR 0
19 Kazuki Masaki KTM JPN 0
20 Ryusei Yamanaka Honda JPN 0
21 Filip Salac KTM CZE 0
22 Riccardo Rossi Honda ITA 0
23 Makar Yurchenko KTM KAZ 0
24 Tom Booth-Amos KTM GBR 0
25 Tatsuki Suzuki / JPN 0
26 Dennis Foggia / ITA 0
27 Darryn Binder / RSA 0
28 Ayumu Sasaki / JPN 0
29 Jaume Masia / SPA 0

Source: MCNews.com.au

Marquez leads Vinales & Miller after Friday Practice in Qatar

2019 MotoGP – Qatar Grand Prix
Friday Free Practice

With Free Practice 1 taking place during the day and Free Practice 2 running at night, the latter offered conditions most similar to Sunday’s race with 21ºC track and air temperature.

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was undoubtedly the headliner of Act 1, however. The now seven-time World Champion’s new lap record – nearly half a second clear at the top – laid down an early benchmark that puts him squarely in the driving seat but it’s not one-lap pace that’s been in doubt for the Spaniard. Coming back from surgery to his shoulder, longevity and consistency is the question on everyone’s lips. And behind Marquez’ eyebrow-raiser of a 1’53.380, the riders were packed together down the timesheets.

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez – P1

“It was a really positive day! I was focusing a lot to go directly to QP2 and yes, the lap was fast but the most important thing is our rhythm. We still need to work a little bit on this but we’re finding our way and happy with how today ended. Normally we struggle a lot at this circuit but we are there more or less. It’s free practice, Sunday is still the most important part of the weekend.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez

The first of those was Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). After a more difficult season at times in 2018, consistency is also a key word for him and the Iwata marque so topping testing and showing some solid pace on Day 1 is a good start.

Maverick Vinales – P2

“It was really important to be inside the top-10 today, because the lap times were really fast. I was planning to do two time-attacks, but in the end I only had time to do one. I’m actually really happy about how the bike is working. We still have to improve, we are losing a lot on top-speed, but the bike is getting really great in the corners, so I’m very excited to work even harder tomorrow. We’re going to try to make the last corner better, especially in terms of acceleration. We need to improve in that area, let’s see if we can do it tomorrow. We now know the potential of our bike and we need to keep working hard.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales

Vinales did have some close company in the form of Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) though – top Independent Team rider on Friday and fastest Ducati – as the Australian ended Friday just 0.054 off the Spaniard.

Jack Miller – P3

“The sensations are positive. In FP1 we have worked a lot with used tyres and we have had important indications. Also in FP2 we did a positive long run, then with the soft tyre I managed to set a good time that could be important for the direct qualification to Q2.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Jack Miller
Jack Miller

Next up behind Miller was another Ducati: Mission Winnow Ducati Team newcomer Danilo Petrucci, who was the top Borgo Panigale factory team rider once again – as he was in testing.

Danilo Petrucci – P4

“Today we worked on the details to prepare the race, and I’m quite happy with the feeling with the bike. Honestly, we could have been a bit faster on the flying lap towards the end of FP2, but I ran into some traffic and I couldn’t be as precise as I would have liked. We’re still not at our 100 percent: our rivals are pretty fast, so tomorrow we’ll try to finalize the work done up to this point to make sure we start at the front and maintain a fast and consistent pace throughout the whole race.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Danilo Petrucci
Danilo Petrucci

Teammate and 2018 Qatar winner Andrea Dovizioso was in P6 but not far off, however, and therein came the seemingly solved mystery: the switch seen on the Ducati in testing was spotted in action on Day 1 and it appeared to fit with the rumour mill theory of a holeshot device for race starts. Will we see more on Saturday?

Andrea Dovizioso – P6

“I’m very happy because we managed to put together all the feedback gathered during the tests and come back to our usual levels of competitiveness. Track conditions were quite good today, as shown by the overall fast lap times, but the situation could still change come race time. At any rate, we’re up there with our rivals and ready to put up a fight. That said, we still have room for improvement under some aspects. We need to analyze the data to optimize our strategy, especially in terms of tyre performance.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso

Splitting the two Italian factory machines was another impressive performance from Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT). The French rookie was the fastest newcomer to the class once again, and threatened the top just like in testing. So that seems one question answered: yes, he can do it again.

Fabio Quartararo – P5

“We have managed to maintain a good pace and in particular a fast lap time. I didn’t feel so good on the first tyre but I did have a full tank at that point. After that we tried another tyre and I actually made a few mistakes on my fast lap so it was a surprise to see that I had managed a 54.1, which means I could even have managed a high 53 or an even lower 54. I am really happy with the pace we have set tonight and the job the team has done. We need to stay calm and keep working in the same way. I have felt good so far in the two free practice sessions. In FP3 tomorrow we will have to take the heat into account and then in FP4 focus on our race pace. Then we’ll see what happens in qualifying.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Fabio Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo

And his teammate, Franco Morbidelli, had a solid showing on Day 1 too – slotting it just behind ‘DesmoDovi’, pushed down to P7 by just 0.019 despite a crash.

Franco Morbidelli – P7

“I felt comfortable over the first few laps tonight and my race rhythm was decent. We’ll have to have a look at what everybody else’s was like but I was happy with mine. We still have plenty of room for improvement so that’s what we have to do. The important thing for tomorrow is to understand the situation and figure out the right way to go with the bike to close the gap to the fastest guys. As for the crash, I was trying to understand a new aspect of the setting that we were trying and it was my first lap, so I think I just went too hard into turn one on used tyres and ended up crashing. Maybe the tyre wasn’t quite ready for me to push so hard, so basically it was my own fault. After the crash we were able to rediscover the feeling very easily and I was able to go fast with the new setting on the second bike. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do many laps on it and we would have liked to have done more on used tyres, which was the plan. Despite that, we were able to get a few laps in so we do at least have some information to work from.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Franco Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli

Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins, another superstar in testing, was eighth quickest on Friday by another tiny gap of less than half a tenth, just ahead of Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro.

