Red Bull KTM launched the 2019 MotoGP year with Pol Espargaro and Johann Zarco scoring 12th and 15th positions at the Losail International Circuit but with a vastly reduced margin to the race winner.
Temperatures improved and the windy conditions that blighted Practice and Qualification on Saturday were not so prevalent for the first round of nineteen. The fans and viewers that turned their attention to the rapid, floodlit corners of the Qatari racetrack – fifteen years as part of the MotoGP calendar – were rewarded with three entertaining races split by fractions of a second.
KTM fielded a bold line-up of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team and Red Bull KTM Tech3: the first time that four KTM RC16s were present on the premier class Grand Prix grid. Pol Espargaro, Miguel Oliveira and Johann Zarco ran close together for most of the race in the second half of a field that was closely packed, and often with only ten seconds dividing the majority of runners. Hafizh Syahrin struggled to find an effective rhythm and classified outside the points.
Espargaro was finally able to overtake his Portuguese brandmate and finished in 12th position: just 12.7 seconds away from winner Andrea Dovizioso. The gap was more than half the distance achieved in 2017 and 2018. Zarco recovered from a tough Saturday period and a grid slot of 21st to notch his first point on the RC16 with 15th. Oliveira forged an impressive early pace but in the second half of the race had to slow due to tyre wear and passed the chequered flag in 17th.
Pol Espargaro: “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.”
Johann Zarco: “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.”
Miguel Oliveira: “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.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “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.”
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.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director: “The first Grand Prix is done and I’m happy. All four guys were back in the garage healthy and being just 12 seconds from the winner means just half a second a lap. We had doubts and struggles all weekend at this track and some critical questions but 0.5 is still not too far and I know we can still improve and it will bring us right into the middle of a serious game. Johann was perhaps struggling the most of the group but managed to have a good race. We’ll build on this.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder finished in 12th position for the first Moto2 Grand Prix with a new single spec engine – only the second time in the history of the category inaugurated at the beginning of the decade. Moto3 World Champion Jorge Martin opened his account both with his new team and in the Moto2 category in 15th.
The 18-lap Moto3 race was the first of the day and was won by Kaito Toba with Aron Canet taking his KTM RC250 GP on the podium in 3rd place (the first of five KTMs in the top ten). Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Can Öncü completed his maiden Grand Prix in what is his debut FIM world championship season in 18th position.
The Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina will represent round two of nineteen and will take place in three weeks time.
Monday, 11 March 2019 18:14 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Andrea Dovizioso seized a spectacular win in the Qatar GP, the opening round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship, on the Mission Winnow Ducati team's Desmosedici. The Italian thus repeated the result achieved last year, once again beating Marc Marquez to the finish line for just 23 thousandths of a second. For Dovizioso, who scored five consecutive podiums at the Losail track, it's the 12th win with Ducati.
Starting from first row, Dovizioso led the race from the very beginning, battling with Marquez and Rins, then tried to pull away from the pack in the last few laps. Marquez tried a move at the very last corner but the Italian once again managed to answer back to cross the finish line in first position. Danilo Petrucci also rode a solid race, recovering several positions after suffering a non-optimal start from third row. After climbing back to third, Petrucci faced a small drop and finished the race in sixth, only two seconds behind his teammate.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1st
"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."
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 6th
"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."
Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A.
"It's been a very exciting race. Dovizioso was simply brilliant, doubling up on the win scored here last year and keeping the streak open after taking the last round of 2018 in Valencia. This shows how hard the whole team worked during the winter break. The Desmosedici is even more competitive now but we've seen plenty of fast rivals and this was just the first race. We need to stay focused and keep working hard, but for sure we can say Ducati is competitive."
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."
The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume action at the Termas de Rio Hondo track for the Grand Prix of Argentina, scheduled for March 31st.
Monday, 11 March 2019 18:10 Published in Rider and Team Releases
The Grand Prix of Qatar, as usual, marks the opening round of the MotoGP World Championship. Before the start of a new season, we selected 10 key stats about the Losail circuit and the Mission Winnow Ducati team:
• The upcoming race will be the 16th edition of the Qatar GP, and for the 13th time the Championship will begin at Losail
• Ducati won the opening race five times: with Loris Capirossi in 2006 (when the Championship started at Jerez), and both with Casey Stoner (in 2007, 2008, and 2009) and Andrea Dovizioso (2018) in Qatar.
