Qatar Grand Prix: Thursday MotoGP press releases


Casey Stoner Repsol Honda #1 1st 1m56.474
“The track tonight wasn’t so bad, I expected the conditions to be much worse but in general it was ok. We started this evening with huge chatter issues and I was a little afraid we couldn’t fix this but after a few more exits we managed to reduce it to a more comfortable level. This is a positive point for the weekend but with such a short session and then nothing until tomorrow it’s slightly strange. It was an ok start tonight, we finished quickest which is good but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow for some real track time and with the conditions a little better and see where we are”.

Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda #26 5th 1m57.130
“There are some corners where we are struggling a lot with the chattering, especially in the area where you slide more, but it’s like this and we will need to adapt the best we can. On my first exit I had an issue with the tyres and I had to stop in the garage; I felt a vibration in the wheels, so we decided to change both tyres. I lost some time there and at the end of the practice I went wide twice. Anyway, it’s been good to go out there and get the feeling back at this track after a long time without riding here. Tomorrow, with two practices sessions, we will start working more with the chassis and electronics to improve and prepare for the race”.

Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha #99 2nd 1m56.648
“A quite good start, the track seems pretty dirty though, we are very far from the lap times of last year but that’s the same for everybody. I feel good, we are in the top close to Casey and we have improvements to come tomorrow from the bike, the track and myself. At the end we made a small change to gain some rear grip on all the corners which helped drop the lap time.”

Ben Spies #11 Yamaha 4th 1m56.982
“I was happy with tonight, we were generally pretty close to the top. The bike seemed to work pretty well; we made just two small changes to it and kept the same set of tyres on the whole time. We made our fastest lap when the tyre had dropped off with almost race distance on it. I’m quite pleased with how the bike performed. We’ve tested at Sepang, Jerez and here and the bike has been good at all three so I’m happy with the bike, the team and myself. We’ve just got to keep rolling and keep the momentum going.”

Wilco Zeelenberg Team Manager, Yamaha
“That’s the first free practice done, P2 is quite good and we’re happy to be there just one tenth from Casey. It seems to be that what we’ve learnt and solved over the wintertime is working here. Jorge is riding very well, calm and relaxed and focused so I believe we can make some more steps forward when the track is a little cleaner and get faster. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

Massimo Meregalli Team Director, Yamaha
“It’s definitely a good start for us. I think everything we saw in the winter tests meant we were confident we could come here and do well. We led the practice for a while and we had a very consistent pace and were able to put in fast laps with a used tyre. What a promising start, the base of the bike is really good as you can see with four Yamaha’s up there being competitive from the start.”

Nicky Hayden Ducati Team #69 3rd 1m56.924
“The first session went well. This track is a lot different than what we experienced in Jerez, more open and a lot wider. It was quite dirty and not very grippy, which helped us a bit. We started off on the hard tyre and then switched to the soft for the last exit, and I was able to do a nice lap. In general we were pretty fast and consistent, and I’ve certainly had worse sessions here, but we’ll just stay calm, keep trying to improve and try to get a good grid spot on Saturday night. It’s just one session, and there’s a long way to go. Sunday night is what counts, and it would be nice to get this team a result it deserves.”

Valentino Rossi Ducati Team #46 10th 1m57.914
“It’s the first practice and I used the hard tyre the whole session, trying to do a lot of laps in order to understand it. The new tyre is much better for warming up, so good for safety, but it started to slide a lot after some laps and made some of the understeer worse. We have to work with the setting and also the electronics. The soft will be important for Saturday, but the hard will be the tyre for the race. Tomorrow we’ll try to do better.”

Hèctor Barberà Pramac Racing #8 9th 1m57.912
“I’m happy with how we are working on during the free practice of today. I had a good feeling with my Ducati and we had a good pace race.We had a few small issues with the front tyre that took quite a lot of time out of our session today.We made several runs to test both the hard and the soft tyres, but the general situation didn’t improve. However we are confident on the work done and we should be able to change the situation.”

Francesco Guidotti Pramac Racing Team Manager
“Overall we had a good turn of free practice. The bright spot is that we have a good feeling between the Team and our rider. The fastest Ducati’s rider is Nicky Hayden and we have to work on his race pace to improve our lap time and achieve a good spot on the grid.”

Alvaro Bautista San Carlo Gresini Honda #19 7th 1m57.512
“The 2012 season is finally underway on a track that always has grip problems in the first session. We have tried to work to find a good feeling for the bike but I had some problems in corner entry with a little front end chatter that prevented me from being able to push. We used the same hard rear tyre for the whole session and with the track in these conditions that gave us a lot of spinning that made it difficult to get on the gas, so tomorrow we will work with the electronics and the chassis geometry and try to improve my overall confidence with the bike. ”

Michele Pirro Gresini FTR Honda #51 15th 2m00.322
“The first day hasn’t gone bad at all, we have tried to get as many laps in as possible to get confident with this bike at this track, having never ridden it here before. We continued the work we started atJerez and made gradual progress. I have great confidence in the team and I am more and more certain that we will get more competitive as the season progresses. Unfortunately the bike is still very young, with only a few hundred kilometres on the clock, so like everything it will need time. I have the right people around me though and I will try to improve in every session. I didn’t expect to be just three tenths behind De Puniet, who is an experienced rider on a competitive CRT bike, so that’s a nice start for me and my guys.