Alex Rins  – P8

“I expected to finish a bit higher up today. This morning in the daylight, in the sunshine, I struggled with grip and the bike was sliding a bit. I hoped in the night-time conditions I would find a better feeling with the set-up, especially as FP2 was the same time as the race will be. But I still didn’t feel very comfortable, so we need to check the data with the engineers tonight to try and improve. My lap time was not so bad, but I just don’t have enough confidence yet. The first step tomorrow is to solve the problems, and then hope for Q2.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Alex Rins
Alex Rins

Aleix Espargaro – P9

“I am satisfied. Evidently, we did the right thing in the last tests when we tried a lot of things and worked in view of the race and, although we didn’t do the times, the feeling was good, so we arrived here and the bike was fast from the start. When I pushed, I did two laps under the ’55 mark. I’m also pleased with the speed. On the straights the bike is strong and now I would like to gain more in acceleration and manage the power well over race distance. We have a good base to work from for the race”.

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro

Rookie Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed the top ten after shooting first in the time attack at the end of FP2, only a tenth off teammate Rins and briefly top before times tumbled.

Joan Mir – P10

“I’ve enjoyed myself a lot today, I felt a bit nervous to get back on track but it was a really positive day for us. We’ve made another step forward and I’m feeling much more comfortable and I’m happy about how I’m able to ride the bike. We have a bit of margin to improve upon, but we just want to keep working in this direction and see if I can go directly to Q2 tomorrow. It’s important to prepare for the race, too. For this first race I’d be really happy with a Top 10 finish, but it won’t be easy! There’s no pressure because it’s only the first day of the first round.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Joan Mir
Joan Mir

Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager

“We’ve started the first race weekend of the season and it’s a little bit of a mixed feeling. The positives were that both riders are in the Top 10, which was our first target, let’s say. Alex isn’t feeling fully comfortable with the bike so we need to analyse things tonight and use his feedback to see what we can improve for tomorrow. Joan had a very good start and was able to stay in the Top 10, so from this point of view it’s been a very good Friday. Alex needs to feel more comfortable with his feeling, and Joan can continue to learn and improve.”

So who’s missing in the provisional top ten of Q2 qualifiers? First is the still-recovering Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team), near the top in the morning, who just got relegated to 11th by Rins’ final fast lap at the end of FP2.

Jorge Lorenzo – P11

“I am very happy today, very confident and comfortable with the bike. We have a lot of potential and working well and I believe we can arrive there. It’s a good sign, as was the ‘morning’, we were very fast but still need to understand the bike a bit more in colder conditions. I have the feeling we can be very competitive with the right setting.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo

LRC Honda pair Takaaki Nakagami and Cal Crutchlow were next on the time-sheets.

Takaaki Nakagami – P12

“I’m quite disappointed about today’s result, of course during the session (FP2) we had quite a good position and put on a medium tyre thinking about the race. On the medium tyre the lap times were quite good and we were always in the top 10. But then at the end of the session everybody put on a soft tyre and it was like a qualifying because in FP3 it will be almost impossible to make a lap time as it will be too hot. So this (FP2) was a really important session, but unfortunately the rear grip didn’t work very well for me with a soft tyre. I tried my best to make a lap time, but missed the top 10 by less than one tenth and I’m very disappointed to end in 12th position. But I’ll try to be positive for the second day and make a strong FP4 and qualifying.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami

Cal Crutchlow – P13

“I’m a little disappointed with today’s result, I had a tough FP1 and, while FP2 was a lot better, it’s still disappointing to be in Q1. Tomorrow it will be very difficult to go faster in the heat, in the daylight as FP3 is at the wrong time, so it will be very difficult for us to improve to get into the top 10 for Q2 – this is why everybody pushed like mad. I used two soft tyres, the first one I was very happy with although I made a big mistake on my lap. I’m angry at myself, it’s my own fault, my own mistakes, but as my crew chief has just said to me, three months ago we didn’t think we’d be racing here so we have to take the positives. The positive for me is that I still think I can be competitive this weekend and get a good result, but I just wasn’t fast enough today through my own mistakes.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Cal Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow

Jack Miller’s rookie team-mate Pecco Bagnagi was in P14.

Pecco Bagnaia – P14

“I didn’t expect a first day with such fast lap-times. We improved lap by lap just thinking about doing our job. We still need something but we have made a good step forward. We can improve on the time attack but there’s no hurry. The pace is good and that is the important thing”.

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Pecco Bagnaia
Pecco Bagnaia

And Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), the fastest man in the first session just ahead of Lorenzo, ended the day in 17th overall and was just 0.005 ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro so the two will be pushing to move forward in FP3.

Valentino Rossi – P16

“It was a strange day because, maybe we aren’t as good as this afternoon, but for sure we are not as bad as this evening. This evening, sincerely, we didn’t modify the bike very much, but I had a lot of problems with the front tyres because we got out of balance and I suffered very much. I was slow. At the end, the track had a lot grip, so a lot of the top guys improved, and the best lap time is a new record, so they were very fast, but unfortunately it was a difficult practice for me. The big problem is that I’m out of Q2 at the moment. Tomorrow in FP3 maybe the conditions will make it hard to improve my best lap time, so it will be difficult to enter directly into Q2. We have to find a way to be faster.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“We started FP1 where we finished the Qatar Test, with a good base set-up. Maverick was able to improve his setting from FP1 to FP2 and he‘s very comfortable on the bike, even though we still have some room for improvement on the exit of turn 16. Valentino, on the other hand, tried a different setting at the end of FP1 that gave him the possibility to improve, but most likely due to the different temperature of the tarmac in FP2, this didn‘t work well and it affected his time-attack. Tomorrow in FP3 the aim is to get through to Q2, even though we know it will be difficult because of the track conditions in the warm afternoon. Another important aspect is to make a definite decision on the tyre choice for the race, as we‘re currently 80% certain.”

