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MotoGP | Reactions from the first day of testing

First day of Qatar tests was an interesting one as once again testing master Vinales topped the time sheets. We also saw a recovering Honda duo and a happy Ducati camp. Here is what the riders had to say.

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MotoGP | Reactions from the first day of testing
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First day of Qatar testing concluded with Vinales topping the timesheets giving Yamaha a relief, but day in general was a mix one for everyone here is what everyone had to say after there runs.

After topping the timesheets for the fourth time in total 8 days of testing so far, the testing master Maverick Vinales who completed 50 laps, and the lap of 1:55.051 coming on 48th lap seemed confident after the chequered flag and thinks there is still to gain even though he did series of ominous laps in 1:55s

I’m really pleased because I felt good on the bike and this is the fourth time that’s happened at four tracks – he comments, referring to Valencia, Jerez, Sepang and now Losail – This is the most important thing, because I can ride the M1 as I want now, in an aggressive way, and fully exploit it”.

But the Day 1 leader still thinks there is much to improve

On the other hand, the Spaniard is convinced he still has room for improvement.

“The base set-up I’m using is the same as what we used at last year’s Thai GP. The next two days will be important in terms of defining the bike. I know where to work, the electronics and engine brake are two important areas. As I’ve said, we’ve taken many small steps but need to understand if we can a bigger step”.

His teammate Valentino Rossi on the other hand again had a day okay day not far from top positions, thinks there is a still long road to the top step of the podium even it might take a year to get there. ‘The Doctor’ jokingly even said reason for his lack of pace might be due to his ‘bad back’

Talking about his 47 laps stint of the day ‘The Doctor’ reflected:

“Today has been fairly positive, we’ve worked well and I’ve been consistently fairly fast. I only had a problem with the second set of tyres, but when I put the soft tyre in, we were able to complete some good laps”.

But Rossi isn’t taking anything for granted yet because he believes Sepang and Losail are circuits where Yamaha is generally fast and in better shape. He wants to see how bike performs on other tracks to jump to any conclusion:

This is a track where it’s important to find grip and the bike is still moving too much. The work at Sepang focused on testing the new material, but here we’re instead concentrating on set-up, geometry and electronics, in order to prepare for the race”.

The Reigning Champion Marc Marquez, recovering from his shoulder surgery wasn’t satisfied with his pace and how he worked with the bike today, he thinks there is more to do and he considers there is a huge step forward from Malaysia

“It was difficult, especially at the beginning, but now at the end the grip was coming better and better,” explained the number 93, discussing the track conditions in Qatar. “Honestly speaking we had some issues on the setup and we need to work there. We need to understand because the Ducati and Yamaha riders are far from us but it is true that at this circuit we struggle. It’s true that we have two days more and we need to work in a different way to be closer to them.’’

Meanwhile his new compatriot Lorenzo who’s still struggling and recovering from wrist injury had bad day at office finished the session right at the back at P21 and 2s off the pace. It was first time, that on track we saw Lorenzo in proper Repsol Honda colors, Here is what 5 times world champion had to say about his wrist:

The wrist is OK, obviously I’m struggling under braking. Time is the big limit, we only have three hours each day because after 21h the temperature drops a lot. We didn’t try many changes and focused mostly on the ergonomics. Tomorrow we will be closer, it’s still the 1st day.”

On the other hand, Mission Winnow Ducati riders like previous testing were more than happy talking to the reporter Dovizioso who finished the day 0.499 behind Vinales at P3 was more than happy and said:

“Good, really good,” begins the Italian when asked about the first day. “There wasn’t the rubber down but it was clean, so the laptime was quite good, and we were able to test what we wanted today. Nothing special, small things, but we did our program. The speed is there, so it’s not a really important day – also because when we look at the laptimes, it’s not so interesting. But I feel good.”

The Ducati garage has positive vibes and they are getting confident with every session but Italian feels they shouldn’t get over confident and take one step at a time:

It’s too early to tell,” begins last year’s winner, as you could expect, before explaining it’s hard to analyse the competition during testing because everyone is fast and the way they work on a race weekend is very different. “I don’t know, but I’m relaxed about it. It’s not too important to think about that,” he adds with a shrug. “We’re focused on our job and being ready for the weekend.”

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