With the 2015 MotoGP season finally underway, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo andValentino Rossi return to Qatar and finished the first free practice session under the floodlights of the Losail circuit in fourth and ninth place.
On a completely dry circuit, as opposed to the conditions last week on the final day of testing, both Lorenzo and Rossi made the most of their first practice session to be ready for Sunday‘s racing action.
Lorenzo, who currently holds the Qatar pole position record, showed he‘s in good shape and ready to start the title challenge. Back to his typical routine, he left his box early and was the first rider to complete a lap around the slippery circuit. After warming up his tyres, he was quick to post consistent times under the 1‘56 mark, dropping a 1‘55.698 lap as his fastest time. He ended the first practice in fourth position, just under 0,417s from the front.
Teammate Valentino Rossi was also eager to get to work. He left the pit box soon after his teammate to resume the testing schedule he was unable to complete during last week‘s interrupted Qatar testing session. Despite suffering from a lack of grip, he worked on the set-up of his YZR-M1 and gradually moved up the timesheets to a provisional fifth position with a 1‘56.162 lap. He later dropped four places, finishing 0,881s from the leading time as the session came to an end.
Rossi said: “It was quite difficult because I wasn‘t fast enough and I‘m just in the ninth position. We tried something different than what we did during the test, but unfortunately it was bad for the rear tyre. I already damaged the rear tyre after five or six laps and the bike moved around a lot. We also weren‘t fast enough during the second part of the practice, but we‘ll take the data and now we have to try to understand how to improve. Unfortunately there was just one practice today, so we have to work on the data and try to modify the setting. We will wait for tomorrow to see if we are able to go faster. I have a problem with the rear tyre, which is very soft. There‘s a lack of grip that we have to fix and I have to improve my pace. I want to try to stay under the 1‘55 tomorrow and finish in the top ten for Saturday‘s qualifying session.”
Lorenzo added: “Everybody has been quite fast on these new tyres, even if the track wasn‘t perfect. Moto2 almost broke a record, I think, but in MotoGP we need a little bit more grip. The track is dusty, so it looks like the bike is a bit flowy everywhere. It‘s difficult to have confidence but I think today our side has done a quite good job from the beginning. When I feel great on the bike, which wasn‘t on the last run, I feel great. To be honest, I hope to be much faster tomorrow. We are still a second from my best lap time from last year. We have a margin, but for a first practice, knowing the track is not perfect, this is not a bad start.”
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