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales

2019 MotoGP – Qatar Grand Prix
Friday Combined Free Practice Classification
  1. MARQUEZ  Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1’53.380
  2. VINALES Maverick 12 SPA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 0.474
  3. MILLER Jack 43 AUS Alma Pramac Racing 0.528
  4. PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Mission Winnow Ducati 0.673
  5. QUARTARARO Fabio 20 FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT 0.774
  6. DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Mission Winnow Ducati 0.876
  7. MORBIDELLI Franco 21 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT 0.895
  8. RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 0.940
  9. ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 0.987
  10. MIR Joan 36 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1.022
  11. LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1.048
  12. NAKAGAMI Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda 1.064
  13. CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda 1.072
  14. BAGNAIA Francesco 63 ITA Alma Pramac Racing 1.421
  15. RABAT Tito 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing 1.652
  16. ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1.668
  17. ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1.673
  18. ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 2.032
  19. IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2.052
  20. OLIVEIRA Miguel 88 POR Red Bull KTM Tech 3 2.255
  21. ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Reale Avintia Racing 2.274
  22. SYAHRIN Hafizh 55 MAL Red Bull KTM Tech 3 3.057
  23. SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Aprilia Racing Test Team 3.454
MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Results MotoGP
2019 MotoGP – Qatar Grand Prix
Friday Combined Free Practice Classification


Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) led the way in an exceptionally tight Moto2 field on Day 1 of the VisitQatar Grand Prix, with just three-quarters of a second separating the top fifteen.

The Italian was second in the race last season but of the competitors still in the class, he was the highest finisher – a benchmark in itself, adding to the new lap record set on Friday. At the top he had a little breathing space, however, with an advantage of a quarter of a second over FP1’s fastest man Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP).

Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) locked out the top three, only 0.030 in further arrears as the Australian signalled the start of the infinitesimal gaps from there on out.

Fourth place went to Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) as he converted impressive race pace in testing to a solid time attack too, with Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completing the top five.

Jorge Navarro (+Ego Speed Up) took P6 and showed more impressive speed for rider and manufacturer, ahead of a leap up the timesheets from Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team).

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was the fastest KTM and made sure the Austrian factory were represented in the top ten, 0.005 off Locatelli, with Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) taking P9.

The top ten was completed by rookie Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) as the Italian took the honour of fastest debutant on Friday. He was hundredths in front of Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40), with NTS RW Racing GP’s Bo Bendsneyder in P12 as the Dutchman continued his top form in 2019.

Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), returning from the premier class, was 13th despite a crash near the end of the day but remains a provisional Q2 graduate.

This weekend the new qualifying format comes in and it’s the fastest 14 after FP3 who’ll go through automatically – so it’s reigning Moto3 World Champion and Moto2 rookie Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) currently on course to be the final rider to graduate.

American Racing KTM’s Iker Lecuona crashed in FP1 and was declared fit, returning to the track after a check up to rejoin the action in FP2.

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Results Moto
2019 MotoGP – Qatar Grand Prix
Moto2 Friday Combined Free Practice Classification


Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) blitzed the Moto3 field by the end of Day 1 at the VisitQatar Grand Prix; the only rider to go below the 2:05 barrier and an impressive 0.595 clear of FP1’s fastest man, the returning Romano Fenati (Snipers Team).

It was close competition to complete the top three, however, as 2016 Qatar GP winner Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was third quickest but only 0.084 off Fenati despite a crash.

It was a record-breaking FP2 session as Canet’s time was well under the old lap record to throw down the gauntlet, and more than half a second in hand on Friday makes for good reading as the new qualifying format for the lightweight class begins this weekend. For the first time, entry to Q2 will be decided by the combined standings at the end of FP3 and the fourteen fastest earn automatic graduation.

Behind the top three it got seriously close, however, so competition will be tight. Less than four tenths separate fourth place Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) to 16th place John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing).

Behind Migno, Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3), less than a week after fracturing his collarbone in testing, finished Day 1 in Qatar in an incredible fifth place. He led Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) by 0.090, with Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) just a further 0.005 in arrears.

Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team) cemented eighth on his final run with a 2:05.480, ahead of Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) and Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team) in ninth and tenth respectively. Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia), Reale Avintia Arizona 77’s Vicente Perez, Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Can Öncü and Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) are currently set to join them in Q2 – but there’s time yet for that to change in FP3.

MotoGP Rnd Qatar Friday Results Moto
2019 MotoGP – Qatar Grand Prix
Moto3 Friday Combined Free Practice Classification

2019 MotoGP Round One Schedule (AEDT)
East Coast Daylight Savings Time
MotoGP FP1 Friday 2340-0025
MotoGP FP2 Saturday 0400-0445
MotoGP FP3 Saturday 2315-0000
MotoGP FP1 Sunday 0320-0350
MotoGP Q1 Sunday 0400-0415
MotoGP Q2 Sunday 0425-0440
MotoGP Race Monday 0400


Source: MCNews.com.au

Qatar MotoGP Test Yamaha 1-2 | French teenager stars

2019 MotoGP
Qatar Test – Final Wrap

Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) left Losail International Circuit after having topped two of the three days. Overnight a 1m54.208s was the benchmark for others to measure up to after three days of testing, Vinales was 0.233 clear of Petronas Yamaha rookie Fabio Quartararo, an incredible performance from the 19-year-old Frenchman.

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3

Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was back inside the top four just behind Marquez on the final day, with Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) another resurgent runner as he completed the top five just ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha). On combined times over the three days those riders were all one place further back as Suzuki’s Alex Rins’ time from day two was good enough for third quickest overall at the test.

Maverick Viñales – P1

“Honestly, I have been riding really good on the track, I felt like I was going very fast with the amount of grip that the track provided today. But we need to improve. I don’t have really good grip on the edge, so we need to keep working, especially in that area. On the acceleration side we improved quite a lot since Sepang, and at the moment I’m quite satisfied with what we have in the braking area. My race pace is not bad, I tried ten laps just to understand how the bike is doing, but it was very cold for the medium tyres. Anyway, I rode quite well, with quite a good rhythm. Maybe I could have pushed a little more. However, we still need to improve for the race. I think we are going to be ready. The race will be very important for us. Our bike has really positive points, but also a few negatives, so we now need to come to a conclusion and see where we can improve.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3
Valentino Rossi – P5

“Today was a good day, we worked in a good way and I was quite strong. Also, with the race tyres my pace is quite good, and in the time-attack I was also OK. I’m in P5 at the end of the three days, which is not so bad. For me, also the race pace is quite good, although I think we will need something more to be able to try to fight. But today we already closed the gap by a lot, as we put it all together, with all the staff. I think that, for this night, we’re done, and we’ll see in two weeks if it’s enough.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Rossi
Valentino Rossi – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director

“In the end, this test has been very productive. We came here to confirm the good points we found in Sepang. The riders’ feedback has been positive, even though the condition of the track has never been good during these three days. As this was an aspect that caused us to suffer in the past, we’re satisfied with our performance. Maverick has been impressive throughout the test, both with his best flying lap, a 1’54.2s, and his consistency. Vale, however, suffered a problem on Day 2, but today they were able to solve the issue and we found a good improvement, resulting in a 1’54.6s. We were able to try different items, including a new rear seat with different aerodynamics. We weren’t able to complete our entire schedule – due to the strong and bothersome wind – the race simulation included. Our engineers will use the coming break to analyse all the data in order to finalise the best set-up for FP1, that we are really looking forward to.”

