Aleix Espargaro finishes on top in final MotoGP™ pre-season test of 2014
Monday, March 10 2014
Losail International Circuit, Qatar
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 23-27°C; Track 24-43°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Aleix Espargaro was the quickest rider at the final MotoGP™ pre-season test of 2014, the Spaniard setting a time of 1’54.874 aboard his open-class machine NGM Mobile Forward Racing Yamaha on the final day of action at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit.
Aleix narrowly beat his brother to the top of the timesheets in Qatar, after Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro ended the test just 0.033 seconds off the pace and second overall. Bradley Smith ensured it was a successful test for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team, the Briton third quickest with a personal best time of 1’55.027. Seventeen riders took part in the Qatar pre-season test, with the Ducati, Repsol Honda and Yamaha Factory Racing teams not taking part after participating in the Phillip Island tyre test earlier in the week.
Conditions for the test were typical for Losail, with warm and dry days giving way to cool and at times, humid conditions at night. In order to maximise the amount of setup time for the teams, the track was open each day from 1600-2300 to coincide with the session times for the season opener at the same venue in a fortnight’s time. Track temperatures varied from 24-43°C during the three-day test with higher humidity levels late in the evening causing variable grip levels. Given the desert setting of the circuit, track conditions were dusty although this did improve towards the end of the three days.
With pre-season testing now over for another year, Bridgestone will be back at the Losail International Circuit for the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP™ season from March 20.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The final pre-season test at Qatar was very productive, both Bridgestone and the teams were able to collect a lot of data which will serve us well for the opening race of the season in a couple of weeks’ time. Conditions for the test were typical for this circuit, with on-track dust and the increased humidity experienced after 9pm causing low grip levels at times, which was quite a challenge for the riders. It was encouraging to see how quick the pace was during this test, both over a single lap and during the race simulations and as this track offers comparatively little grip compared to other venues on the calendar. The best lap time from this test was 0.6 second faster than the best race time from 2013, and many riders also had good results in their race simulations as well, so overall I am pleased that our 2014 spec tyres worked well here. There were no works rider participating in this test but it was important that our tyre allocation offered consistent and predictable performance. I would like to thank all the teams and riders for their efforts over the two months of pre-season testing; I feel we are very well prepared for the first race of the season.”