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Mar 9, 2014

Aleix Espargaro Fastest Overall, Pol Espargaro 2nd But Breaks Collarbone As MotoGP Testing Concludes In Qatar

Aleix Espargaro (41).

FIM MotoGP World Championship Test

Losail International Circuit, Doha, Qatar

March 9, 2014

Overall Best Test Times (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Forward-Yamaha), 1:54.874, Open

2. Pol Espargaro, Spain (Yamaha YZR-M1), 1:54.907, Factory

3. Bradley Smith, UK (Yamaha YZR-M1), 1:55.027, Factory

4. Stefan Bradl, Germany (Honda RC213V), 1:55.187, Factory

5. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Honda RC213V), 1:55.194, Factory

6. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Ducati GP14), 1:55.518, Open

7. Colin Edwards, USA (Forward-Yamaha), 1:55.978, Open

8. Yonny Hernandez, Colombia (Ducati GP14), 1:56.056, Open

9. Nicky Hayden, USA (Honda RCV1000R), 1:56.273, Open

10. Hiroshi Aoyama, Japan (Honda RCV1000R), 1:57.006, Open

11. Scott Redding, UK (Honda RCV1000R), 1:57.009, Open

12. Hector Barbera, Spain (Avintia-Kawasaki), 1:57.142, Open

13. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Honda RCV1000R), 1:57.342, Open

14. Mike Di Meglio, France (Avinita-Kawasaki), 1:57.669, Open

15. Broc Parkes, Australia (PBM-Aprilia), 1:57.730, Open

16. Michael Laverty, UK (PBM-Aprilia), 1:57.860, Open

17. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ioda/ART-Aprilia), 1:59.305, Open

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

Andrea Iannone - Pramac Racing - has worked intensely having to work both on development on the still fresh GP14 and on tire life. Andrea faced many race simulations day by day his pace improved. His best lap time was in 1'55''518. During the evenings tests "The Manic Joe" completed 173 laps for a total of 930 Km proving to be fit and ready to face the new season.

Even Yonny Hernandez - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing - took on the three days with a series of "long -runs" on his GP13 Open . Day by day the Colombian rider's team worked on the bikes geometry and the new Dorna / Mangneti Marelli electronics to get more tire life. From the first day of pre-season testing Yonny's team has managed to improve constantly making hope well for the 2014 world championship. His best lap time was 1'56''056 and he completed a total of 146 laps over the three days!

Andrea Iannone - Pramac Racing

"Today was another good day , we managed to improve our lap time even if in this test it was not our goal. We focused on understanding how to be consistent in the race. We were able to figure out some little important things to improve our pace. The guys have more material so they can work at home already before the first round. I'm satisfied we have done a lot of work that has brought us the results. I thank all the guys who have worked hard for these three days. I also thank Ducati for being here for me and iI thank all of those who work from home. "

Yonny Hernandez - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing

"I am happy to have finished the winter tests in a positive way, I was able to improve little by little every day. I'm happy with the team, that has worked well with me. I now have a good feeling with the bike, we were able to do a good job for the tire life. I can't wait to get to the real thing and do the race! I thank all the team and the chief mechanic for the job well done. "

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Doha, 9 March: the three day of pre-season test held at the floodlit 5.380 km Losail circuit in Qatar came to a close at 23:00 local time tonight with Aleix Espargaro recording the best lap time of the whole session (1’54.874). The 17 MotoGP riders continued their busy schedules to try and ensure their prototypes are prepared in time for the first race at the circuit in just over two weeks. LCR Honda MotoGP racer Stefan Bradl had to deal with two crashes but the race simulation confirmed his good pace on used tyres. He ended the last pre season test with the 4th fastest lap time (1’55.187) still looking for some added grip to drop a further few tenths on new rubber.

Stefan: “Today was very tough for me and the Team. Unfortunately I crashed twice (once during the race simulation) but overall we are not far from the top so I can leave Qatar with a good base for the first race. On used tyres we are strong and consistent but the issue with the new rear tyre is still there. We could not solve the problem completely but this seems to be a common problem for Honda riders. When we arrived here our target was not the fastest lap but the adjustment of the bike and I think we did a good job so far”.

More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

Aleix Espargaro on top as 2014 preseason concludes

Aleix Espargaro closed the final pre-season test at Losail Circuit on top, recording his best time of 1’54.874, less than 2 tenths from Jorge Lorenzo’s pole position from last year (1’54.714).

The Spaniard of the NGM Forward Racing Team continued the work started in Sepang, focusing on the set up of his bike in preparation of the race that will take place on this circuit in two weeks time. Aleix was able to ride fast and also looked strong in the race simulation (22 laps) which he carried out on this final day.