• The first edition of the Grand Prix of Qatar took place in 2004, while 2007 marked the first race held at night
• The floodlights of Losail, the only permanent circuit in the world with artificial lighting, light an area as big as 70 soccer fields and require 5.4 million watts of power – enough electricity to supply 3,000 homes.
• Ducati won four times in Qatar: in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2018. The most thrilling victory probably is the most recent one, as Andrea Dovizioso beat Marc Marquez to the finish line by only 0.027 seconds last year.
• Andrea Dovizioso has an open streak of four consecutive podiums in Qatar (three second places and one win), and already stepped on the rostrum eight times overall at Losail – a personal record in terms of podium finishes on a single track, tied with Le Mans. Dovizioso's best grid position in Qatar, on the other hand, dates back to 2015 when he clinched pole position – his only first-row start at Losail so far.
• In 2004, in the 250cc class, Dovizioso finished the race tied with Lorenzo, with exactly the same time, and the win was assigned to Lorenzo based on the fastest lap during the race.
• Danilo Petrucci started the 2018 Qatar GP from first row, a qualifying performance he subsequently repeated at Le Mans and Sachsenring. His best race result in Qatar is fifth (2018).
• Danilo Petrucci clocked the highest ever speed at Losail in 2018, reaching 351.9 km/h on the main straight onboard his Desmosedici.
• The braking at the end of the straight is the second hardest in the entire championship, requiring brake-lever pressures of 8 kg over 5.1 seconds crossing a distance of 290 meters.
Friday, 08 March 2019 07:01 Published in Rider and Team Releases
The time for tests, talk and tentative speculation is over. MotoGP 2019 begins this weekend and will see KTM’s biggest and most ambitious assault on the FIM World Championship fire into life as the factory hopes to dazzle under the Losail lights.
For the fifteen year in a row the Losail International Circuit will welcome MotoGP. The Grand Prix paddock will gather again less than two weeks after the second IRTA test of the pre-season period took place at the same flat, pacey and demanding facility close to the ever-changing metropolis of Doha.
In those final rapid laps of experimentation and refinement of the Red Bull KTM RC16 Pol Espargaro got to within half a second of the best time while new teammate Johann Zarco – who will mark a notable career milestone after first gracing a Grand Prix circuit as a Red Bull Rookie in the 2007 inauguration of the series – continued his adaptation to the factory bike.
Red Bull KTM will tackle only their third year as part of the MotoGP grid and with memories of their maiden podium finish at Valencia for the final fixture of 2018 not yet faded. Espargaro boasts a best result of 7th at the Qatari circuit in five years of MotoGP competition while Zarco has a 8th: 2019 will be just his third term in the premier class.
KTM presented their full line-up in a comprehensive launch event in Austria last month, and will watch the first round of nineteen with interest through the categories. Like many race fans the ‘orange family’ and KTM followers will have their own questions: how far will Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin push into the pack? Will Brad Binder start the new Moto2 era with a trophy? Will Can Öncü make another immediate impression in Moto3?
2019 gets underway with the first Moto3 Free Practice sessions at 11.50 CET this Friday. The races themselves will occur at 15.00 (Moto3), 16.20 (Moto2) and 18.00 (MotoGP) CET on Sunday.
Pol Espargaro: “Losail is a strange track and pretty different to all the others; mainly because it is the first grand prix and everyone wants to start the season well. There is a lot of pressure. Racing in the night means the temperatures are usually quite low and the humidity is high, from one hour to the other or from the start of the race until the end the track can change a lot so you have to adapt fast. We’ll look to do our best and get the race set-up fixed as quickly as we can.”
Johann Zarco: “I first raced at Losail in 2009, so ten years ago. I remember leading race here in Moto2 and I had a mechanical problem and had to finish the race in third gear and missed the win! My first race in MotoGP was also nice. It is a fast track and of course what makes it special is to ride at night. It’s also the first race so it has a different kind of pressure: you start a long season here but then when you arrive to the end it always feels like it has passed so fast from this first moment.”
Miguel Oliveira: “I think the approach for the first GP is always quite simple, it’s to do my best and try to do my job as always, plus making the team happy with my performance. I feel it’s important for me to finish the race, to get experience and to get to know where to improve my riding. The most important thing is to gather this experience in my first race in MotoGP, I don’t think about any result in specific.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “I’m looking forward to the first race very much! We had some tough pre-season tests, where we tried to adapt to the bike step by step. It was pretty good and I felt better and better with the bike. So we keep on working hard, try to understand everything and keep the mind fresh to be ready for race day. Let’s see what we can do.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “The target is to reach the top positions as much as possible but we have to be realistic and this is just the third year for us. We are still fighting against manufacturers with many more years in this business. We are pushing to improve our package on many different aspects and this will of course take some time but racing is racing and we will always look for good results. Doha has been a difficult track for us. We started our project here two years ago and that’s why we are really happy to see the test lap-times closer than they have ever been to the fastest. I think for the race we can be optimistic and find the good set-up in the four sessions. The challenge there is that the track conditions can change day-to-day. We just have to be open and adapt to what we find.”
