MotoGP: Qatar Day 1: Rider Reactions

The 2013 MotoGP championship kicked off under floodlights in Qatar this evening, a session cleared out by a Yamaha 1-2-3, Lorenzo top followed by Crutchlow and Rossi. Marquez was fourth ahead of surprise of here.

Photo: Yamaha Racing

the session Dovizioso in 5th ahead of Bautista, Bradl and Pedrosa, the Spaniard struggling in the first session of 2013. A round up article can be found

Jorge Lorenzo, 1st with a time of 1’56.685 said: “It’s a very good way to start the season, on top. To have three Yamahas in the first three positions like in Jerez means this track can be positive for us. We need to improve though because the other guys will come in the next practice. We’ll make the step little by little by riding, improving the bike and also the track will improve. Today we tried both bikes and tomorrow we will try the new chassis here.”

Cal Crutchlow, 2nd, 1’56.743:“It was a very good first session on a personal level with me finishing second and also for Yamaha with a clean sweep of the top three. As is always the case on the first night in Qatar the track was quite dirty, particularly off the racing line. Even on the racing line it was quite slippery but I am happy to be right in the mix from the start. We need to make some changes to the bike for tomorrow because I felt we had too much weight transfer on braking and acceleration but I’ve got to be happy to finish in second and ending up in between Jorge and Valentino. Second place is great but I am not reading too much into it. As the track conditions improve some of the rest will get faster and it is still going to be very tough to be on the podium. I am looking forward to the race and being so competitive from the sta rt certainly gives my confidence another lift and helps me carry on the momentum gained in testing.”

Valentino Rossi, 3rd, 1’56.756“The first practice was very positive for us, we are in third position and we are very close to Jorge. Our pace was ok, especially because I used just one set of tyres to understand if I could be fast with a lot of laps. The setting and balance of the bike is good so it looks like we can be competitive.”

Marc Marquez, 4th, 1’57.276: “The truth is that I was a little nervous -above all at the start,- but that’s normal. I got over that immediately and set about the practice just like we did in Moto2 last season: Working hard with a focus on the race. I made steady improvement and felt good, which is important at the start but we must remember that this is just the beginning. The grip levels improve a lot during a GP weekend, and thus we will have to keep working on the setup”. 

Andrea Dovizioso, 5th, 1’57.538:  “I’m pleased with the lap time, especially because I did three laps

Photo: Ducati Corse

like that and I could have been even better if I hadn’t come across traffic. Anyway, the times aren’t really a reference in terms of pace, as the first session is always a bit strange here due to the sand. It’s definitely possible to improve. The riders ahead of me used soft tyres, and I was the only one to use the hard front. Tomorrow there are two important sessions in which we can work on our pace.”

Alvaro Bautista, 6th, 1’57.601Unfortunately I wasn’t in the best shape tonight because as the laps went by there was more and more pressure on the fingers I broke at Jerez. As usual here in Qatar the track conditions were not ideal on the first night and the first few laps in particular were a struggle but overall it hasn’t been a bad start for us. Hopefully the track improves tomorrow and the changes we have planned for the bike help us make that step forward in quality that will get us closer to the front and help us to improve on last year’s performance here.”

Stefan Bradl, 7th, 1’57.670: Actually the 7th position was not our target but I feel better than what is on the paper. When we changed the front setting it took me some time to adapt but at the end I found my rhythm. Our weak point is the braking area and we spotted the same issues of Jerez pre-season test so I missed some confidence in the braking areas right now. However I am quite sure that we can improve the package before tomorrow and this makes me really happy with this first day of practices. We do have the potential to improve our pace and our position on this track”.

Dani Pedrosa, 8th, 1’57.749: “Today wasn’t our best day. We weren’t able to ride well with the bike, because I had a little issue on corner entry. That’s why we didn’t get better lap times. We hope that things go better tomorrow and that we can get better one-off times again”

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