In promising style
The Fiat Yamaha Team finished the Qatar night test in good spirits this evening, with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi second and third respectively in the standings.
Lorenzo made a huge improvement as he continued to adapt to the new Bridgestone
tyres and his new-found confidence led to a promising long run, in which he set a string of consistent laps. His best time of 1'56.733 left him second behind Casey Stoner and last year's leading rookie is now confident of being on the pace at the first race in one months time.
“I am so happy tonight because this session has been much, much better for us. The long run was especially good but in fact the whole evening has been an improvement, so I am very pleased about the job we have done”, he explained. “We've tried some different settings, which have helped, but mainly I have adapted and found a way to be comfortable, which means I can ride faster. I have a much better feeling with the Bridgestone tyres and I was able to be very consistent throughout the long run and keep a good rhythm. Everyone has worked really hard to make this step and I am happy to finish this test on a good note. Now I am looking forward to the race!”
After a strong showing yesterday, Rossi ran into a few problems later on this evening when the cold meant the grip level of the track went down significantly. He is confident however that in the warmer temperatures expected at the race in a months time he will be in better shape. He posted the third best time tonight, with a fastest lap of 1'56.972.
“In the early part of the evening we were fast enough but later on, when it became much colder and the grip went down, we suffered quite a bit. I started a long run but in fact I was getting slower and slower, so we didn't finish and concentrated on trying some different things with the setting instead”, he said. “Our position is not so bad; we're third, close to Lorenzo. Stoner is very fast but I am not too worried because we have a good idea about our path for the race and I think that in one month, when it is hopefully a few degrees warmer, we will be okay. This is not a great track for me or for the bike and the target for the race will be to be to be better than last year! Next we go to Jerez for the final test and I am expecting to be strong there.”
The team now returns to Europe for the final test of the year, the Official MotoGP Test in Jerez, Spain on 28th and 29th March.