Quartararo, meanwhile, did 48 laps and showed his Day 2 showing was far from a fluke, with teammate Franco Morbidelli shooting up the timesheets to sixth on Monday too. That makes good reading for both the Iwata marque and the new Petronas Yamaha SRT team, with all Yamahas in the top six on the final day, and the top seven on combined times.

Fabio Quartararo – P2

“It has been a very positive day for us. This morning the day wasn’t looking so good because it was cold and there was sand on the track, but in the end the wind dropped and once again every time I went out on track I felt better. So far this year I have only had six days on the bike and to be honest I feel very comfortable with it. I have managed to do a couple of really fast laps and that is what we were lacking at Sepang. Here we have not struggled to do the lap times, we were on the pace quickly and they have been fast. It was also good to get a race simulation in. Compared with the one I did at Sepang, this one was better in terms of my pace but it was also difficult because I was riding alone virtually the whole time. I think we are making gradual, non-stop progress.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3
Franco Morbidelli – P7

“I am really happy with this three-day test in Qatar, we have tried a lot of different configurations. I have struggled a little to get completely comfortable with certain aspects but today we managed to get to the bottom of a few little problems. Now we just have to put it all together for the Grand Prix. Finally we have been able to make a good time attack. In general we have done a good job, now we just need to refine a few details to make sure we are competitive over race distance and also over one lap. With the data we have been able to gather here I am confident we can find the perfect package for the race and I am really happy with the job done by the whole team.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Franco Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3
Wilco Zeelenberg – Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team Manager

“The test here in Qatar has gone even better than we expected. We know that the Yamaha is quite suited to this track but obviously the lap times from Fabio [Quartararo] have been incredible and were beyond our expectations – everything went very smoothly for him. With Franco [Morbidelli], we have struggled quite a bit on crazy things. These things happen at testing, so I hope we have solved the majority of the issues. Even though the first few days didn’t go perfectly, he did a great job that allowed him to set a good lap time tonight. Looking back on our preseason as a whole I can only say that I think we can be proud of what we have created and everything we have achieved as a team so far. At the same time, we also need to be realistic and remember that we haven’t scored any points yet in the championship. It looks like things are under control for the moment, so let’s start racing!”

Repsol Honda were the only other team and manufacturer to mix it with Yamaha on Monday, although both machines took tumbles – riders ok. Marc Marquez was third on day three with a 1m54.613s and did 53 laps, again showing the capacity to put more mileage on his shoulder, and teammate Jorge Lorenzo took P5 just 0.040 off Marquez and 0.002 off Rossi.

Marc Marquez – P4

“I feel ready today, ready to start the season. Like yesterday we did a lot of laps, worked well and made some more steps. We’re still not 100% but we have a good feeling. Qatar is a track where normally we struggle, but at this test we are there with everyone else. It was a bit difficult with the wind and the temperature on track tonight but we still did what we needed to.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3

After two much tougher days on the timesheets, hovering outside the top 15 as he both changes bike and comes back from a scaphoid broken only a month ago, five-time World Champion Lorenzo catapulted himself up to a 1m54.653s on Day 3.

Jorge Lorenzo – P6

“We started the test not adjusting the setting. When we started to work on the setting we were able to improve the bike and our speed. I could ride the bike better, we improved things a little here and a little there and made a big step to be competitive already. We’re very satisfied, the potential is certainly there and it is just my third day as an official Honda rider because before I wasn’t fully fit. When I’m fit and riding better, we can be even stronger.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), meanwhile, also had a solid final day as he finished the Qatar Test in eighth despite a crash, and the Japanese rider concludes testing with a sheet of consistent top tens. He did 50 laps with a best of 1m54.789s, with teammate Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) down in P17.

Takaaki Nakagami – P9

“I had a pretty nasty crash during the test, but fortunately I am ok. When I had the crash I took a fair bit of impact to my body, but I am thankfully fine apart from a little pain. In few days I’ll be good again. After the crash it was difficult, but we were able to improve the feeling and the lap time, so I am really happy to end the test like this. Now the pre-season tests are over, and I think we are ready for the season to start. I am hugely motivated to go racing, and happy with the whole LCR Honda IDEMITSU team. They have done a great job during testing, and I want to thank them for their efforts.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Nakagami
Jorge Lorenzo – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3
Cal Crutchlow – P17

“Today my feeling was a little bit better with the bike, but we only had limited resources as realistically there was only one bike to use. Overall, I felt we improved the setting of the bike. Unfortunately, halfway through the session I had a crash, and it took us quite a bit of time to rebuild that machine. We went back out and did a couple of runs, and then we wanted to make a bigger change and that took some time again. We’re very pleased with the work we have done, and while we’re not pleased with the position, we never went after a lap time today. Overall, I think we have a better pace than what the position says because we just stuck with the medium compound tyres tonight. We’ll see what we can do in a couple of weeks’ time back here in Qatar, but we are all looking forward to being back racing.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Crutchlow G
Jorge Lorenzo – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3

Another big headline on the last day of pre-season came from the consistently impressive Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who was a stunning seventh on a best effort of 1m54.770s. The Spaniard put in 37 laps as the Austrian factory continue working on the details, and

Pol Espargaro – P8

“I’m impressed by the potential of our bike and what we have done here. This is normally a track where we have struggled the last two years but to see us just half a second away is great. We did a good job, a good lap and a good rhythm. The conditions can change for the race but we can take a positive feeling from this test and have a good target for the GP. We still need to work carefully and concentrate on what we are doing. The conditions at the end were tough with the humidity going up and the temperatures dropping. There were a lot of crashes. Anyway, I think we can think big, and we have to do the best we can in the race but also be safe to not lose those first points of the season.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3

The second quickest KTM was actually Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) on Monday as the Portuguese rookie was within around a second of Espargaro. Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was a little further down the timesheets on Monday in P22.

