Saturday, March 01, 2008

Final Night of Testing MotoGP - Qatar

Well, things are certainly looking interesting after last nights testing in Qatar with Jorge Lorenzo topping the time sheets and James Toseland coming in second, both on Yamahas.  They are both new entries in the MotoGP list this year and are showing how quickly they are adapting to the new machines and the highest level of competition.  Casey Stoner is proving to be on the mark again this year and it is a credit to his riding style and his Ducati bike and team that he continues to do so.  There will be lots of British fans getting their hopes up that at last a UK rider is in the MotoGP with a chance to win.

Whatever happens the historic night time MotoGP to be held in Qatar next weekend looks as though it is going to be a classic with everyone wanting to stamp their mark on the first race of the season.

Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 1st Time: 1'54.552 Laps: 73
“I am very happy because we have done two days of testing with a very good rhythm throughout. Our performance has been consistent, which is very important after the trouble we had at the last test and this makes me confident for the first race. The race simulation today was really positive, although I think we still need to do some work on the rear of the bike which might allow us to be a bit faster. Despite all these positive signs we must keep our feet on the ground, because I have never raced with the other riders and the first race will be a new experience for me! Next week many things will be different so we must remain focused and hopefully maintain a good rhythm. I am happy because I think people understand now that I am ready for this, and this is very important for me and for my confidence. I do not have experience in MotoGP so I cannot say how this championship will turn out, but let’s say that without experience the winter tests were good and with some experience the championship might be even better!”

"Estoy muy contento porque hemos hecho dos días de entreno con muy buen ritmo. Nuestro rendimiento ha sido consistente, lo que es muy importante después de las importantes dificultades con las que nos encontramos en el test anterior y eso hace que me sienta confiado de cara a la primera carrera. El simulacro de carrera de hoy ha sido realmente positivo, aunque creo que todavía tenemos que trabajar un poco en el tren trasero de la moto, lo que nos permitirá ir más rápido. A pesar de todos estos signos positivos debemos mantener los pies en el suelo, porque nunca he corrido con otros pilotos y la primera carrera será una nueva experiencia para mí!  La próxima semana habrán muchas cosas diferentes así que debemos mantenernos concentrados y espero mantener el buen ritmo. Estoy contento porque pienso que la gente comprende ahora que realmente estoy preparado para esto, y esto es muy importante para mí porque me da confianza. No tengo experiencia en MotoGP así que no puedo decir cómo irá el campeonato, pero digamos que sin experiencia los test de invierno han ido bien y que con algo de experiencia, el campeonato irá aún mejor!"

James Toseland 2nd 1.54.592 – 52 laps
“I know this track pretty well so it didn’t take too long to get into the groove of the place even on this bike. But to do the time I did and finish second is pretty amazing. I don’t think I did a 58 on my superbike, so to think I’m four seconds faster than a superpole lap is incredible. And I’m half-a-second under Valentino’s pole and that is really encouraging. It just shows how much my confidence has grown with the Michelin qualifying tyre because you really have to trust how to get the best out of the extra grip. I knew it was a quick lap but it was a little bit faster than I expected. It was just great to see all those great names underneath mine. It would have been nice to finish fastest but I’m still happy. I wanted to come to MotoGP and be competitive and I’m showing I can. Now I can’t wait for the first race. Luckily for me the experience of the Tech 3 team, and Michelin and Yamaha working so hard, it is all coming together very quickly. It is only because of the experience of the people around me that performances like this have come so quickly. My guys have brought me to this level much quicker than I expected, and hopefully we can convert the good testing performances into the season.”

Test Times
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'54.552
2. James Toseland (GBR) Tech 3 Yamaha 1'54.592
3. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1'54.973
4. Colin Edwards (USA) Tech 3 Yamaha 1'55.464
5. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro 1'55.485
6. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) JiR Team Scot MotoGP 1'55.550
7. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda 1'55.674
8. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki 1'56.119
9. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'56.249
10. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1'56.256
11. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'56.450
12. John Hopkins (USA) Kawasaki Racing 1'56.612
13. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda 1'56.704
14. Shinya Nakano (JPN) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1'56.792
15. Marco Melandri (ITA) Ducati Marlboro 1'56.902
16. Toni Elias (SPA) Alice Team 1'56.986
17. Sylvain Guintoli (FRA) Alice Team 1'57.055
18. Anthony West (AUS) Kawasaki Racing 1'57.459