It was a positive day also for Colin Edwards who improved his lap times, chipping a few tenths off his previous day’s best time. In total he completed 31 laps and finished 7th in the combined classification of the three days with his best time of 1’55.978.

The NGM Forward Racing Team looks confident to the opening round of the 2014 season that will take place at Losail circuit on the 23rd of March.

Colin Edwards

“I’m quiet satisfied with these three days of testing. I could improve my lap times and also my feeling with the bike. Today we worked on the electronics with a positive feedback. There is still room for improvement but we have done a step forward. I’m comfortable with the bike and I look forward to the start of the season.”

Aleix Espargaro

“I’m really happy with the work done today. I was fast on the single lap but I was also able to ride with a strong pace. I’m very satisfied because in the race simulation I could ride with the same lap times Lorenzo did last year in the race, so I’m confident and I look forward to the first race.”

More, from a press release issued by Cardion AB Motoracing:

Optimistic test in Qatar: Abraham got faster and closer to “open” Honda’s riders

Karel Abraham finishes last pre-season test on thirteenth position with loss of 2,468 seconds to the fastest Aleix Espargaro. The Czech rider is still struggling of shoulder injury, but he managed to move up in field of Open class compared to previous testing session in Malaysia. Abraham loses approximately one second to Nicky Hayden, the fastest rider on the same Honda RCV1000R bike.

Karel Abraham

„We had to catch up all what we could not try in Malaysia, so they were really busy three days. For me personally it was much more relaxed test than in Sepang. At first because in Qatar there´s more comfortable weather. And at second, because shoulder seems better and it didn´t limited me at least on Friday and Saturday. Compared to the previous test we observe a big step; we got at the level of Aoyama and Redding riding on the same bike as me. Just Nicky Hayden got away from us. Unfortunately last day of the test I started to feel again the shoulder. That’s pity, because we started to improve our times and I managed to ride under 1:58,5. On the other hand it is good that we ended a little moment earlier because the temperature fall and the wind started to blow and many riders crashed out in the end of session.“

Marco Grana, chief mechanic Cardion AB Motoracing

„I think that result of this test is quite success for us. Positive thing is that Karel’s problems with shoulder diminish day by day so he could work fully during all three days for the first time of this season. We don’t have any significant problem with the bike, Karel is getting use to it and he is finding differences comparing to the ART. The important thing is that we got closer to the other riders riding on Hondas. We have just minimal loss to Redding and Aoyama, Nicky got further but I believe that if Karel will be hundred percent healthy, it is not unreal to ride times as him. We finish the tests in optimistic mood and I think we can look forward to the first race in the season. If the health condition of Karel gets better even more, we can fight for a good result.“

More, from a press release issued by Drive M7 Aspar Team:


DRIVE M7 Aspar Team complete winter testing inside the top 10 and improve lap times for third consecutive day

Nine intense days of pre-season testing concluded today at the Losail International circuit in Qatar and ready or not the MotoGP riders and teams will be back to kick off the 2014 season here in two weeks' time. The final night of three here in Doha presented the best track conditions of the whole test and the top two riders (the Espargaró brothers) lapped inside the circuit record (1.55.153 – Casey Stoner). Despite the good conditions the eagerness of some riders to end the session with a fast time led to a host of crashes, with Pol Espargaró suffering a broken collarbone.

The DRIVE M7 Aspar Team followed a similar program to the previous two days here, getting work underway at 6pm and continuing without rest until 11. Nicky Hayden completed 44 laps during that time whilst his teammate Hiroshi Aoyama managed 56. For the third consecutive evening the American finished in ninth position, clocking his best time over the three days on lap 37, a 1.56.273 representing an improvement of six tenths on yesterday. One position below him on the timesheets, Hiroshi Aoyama also set his best lap late this evening.

9th Nicky Hayden 1.56.273 (44 laps): “Today we found some more improvements and I was able to set more laps in the 1'56s. We have worked more with the tyres and made some setting changes thinking ahead to the race and also qualifying. We tried changing bikes in pitlane and I also did some practice starts. In the end I set my fastest time of the test, which is positive even though the gap to the top is still very big, especially when you consider that the top riders are not here. We have worked hard and found some good things but we still need to take a big step forward in terms of the power. It's not right that we should be losing half a second on the straights. We know what HRC is capable of so I am confident that we will soon have some more improvements. As far as we're concerned we will continue working to get all of the potential out of this motorcycle."

10th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.57.006 (56 laps): This brings to an end nine days of testing between Qatar and Malaysia. Little by little we have improved during this period and I have also tried to adapt to the team and to my new bike. This weekend's test has been very important because in two weeks we have the first race of the season here. Tonight we have tried to improve the setting for the race and we have also been able to improve the feeling in corner exit, which has been a problem here for the last couple of days. We have a lot of information and a plan now in place for the race. In general am happy with the way we are moving, we just need to get the bike turning a little bit better so that I feel more confidence in the corners. Stability is good but we must continue to improve."