Miguel Oliveira – P20

“Today we definitely found harder conditions than the two previous days because of the wind. We started a bit slow in terms of lap time but then I was picking up the pace and riding quite good. Unfortunately, a crash ended the test, but I felt I was coming stronger and also the team made quite a few changes to the bike, with which I was very satisfied.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Miguel Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3
Johann Zarco – P19

“A bit sad with the crash. It was colder and the Medium tyre was not good enough for me so I could not improve my performance. It was a shame because it was then hard to make another step. Anyway, I got more information and experience and maybe we found a limit, so we need to work more and move that onwards. I’m too slow at the moment – for the final day here anyway – but in consistency I am not too bad and we’ll see where I can be for the race weekend. I’m quite impressed by Pol’s performance today and I’m happy for him.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Zarco
Johann Zarco – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3
Hafizh Syahrin – P23

“I’m very happy to improve my lap time and as well about the work on the last day with the team. We know, that we are still very far, although we were quicker. I started to understand a little bit how to adapt to the bike. We tried a race simulation, which was not really bad, but also not very fast, as we needed to understand the bike. At the same time, I did a race distance for the very first time with the KTM. We need to push harder during the race weekend, this is sure. Let’s see what we can do there.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Hazifh Syahrin
Hazifh Syahrin – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3

Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati Team), meanwhile, retained his stronghold on the timesheets amongst the Borgo Panigale machines. The Italian was ninth on Day 3 after another 43 laps, with teammate Andrea Dovizioso down in P15 after 50 laps, but the pair were focused on long runs and race set-up.

Danilo Petrucci – P10

“Today we faced a bit more difficulties than expected as the conditions were quite windy, which prompted us to change the setup of the bike. However, we reacted quite well because, once I put the soft tyre on, we were able to post the best provisional time right away. Then, we switched our focus back to the race, running a simulation together with Andrea and trading positions, like what we did in Malaysia. I’m happy with the feeling with the bike: despite the colder track temperatures, we managed to be fast and I’m confident we’ll be ready come race time.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Petrucci
Danilo Petrucci – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3
Andrea Dovizioso – P15

“This closing day was complicated a bit by the wind, which didn’t allow to completely follow our program. We focused on some aspects and, while we’re not far from our rivals, there is still room for improvement. Honestly I can’t say I’m completely satisfied, but I’m also convinced we have strong potential and I’m confident we can have a strong race. We collected plenty of interesting data and it will be important to make the most of it to make sure we’re as ready and competitive as possible in two weeks’ time.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3

The engine and fairing and bigger decisions were already made before the end of action. Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) improved to tenth on his final of 57 laps, and his teammate, rookie Francesco Bagnaia, wasn’t far off in P13 – just two tenths in arrears. He was closely followed by Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat.

Jack Miller – P11

“I’m satisfied with these three days of testing. We did a good job and the race pace was very good. At the end of the day, we tried a time attack with a good lap time even if the conditions of the track were not the best. There are still some details that we need to improve but we are in the right direction.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Jack Miller AX
Jack Miller – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3
Pecco Bagnaia – P13

“All things considered, I’m glad about these days of testing. I think that day after day we have improved in many areas. We only did one time attack but the chrono was not a goal. The important thing was to be confident about the race pace and we did a good long run. I’ll be back in Qatar in 10 days with great motivation.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Bagnaia
Pecco Bagnaia – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3

Between that Ducati invasion were nestled both of the Team Suzuki Ecstar machines. Although third overall from his Day 2 laptime, Alex Rins ended Monday in P11 on a 1m54.852s after 41 laps and rookie teammate Joan Mir was the second quickest rookie in P12. The gap between the two Hamamatsu factory machines was only a tenth and a half…

Alex Rins – P3

“My feeling was incredible and I’m very happy. As you can see from the time sheet, my pace is there, but when pushing for my best lap time I had a small crash. All of the requests I’ve given to Suzuki this winter, they have fulfilled. I feel very positive about the way the bike has been developed – it was a challenge to improve it because the base was already very good. For sure it will be tough when we start the first race, there will be a lot of fast riders and everybody is excited to start.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day alex rins
Alex Rins – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3
Joan Mir – P12

“I’m really happy about the pace we have, and also about my feeling with the bike. We’ve made another step forward, which is really important for the race. We feel well prepared for the start of the season, although I couldn’t quite get the lap time I wanted due to a small mistake on my flying lap. But I feel I have potential and I’m close to the pace of the top guys, just a couple of tenths per lap down on them. There’s always more work to do, but overall I feel positive about what we’ve achieved in these days.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day joan mir
Joan Mir – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3

Aprilia, meanwhile, were happy with their improvements and although Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was P16 and Aleix Espargaro P19, they were focusing more on longer runs, for Espargaro especially – and overall across the test Espargaro was P14. The Noale factory were also happy with the adaptation shown by Iannone after the Italian had to sit out much of Sepang with illness, which is a big positive after a difficult recent run.

Aleix Espargaro’ – P14

“Today we had a true race simulation planned to prepare the base for the first race. I was obviously unable to be fast on the flying lap like I was yesterday, but that was definitely not the goal. It was also important because we brought to light a few things that need to be sorted for the race. That is why you do the simulations and now the engineers will have a large amount of data to work on. The 2019 RS-GP is significantly better than the 2018 version. Now we need to work to make the bike fast throughout the entire race distance.”

Andrea Iannone – P18

“Today was the most positive day of this test session. I am not focusing on the standings. We had another tyre available to do a time attack, but I think that it is more important to keep working on the RS-GP. Our priority is to arrive at the race with a bike that is more manageable and to successfully improve turning – aspects we need to focus on. I generally don’t make predictions and I like to keep my feet on the ground. We’ll need to take full advantage of the technical package we have available to us and then draw the sums at the end of the race.”