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 15:47 Published in Rider and Team Releases
KTM ended a busy pre-season after three evenings of laps and testing at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar and can now set their sights on the first round of the 2019 MotoGP season at the same track on March 10th. Today Pol Espargaro further improved his pace to classify just half a second away from the fastest lap.
Day three of the second and last IRTA test of the 2019 MotoGP pre-season took place in windy and cool conditions at Losail. The climate permitted around four hours of work and laps as the grid took the final opportunities to try ideas and race set-up adjustments with one eye on the fifteenth Grand Prix of Qatar.
Red Bull KTM’s Pol Espargaro again made qualitative gains with the KTM RC16 and ran consistently among the leaders through the timed period. His 27th lap (of 37 in total) was his best of the test at 1min 54.770 and the former world champion capped a decent month of work by sitting just half a second away from countryman Maverick Viñales. Pol’s lap was also a second faster than his best at the same test twelve months earlier.
Teammate Johann Zarco’s evening was effectively halted by a crash at Turn 2. The Frenchman was one of many riders to slide into the Losail gravel as the temperatures dropped below 20 degrees. Zarco (who finished the session down in 19th) continues his quest to find more corner speed but was also pleased with his ability to post regular lap-times.
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira (20th) was another to go even faster but also fell while Hafizh Syahrin posted 42 laps and tried a race simulation to further acclimatise to the RC16 for what will be just his second term in the premier class of Grand Prix.
Three days in Qatar completed 2019 tests that also included five days at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia earlier this month. In just over a week the KTM teams will be travelling back to Doha and to Losail to launch the 2019 season for the first race of nineteen.
Pol Espargaro: “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.”
Johann Zarco: “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.”
Miguel Oliveira: “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.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “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.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “I think we did a great job over these six test days in total. It was tough for the riders and also the company to deliver all the parts and suggestions we wanted but everyone was pushing hard and there were not many runs where we used the same bike spec! The last day was about focussing more on race set-up and looking for a good lap-time but Johann still wanted more from our bike so we looked at more ideas. He understands now what he will mix together for the GP. The Tech3 team also did a great job. Losail has not been an easy track for us but we started our project here two years ago and it is really good to see how much closer we are to the fastest lap: before we did not manage anything better than 1.2 or 1.3. It’s still hard for us here and especially for a single fast lap but this shows we made a great improvement. The goal now will be to make better results and to start the season strongly when we come back here.”
Qatar IRTA Test Day Three final times
1. Maverick Viñales (SPA), Yamaha 1:54.208
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +0.233
3. Alex Rins (SPA), Suzuki +0.385
4. Marc Marquez (SPA), Honda +0.405
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha +0.443
7. Pol Espargaro (SPA), Red Bull KTM +0.562
19. Johann Zarco (FRA), Red Bull KTM +1.508
20. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.565
23. Hafizh Syarin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +2.163
Monday, 25 February 2019 22:36 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Losail (Qatar), 25th February 2019 - Today the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team completed the third and final day of the last 2019 MotoGP preseason test. Despite less than desirable riding conditions, Maverick Viñales let his consistency shine again and set the fastest time of the day, also claiming top billing in the combined timesheets. Valentino Rossi likewise elevated his bike's performance level and finished his preseason campaign with a positive fourth place in today's ranking order, and a fifth in the combined times.
Viñales didn't let the strong wind get to him and was focused as ever on getting the job done. He successfully worked on acceleration and set a stunning 1'54.208s on lap 25/50. He went on to complete five further runs, until a little after 9pm local time, and wrapped up the test in first place, both in today's and in the combined standings, with a 0.233s margin over his closest rival.
Rossi found his strong form again during the third day of riding at the Losail International Circuit. He laid a final hand to the setting of his YZR-M1 and showed he is on the right track when he improved his fastest time to a 1'54.651s, set on lap 35/38. He finished in fourth place in today's rankings and in fifth in the combined, 0.443s from teammate.
Thanks to the progress made today, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team find themselves in a strong place to start the 2019 MotoGP season at the first round in Qatar, held from 8 - 10 March.