Fausto Gresini Team principal Gresini Honda
“The first session hasn’t gone badly. Bautista’s race pace is not far off the top guys and we still haven’t used the soft tyre so I’m pretty satisfied. We are working towards the race and we have some ideas that should help Alvaro gain confidence with the bike. Pirro’s performance was a nice surprise, with just three tenths separating him from the best of the CRT bikes, which is incredible considering how new our bike is. Overall a positive start.”

Cal Crutchlow Monster Tech 3 Yamaha #35 6th 1m57.395
“That’s not a bad way to start 2012 at all and I’m pretty happy to be in the top six. At the start of the session I was way down and not really going as quick as I should, but once I got my head down and got into a good rhythm I was always around the top six and that is very positive. I didn’t change anything on the bike at all and I kept the same soft rear tyre on throughout, so I’m sure had we put in a new tyre at the end like some of the others did, I could have been a bit faster and possibly inside the top four. I’d like to get the bike turning better but I’m not going to complain starting the new season inside the top six. It is a good platform to build on for the rest of the weekend and now I’m really looking forward to the race on Su nday night.”

Andrea Dovizioso Monster Tech 3 Yamaha #4 8th 1m57.512
“I’m satisfied with the first session and the feeling with the bike was immediately good. Straightaway I had a better feeling at the beginning than I did at the last test inJerez, so we could work on improving the bike. I still need to understand how to use the maximum potential of the Yamaha. It has some very good points, which I like a lot, but I know in some parts I can be faster, particularly on the exit of the corner. We need to improve in that area but I know we have some good ideas for tomorrow and I am confident we will make the bike better. The gap to the front is quite big at the moment but tomorrow the conditions will be better and I am sure I will be much closer.”

Stefan Bradl LCR Honda #6 12th 1m58.934s
“Well.. it was not so good as I expected because we are a little bit too far away. But I am pretty sure we know we are in a difficult set up direction because I feel very hard to go into the corners. This layout is completely different compared toJerez where I loaded the front so I feel that our bike needs some more weight in the front. We made a little change during the session but it was not enough and we used just one set of tyres so we have plenty for the other days. The overall situation is ok but I am sure we can do better than this”.

Randy De Puniet Aspar Aprilia #14 13th 1m59.985
“We are the fastest CRT bike again, which is positive for me. We struggled quite a lot with the suspension but that is to be expected because this was the first session, the track was dirty and quite slippery. We tried a couple of things that didn’t work as we hoped, as well as working on the electronics and gearbox settings. It is day one and we have made a good start, if not as good as we hoped. We’ll get faster tomorrow though because we know what we need to do to improve the suspension.”

Aleix Espargaró Aspar Aprilia #41 16th 2m00.720
“We have started well and even though there wasn’t much grip the bike was predictable. We managed to gradually improve grip and then when we put a soft tyre in the rear we ended up with the same traction problems on the front that we had atJerez. The front was a little unstable under acceleration too so we have to work out why that happened. We thought we’d be struggling more than we are in terms of power and top speed here compared to the factory bikes although we are losing out a lot in acceleration. I think we can close the gap to the guys in front of us, we just have to keep working.”

Danilo Petrucci Ioda Racing #9 20th 2m01.352
“It was a very particular experience – Petrucci said – is very difficult to learn in hurry a new track and do it during the night is very strange! I am quite satisfied, we hadn’t any problem and the grip of the TR003 is good. I am just worried for my right arm because Ihave the same pain ofJerez and this gives to me many problems when I’m riding my bike”.

Mattia Pasini #54 Forward Racing 18th 2m01.261
“This was an important session, the real beginning of the season. I’m not completely satisfied, but generally speaking things didn’t go that bad: we completed as many laps as possible, counting on the information that we gathered in the tests. We put together some important data and tomorrow the real work begins, when we focus on the setting and on possible modifications.”

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“As is often the case at Qatar, track conditions for the first practice session were not ideal today with a lot of sand on the circuit, but the feedback we got from the riders that the 2012 specification tyres were handling the variable track conditions very well.

“Due to the changing track conditions and perhaps also the riders using their new 1000cc motorcycles atQatarfor the first time, there was no preferred front and rear tyre combination among the riders during the first session. Finding a race setup atQatarcan be difficult as the track temperatures during the race can be lower than during practice, so we consider this fact when choosing our tyre allocation and advising teams on what tyre combination might work best for them.”

 

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