Bradley Smith – P22

“I think that the package Aprilia has for the season start is good. These were three days of rather intense tests. I worked both on solutions to use already here in Qatar and on developments focused on the mid to long-term. This latter aspect kept me rather busy. In two weeks I’ll be on the track in a wild card slot, but I think that improving the RS-GP over the long term is the most important thing. I kept the guys on the team busy, both with the many changes and with a little crash today, but I have to say that they did a fantastic job.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Iannone
Andrea Iannone – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 3

That’s it from Qatar and preseason is officially over – now all that remains is to race. With fifteen riders ending the test within a second, KTM in the top ten, the likes of Quartararo looking incredibly fast…what will the VisitQatar Grand Prix bring? Find out from the 8th to 10th March.

MotoGP Qatar Test 2019
Day Three Times

  1. VIÑALES, Maverick – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1:54.208
  2. QUARTARARO, Fabio – Petronas Yamaha SRT +0.233
  3. MARQUEZ, Marc – Repsol Honda Team +0.405
  4. ROSSI, Valentino – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +0.443
  5. LORENZO, Jorge – Repsol Honda Team +0.445
  6. MORBIDELLI, Franco – Petronas Yamaha SRT +0.452
  7. ESPARGARO, Pol – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.562
  8. NAKAGAMI, Takaaki – LCR Honda IDEMITSU +0.581
  9. PETRUCCI, Danilo – Mission Winnow Ducati +0.610
  10. MILLER, Jack – Alma Pramac Racing +0.643
  11. RINS, Alex – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +0.644
  12. MIR, Joan – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +0.789
  13. BAGNAIA, Francesco – Alma Pramac Racing +0.866
  14. RABAT, Tito – Reale Avintia Racing +1.021
  15. DOVIZIOSO, Andrea – Mission Winnow Ducati +1.025
  16. IANNONE, Andrea – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +1.135
  17. CRUTCHLOW, Cal – LCR Honda CASTROL +1.482
  18. OLIVEIRA, Miguel – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +1.565
  19. ESPARGARO, Aleix – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +1.606
  20. SMITH, Bradley – Aprilia Factory Racing +1.864 0.258
  21. ABRAHAM, Karel – Reale Avintia Racing +1.913
  22. ZARCO, Johann – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.954
  23. SYAHRIN, Hafizh – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +2.163

MotoGP Qatar Test 2019
Combined Classification

  1. Maverick VIÑALES Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1:54.208
  2. Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT 1:54.441 0.233
  3. Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1:54.593 0.385
  4. Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 1:54.613 0.405
  5. Valentino ROSSI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 1:54.651 0.443
  6. Jorge LORENZO Repsol Honda Team 1:54.653 0.445
  7. Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT 1:54.660 0.452
  8. Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1:54.770 0.562
  9. Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU 1:54.789 0.581
  10. Danilo PETRUCCI Mission Winnow Ducati 1:54.818 0.610
  11. Jack MILLER Alma Pramac Racing 1:54.851 0.643
  12. Joan MIR Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1:54.997 0.789
  13. Francesco BAGNAIA Alma Pramac Racing 1:55.074 0.866
  14. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:55.173 0.965
  15. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Mission Winnow Ducati 1:55.205 0.997
  16. Tito RABAT Reale Avintia Racing 1:55.229 1.021
  17. Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL 1:55.247 1.039
  18. Andrea IANNONE Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:55.343 1.135
  19. Johann ZARCO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1:55.716 1.508
  20. Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Tech 3 1:55.773 1.565
  21. Karel ABRAHAM Reale Avintia Racing 1:55.951 1.743
  22. Bradley SMITH Aprilia Factory Racing 1:56.072 1.864
  23. Hafizh SYAHRIN Red Bull KTM Tech 3 1:56.371 2.163

Source: MCNews.com.au

Alex Rins tops day two in Qatar from Vinales and Quartararo

2019 MotoGP
Qatar Test – Day Two

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) continued his great pre-season form by topping the timesheets on the second day of testing in Qatar overnight. The Spaniard put in a 1m54.593s to go fastest on Day 2, but it remained tight at the top as Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) ended the day just 0.057 in arrears.

MotoGP Test Qatar Day alex rins
Alex Rins – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

That made some headlines in itself, but the man in third stole some too: rookie Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) claimed the next fastest position.

Rins’ teammate, rookie Joan Mir, also impressed and put in a 1m55.280s to end Sunday in P11, less than seven-tenths off his team-mate, and rank as the second quickest rookie.

Alex Rins – P1

“It would be good if the race was tomorrow! We’ve been doing a great job; in Sepang we tested a lot of parts, but here we’re confirming that those parts are good. But the important thing is the way I’m riding, step-by-step with a nice rhythm, and using worn tyres as well. The aim is to get everything 100% clear when we come back for the first race. I feel that our package is better than last year, just by changing small things. I feel happy with the bike.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Suzuki Rins
Alex Rins – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2
Joan Mir – P11

“I’m really satisfied with today, because I made good improvements. I’m feeling strong with the bike, especially as I improved my feeling with the front end which helped me to get a better pace. It was a shame because I put a new tyre in, but I wasn’t able to get the lap I wanted, but we have another day tomorrow and I’ll try again then. Today I tried the new exhaust and I’m happy about that too, I found positive things from it. The plan tomorrow is a race simulation and further improvements.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day joan mir
Joan Mir – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

Team Manager Davide Brivio said Mir was also testing some things, as well as adapting to the bike, but that he’d like to “race tomorrow” looking at Rins’ pace. That bodes well, and the Hamamatsu factory man also said everything “visible” on the bike is decided.

Davide Brivio – Suzuki Ecstar Team Manager

“We’ve had another positive day, the cherry on the cake was having the fastest lap time today. But the most important thing is that we were able to continue our plan and do our jobs well. Alex has good pace every time he takes to the track, and he puts together strong laps which is very helpful for us when it comes to testing. Joan improved again today and had another good lap time, close to many other riders. We are happy with the progress and the work we’ve done. Tomorrow we’ll think more about the upcoming race.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day joan mir
Joan Mir’s garage – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2
Maverick Viñales – P2

“We were working a little bit on the race pace and honestly I’m quite happy, because I think we made good improvements today. It was important to feel the bike a little bit more, to find a new set-up to go fast. I think that job has been done and I’m quite happy about that. We still have a lot of things to do tomorrow to further improve. I hope to go faster tomorrow, because I think the track today wasn’t great. Tomorrow we can hopefully find a bit more grip. At the moment the grip level for me is quite low but we’re still there at the front and that’s the most important.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

It was a different story – in terms of lap-time at least – for teammate Valentino Rossi. The ‘Doctor’ ended the day down in P19, over a second off Viñales after putting in 51 laps, but the number 46 has never been one to blast out the blocks in testing.

