In chilly Qatar night
After the rain upset the first night of testing yesterday, Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were finally able to make a proper start on their testing programme in Qatar tonight.
Running under floodlights in preparation for
the season-opener in a month's time, the pair were able to put in a good night's work despite a late-evening break when the track was red-flagged after two riders crashed.
With cool temperatures and a dirty track surface after high winds earlier, lap times were well off record pace but Rossi was able to put in some consistent times and finished the night second behind Casey Stoner.
“Today was good because first of all we were able to test! I am quite happy because I was fast from the start and the bike is a lot better than this time last year. The setting is completely different after a year with Bridgestone and we seem to be in good shape. The lap times are quite slow compared to the race because it is cold and also the track conditions aren't perfect, but hopefully in a month's time it will be quite a bit warmer”, commented the Italian. “We worked well today, testing some things for the engine and some electronics, and everything is helping us to improve our setting and to be faster. Now I hope that we have good weather between now and tomorrow night and no more wind so that the track is cleaner tomorrow and we can improve the times a bit more.”
Lorenzo is still looking to find his confidence in the new Bridgestone tyres but he improved gradually throughout the evening to finish in seventh position.
“Today's practice was quite hard, harder than I expected in fact! It was windy and the surface of the track was quite dusty and quite cold, so this has made our job of building confidence with the new Bridgestone tyres harder”, said the Spaniard. “To start with I was finding it quite hard to go fast in these conditions, and especially to brake later. I am still braking too early at the moment, which makes it difficult to be fast. We tried some new electronic systems tonight in order to reduce the wheelie, and this seems to be positive.
Later on this evening we tried a new setting and I was able to improve my pace in the cold conditions. Hopefully we can continue to improve from the start tomorrow.”