More, from a press release issued by Scott Redding's publicist:

Scott ends preseason testing with first MotoGP race simulation

Scott Redding ended the final preseason test of 2014 in Qatar with his first race simulation aboard the Honda RCV1000R he’ll campaign in Team Go & Fun Honda Gresini colours this season.

The 21-year-old Briton completed 20 consecutive laps of the 5.4km Losail International Circuit that, in just two weeks time, will play host to the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.

Scott’s lap times were consistent over the first part of his 20-lap run, increasing only slightly as tyre performance dropped off towards the end of his race simulation.

The MotoGP rookie improved his lap time once again on the final day, posting a time of 1’57.009 to end the three-day test 11th on the timesheet.

Scott Redding // 1’57.009 // 50 Laps

“Today we didn’t make any changes to the bike, focussing instead on our race simulation. It was good to get my first long run on the MotoGP bike done and I’m pretty satisfied with the performance. I was able to maintain a consistent pace and my lap times weren’t bad at all compared to the times of Nicky Hayden, who remains our reference. Tyre performance dropped off towards the end of the race simulation, which we need to work to improve, but I remain confident ahead of the first race.”

More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Tech3’s Espargaro and Smith wrap up pre-season in top 3 at Qatar

Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith concluded their pre-season testing today at the final session in Qatar. Both riders optimised the track time to finish the test, feeling optimistic ahead of the opening MotoGP race on the 23rd March.

Reigning Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro finished his pre-season impressively having completed the session in 2nd place. The young Spanish rider confidently set about completing quick laps, running a race simulation and continuing his learning process by trying different setup modifications of his Yamaha YZR-M1. However, the premier class rookie made a very small error whilst changing gears going into turn 6 at the end of the session, and ran on at the corner, before falling in the gravel. Even though it was a small crash, he broke his left collarbone and will now fly back home tomorrow for examination and possible surgery. Despite this, the Spaniard’s hard work over the testing period with his new Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team, was evident as his final time was less than two tenths of a second off Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo’s pole position qualifying time set last year. Espargaro completed this week’s test session with a best time of 1:54.907, after completing 45 laps.

Young British rider Bradley Smith completed a successful pre-season today at the Losail circuit having worked relentlessly in preparation for the first race. Smith explored different options on his Monster Yamaha Tech3, Yamaha YZR-M1 across the testing period, and leaves the track feeling confident and with his intentions firmly set for 2014. He continued today with finalising some small changes to the geometry of his MotoGP bike as well as running race simulations. Despite having a small fall at the beginning of his long run in the latter stages of the session, the young British rider was uninjured and completed 55 laps in total. Smith finished in 3rd place, with a best time of 1:55.027.

The opening race of the MotoGP 2014 season begins under the floodlights on the 23rd March at the Losail Circuit, Qatar.

Pol Espargaro – 1:54.907 – 2nd:

“We can be happy with the job we did today as we made some very good steps forward. At the early stages of the session we found a better setting which allowed me to improve my time with the new tyres, and I could lower me lap time quite a lot. Also, the rhythm I had during the race simulation was much better than yesterday. Of course, the crash at the end of the session was a bit unlucky. I made a mistake whilst changing down the gears going into the corner, which meant I had to go straight ahead and then crashed in the gravel. I am still very confident and positive about the test and I will be back here in two weeks ready to race“.

Bradley Smith – 1:55.027 – 3rd:

“Overall, I am really pleased with how the winter went for us. Today at Qatar, we decided to do a race simulation at 10:00pm which we thought was the best time to compare to the race weekend. We made some alterations midway through and I was able to go out again with the same tyres in the final fifteen minutes. I am feeling happy with what was achieved here and this means that we are definitely hitting the ground running. The next step is just some slight fine tuning. The desert is always a bit unpredictable but we are prepared. We have done a lot of very good laps, and I am really excited for round one”.

Herve Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Owner:

“This test has once again proved that we are at the start of a very exciting Championship with many riders fighting for the top positions, and I’m glad to say that we are among them. Pol and Bradley both did a very good job during the pre-season, with each of them having different aims. Pol needed to adapt as quickly as possible to the bike, and he still has a long way to go, but I’m sure he will give us great pleasure doing the season and surprise us at some races. Of course he has been unlucky to crash in such an unfortunate way and hurt himself, but with the determination he has shown so far there is no doubt that he will be back here for the race and ready to give his all. Bradley on the other hand, used the various test sessions to improve different aspects of the bike which he was struggling with during the last season. When we look at his race pace at the moment, we are confident in saying that he did a great job. So, I’m really pleased and satisfied with the work of the whole team and we are all looking forward to the moment when the starting lights turn green on this track, in two weeks”.