Valentino Rossi – P19

“Today was more difficult. I struggled more, especially with the rear grip. Yesterday we had a base setting, I was not so bad. Today we tried to improve, we tried some different settings, but also some different materials. Unfortunately we didn’t improve. It was a difficult day, I was always too slow, so we’re not happy. Tomorrow we’ll try to follow some other directions, to be more competitive.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

Team Director Massimo Meregalli said it’s been time to confirm positives from Sepang, and that the speed and consistency from Day 1 were encouraging. On Sunday they focused on back-to-back comparisons, and working on fairings as homologation date draws near. The fairing, says Meregalli, is the only thing left to be decided upon – but there was also a new tail unit spotted.

Petronas Yamaha SRT, meanwhile, remained impressive in their own right and as help with development for the Iwata marque. Quartararo’s bike isn’t far off that of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, and teammate Franco Morbidelli’s is the same as that of Viñales and Rossi. Quartararo stunned with his laptime in third, and Morbidelli ended the day in P13 after 52 laps of more important data gathering.

Fabio Quartararo – P3

“It has been a very positive Sunday night for us here at Losail and we have learnt a lot about the bike. We kept up a strong pace on used tyres and also took an important step forward with respect to our time attacks. Tonight was the first time I have left the box thinking, ‘I’m going to set a fast lap no matter what,’ and I am happy with the lap times we set, especially lapping alone, when I put together three great laps. The objective tomorrow is to complete a longer run to check how the tyres work when they are already worn, and then at the end of the evening we will try another time attack.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Fabio Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2
Franco Morbidelli – P13

“Today we took a step forward from yesterday and we have understood some new things. We are still gathering experience with the bike and figuring out how it reacts to certain changes that we make. Looking at the lap times tonight, the pace was good but we can still improve over a single lap on the soft tyre. We have to work out the best way to do that, which is exactly what testing is for.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Franco Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati Team) was the fastest Borgo Panigale machine in P4.

Danilo Petrucci – P4

“It’s been a busy day. We were among the first ones to take it to the track, and I felt comfortable right away. In particular, I was happy with the feeling with used tyres, both the medium and soft compounds. Our pace is competitive, while we still need to improve in terms of pure speed on new tyres. I still have to look into detail at our rival’s lap times, but we all seem to be quite close. Tomorrow we’ll keep working on the setup and we’ll also run a race simulation to make another step forward, which is crucial to fight for the podium during the race.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day petrucci UC
Danilo Petrucci – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

After 48 laps ‘Petrux’ did a best of 1m54.953s and, despite being down in P8, teammate Andrea Dovizioso was close with a 1m11.205s after 53 laps. Team Manager Davide Tardozzi said Ducati have “clear ideas regarding frame, engines, aerodynamics, electronics” and that they were concentrating on tyre life – with an interesting addition under the bike that rumour says is aimed at tyre temperature.

Andrea Dovizioso – P8

“If we look at the lap times, today they probably don’t reveal too much: many riders worked esclusively for the upcoming race, but what matters the most is that my feeling with the bike is good. Today, as we had previously done in Malaysia, we did a race simulation split into two runs. It’s a very important task ahead of the opening race, even if it will unfold in slightly different conditions, and it allowed to gather interesting feedback even though it’s still difficult to gauge the true potential of our opponents. I think we’re working well and methodically, and tomorrow we’ll continue to focus on some details to find more ways to further improve.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day dovizioso UC
Andrea Dovizioso – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) was the top Independent Team Ducati rider on Sunday and leapt up the timesheets into P12.

Jack Miller – P12

“I’m happier than yesterday. We worked effectively on the setup and geometry of the bike even though in the end we had to deal with a technical issue that slowed us down. I was able to improve my time despite the humidity that certainly didn’t help and for this, I thank the team that did a great job. Tomorrow we will try again in better conditions.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Jack Miller AX
Jack Miller – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) was in P14 despite a crash. He was just ahead of the second Alma Pramac Racing machine of rookie Francesco Bagnaia.

Pecco Bagnaia – P15

“It’s been a good day. We have taken a big step forward since yesterday. We were able to take a path that led us to be faster. In the end, I went on track to do a long run and in the first six laps, the feeling was good. Tomorrow we will also do some time attacks because we saved a lot of soft tyres today”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Pecco Bagnaia AX
Pecco Bagnaia – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

At Honda, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was the fastest man for the marque, in fifth. A 1m55.004s was his best effort, but crucially the reigning Champion managed nearly 60 laps – a good sign in his ongoing recovery from shoulder surgery, with Marquez having done less than forty on most test days so far.

Marc Marquez – P5

“I’m very happy today because it was my first ‘normal’ day of testing. I did a lot of laps, there was a little pain in the shoulder but it’s manageable. We also made a big step with the setup of the bike, I’m happy overall with my condition and the bike. We’re getting closer and closer at a circuit that’s usually not the best for us and there’s still a day of testing left.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day marquez
Marc Marquez – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

Teammate Jorge Lorenzo was a second quicker than Day 1 but in a tight trio between Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Rossi, and he put in 44 laps with a best of 1:55.742 as he fights to recover from his broken scaphoid.

Jorge Lorenzo – P19

“Today was better than yesterday. We modified the bike to improve my feeling and confidence across the whole circuit. You can see we’ve improved by over one second, the position isn’t much better but we are much closer to the front – this is the most important part. Tomorrow we’re aiming to make another step forward again, especially with corner entry as I think there’s still more to do there.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was second fastest Honda in P7, and rumour has it one of his bikes seemed to migrate to his teammate’s side of the garage too. That teammate, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), had a tough first day but was back in the mix in the top ten on Sunday, doing 35 laps and taking P9.