MASSIMO MEREGALLI, 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.”
MAVERICK VIÑALES, MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER “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.”
VALENTINO ROSSI, MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP RIDER “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.”
Monday, 25 February 2019 15:51 Published in Rider and Team Releases
The Mission Winnow Ducati team concluded tonight the official MotoGP pre-season tests at Losail (Qatar). In the three-day test, which is crucial to define the technical base ahead of the opening round of the Championship, scheduled for March 8-10 on the track on the outskirts of Doha, both Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso made the most of the available track time to work on the development of the Desmosedici GP19, completing 126 and 132 laps respectively.
Both riders tried first and foremost to optimize the setup for the race, a work that culminated today in another joint race simulation in light of the interesting data yielded by this method during the first tests of 2019 in Malaysia. With a personal best of 1:54.818, Petrucci finished the tests in 10th position in the combined rankings, which were characterized by narrow gaps as the first 15 riders finished within one second. Dovizioso closed in 15th position, +0.387 behind his teammate, with a personal best of 1:55.205.
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:54.818 (10th)
"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."
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:55.205 (15th)
"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."
The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume action at Losail for the opening round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship, scheduled for March 8-10.
Monday, 25 February 2019 15:42 Published in Rider and Team Releases
KTM’s best, largest and most ambitious assault on MotoGP Grand Prix racing was unveiled a short distance from the factory in Mattighofen, Austria this afternoon. Riders and staff from Red bull KTM Factory Racing and Red Bull KTM Tech3 were introduced by KTM management as part of the company’s most comprehensive line-up to face the FIM World Championship.
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 12:38 Published in Rider and Team Releases
While unable to complete as many laps over the three-day test as normal, Marc Marquez and the Repsol Honda Team leave pleased with progress made.
Finally the Sepang Test has come to a close, Marc Marquez completing a total of 105 laps while evaluating the various new parts for the 2019 Honda RC213V and his shoulder. With his recovery from shoulder surgery still continuing, his running over the three days was limited but the seven-time world champion remained able to set competitive times and completed his testing programme.
Starting early each day, Marquez diligently assessed the most important parts developed over the winter by Honda. Improving his overall time by half a second, Marquez finished the Sepang Test with a 1’59.170. Although he ended the test as the 11th fastest rider, Marquez and the entire Repsol Honda Team remain pleased with the progress made over the three days.
Official Test Rider Stefan Bradl ended the final day in 13th place with a fastest time of 1’59.368.
The Reigning World Champion will now visit Indonesia. Marc Marquez and the Repsol Honda Team will next be on track for the Qatar Test, February 23 – 25, where Jorge Lorenzo is scheduled to return from injury.
Friday, 08 February 2019 18:31 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi have completed their testing programme at the Sepang International Circuit today. The third and last eight-hour session was crucial to collect some final data, as the team-mates tried new aero parts. They rode until the very end of the session, not letting any time go to waste. They ultimately took fifth and tenth place respectively in today’s timesheets as well as in the overall 2019 Sepang MotoGP Official Test results.
This morning Viñales picked up where he left off, working on the race spec of his YZR-M1 and the acceleration. He was quick to show the bike’s nimble character again, dropping a 1’58.644s on lap 8, to slot into provisional fourth place in the rankings.
As the session progressed, the order changed slightly with the Spaniard being pushed to fifth in the second hour of riding. However, Viñales was more concerned with finalising his testing programme than putting in a time attack. He completed a 20-lap race simulation and kept riding until the very end when the chequered flag came out. The no. 12 rider completed 79 laps in total and held his fifth position in both today’s and the overall results.
Rossi filled the final day of riding in Malaysia with further evaluating new tyres for Michelin and continued working on the stability in braking and the smoothness of the acceleration, and in the process he also improved on his best time from Day 2 by nearly half a second.
Similar to team-mate Viñales, the Doctor was solely putting his attention towards enhancing his bike’s setting. His fastest lap was a 1’59.155s, set on lap 9, putting him in tenth place for the majority of the day, 0.916s from the top. With a little more than 14 minutes on the clock, the Italian was committed to improving his position in the timesheets but was unable to do so and stayed in tenth place in today’s and the combined timesheets.
The team will now return to Europe whilst the engineers return to Japan to process the data and take their 2019 MotoGP preparation another step further. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will regroup in Qatar from 23 – 25 February for the second preseason test of 2019.
Friday, 08 February 2019 18:27 Published in Rider and Team Releases