Takaaki Nakagami – P9

“It was another positive test day for us, and step-by-step we are really making improvements on the bike. Also, I feel my riding improved even more today compared to the first day. I’m very happy with the feeling on the bike and of course with the LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team. The position is not so bad, and the lap time is closer to the top, so I’m really happy with the day and looking forward to the last day of pre-season tests. Let’s see if we can make even more improvements tomorrow before the season begins.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2
Cal Crutchlow – P9

“We finished a little bit early today on our second day of testing here in Qatar. We got through everything in our programme for the day. We’ve got more to do tomorrow, and we’ve decided on a few different things we’re going to try then on the last day of testing before the season starts. The LCR Honda CASTROL Team have worked really hard as always, and we are a bit more pleased than yesterday, but there’s still a way to go to make sure we’re at the front.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Crutchlow G
Cal Crutchlow – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) impressed once again on Day 2. He ended the day in sixth – just 0.002 ahead of Nakagami – and put in 55 laps. Aprilia had a new exhaust, and Technical Manager Romano Albesiano said Espargaro and teammate Andrea Iannone were testing race setup and aero. Iannone reportedly had positive feedback on the aero, and he ended the day in P16. Test rider Bradley Smith, meanwhile, was focusing on electronics.

Aleix Espargaro – P6

“I am satisfied overall. We managed to improve a lot compared to yesterday. I feel more at ease with the 2019 RS-GP although I must admit that there is still margin for improvement, especially in terms of my feeling, for example in the braking phase, where I take a few too many risks. But you also need to consider that this is our second test with the new bike. I learn something with every outing and the mechanics gather more information that lets us perfect the setting. Tomorrow will be a fundamental day, the last before the race weekend. We’ll try a simulation to have a clearer idea of our level as compared to our rivals.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2
Andrea Iannone – P17

“Our priority right now is to get to know the bike better, improving step by step. We improved compared to yesterday, but we need to keep pushing hard and make the right choices, especially in terms of setup. There is obviously always something that doesn’t give us the results we expect, but we take that as another bit of information that helps us improve. As I said yesterday, we have good potential and the job is to make it consistent throughout race distance in order to maintain a good pace from start to finish.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Iannone
Andrea Iannone – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

Completing the top ten on Sunday was another headline stealer – Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). He was even higher up for much of the session, and his 1:55.255 meant that all six factories were within the top ten after a fitting 44 laps for the 2013 Moto2 World Champion.

Pol Espargaro – P10

“A satisfying day. We knew we had a lot to try so we started early on. Traction is important on this track, especially from corners 9-12, but we have to be careful not to use the tyre. We were working on that – as well as the race pace – because we know it will be a hard GP for us. The race itself should be a bit earlier in the day, so it’ll be warmer and tyre wear at the end will be really important. Tomorrow will be a hard day and we want to try a long run as well. Michelin are doing a good job, they have brought a new softer rear compound so they are trying to make our work fun, which is nice, and the performance of the bike is good. Overall though we must work on the electronics and the overall set-up.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

Teammate Zarco was in P17 just ahead of Lorenzo, but quicker than Day 1. Team Manager Mike Leitner said the focus had switched from bigger changes to details, and noted the pressure to get ready – especially with so many items to test. He also said both have good feelings and noted the particularly positive results for Espargaro’s testing.

Johann Zarco – P17

“The second day has been better for me and straight away we were able to understand why I could not improve any more on the first day. It’s important to feel that on the bike, and the positive and negatives things of our work. We moved a few steps forward for my sensation when riding and it made me smile. We’re still one second away from the first guy but we made improvements. We made many laps here and while I’m not sure if we are fully set for this race yet we can do the best job we can. It is just about finding the right set-up for my riding style and when we put our finger on something I can immediately make progress. We are taking a while to find it…but this is just the beginning of our story. I would like to get inside a second tomorrow: that would be interesting. I want to get closer.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Johann Zarco
Johann Zarco – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2
Miguel Oliveira – P21

“Today has been quite different to yesterday. We improved the lap time, which is a good point. We managed to do some decent work on the bike, we kept focused more on the long-runs and how the race should look like; tyre-wise and also setting-wise, we adapted the bike a lot – not to do a fast lap, but to have a fast pace. Overall, I felt quite strong. We have plenty of opportunities tomorrow to try to put in a fast lap.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Miguel Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2
Hafizh Syahrin – P23

“It has been a tough second day here. We tried to change many things to improve my feeling on the brake and especially on the front part of the bike. On the rear, we just tried the soft tyre. To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed of myself because I was expecting more. Anyway, we keep on working hard, try to understand more and I want to refresh for tomorrow as it is the last day before the start of the season.”

MotoGP Test Qatar Day Hazifh Syahrin
Hazifh Syahrin – 2019 MotoGP Qatar Test – Day 2

MotoGP riders have one more day of testing in Qatar and that will get underway tonight. We will have all the news for you on MCNews.com.au in the morning.

MotoGP Qatar Test 2019
Day Two Times

  1. RINS Alex – SPA – Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’54.593
  2. VINALES Maverick – SPA – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +0.057
  3. QUARTARARO Fabio – FRA – Petronas Yamaha SRT +0.315
  4. PETRUCCI Danilo – ITA – Mission Winnow Ducati +0.360
  5. MARQUEZ Marc – SPA – Repsol Honda Team +0.411
  6. ESPARGARO Aleix – SPA – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +0.580
  7. NAKAGAMI Takaaki – JPN – LCR Honda +0.582
  8. DOVIZIOSO Andrea – ITA – Mission Winnow Ducati +0.612
  9. CRUTCHLOW Cal – GBR – LCR Honda +0.654
  10. ESPARGARO Pol – SPA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.662
  11. MIR Joan – SPA – Team Suzuki Ecstar +0.687
  12. MILLER Jack – AUS – Alma Pramac Racing +0.787
  13. MORBIDELLI Franco – ITA – Petronas Yamaha SRT +0.963
  14. ROSSI Valentino – ITA – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +1.011
  15. RABAT Tito – SPA – Reale Avintia Racing +1.068
  16. BAGNAIA Francesco – ITA – Alma Pramac Racing +1.087
  17. IANNONE Andrea – ITA – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +1.105
  18. ZARCO Johann – FRA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.123
  19. LORENZO Jorge – SPA – Repsol Honda Team +1.149
  20. ABRAHAM Karel – CZE – Reale Avintia Racing +1.358
  21. OLIVEIRA Miguel – POR – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +1.681
  22. SMITH Bradley – GBR – Aprilia Racing Test Team +2.273
  23. SYAHRIN Hafizh – MAL – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +2.390

Source: MCNews.com.au