Of course this season there is plenty of British interest in MotoGP and over the past few days all have had contrasting days out in Qatar underneath the floodlights. Scott Redding ended the final test of the pre season period highest of all the British riders, coming second only to the reigning MotoGP World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo.
Redding on his Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati, ended the test with a blistering lap which was half a second slower than that of Lorenzo and Redding is looking forward to battling for what he says could be a top six finish in the season opener in two weeks time.
“I am really very happy. I wanted to push hard to see my potential. At the beginning we struggled a bit with the new tyres but things improved after day. Today I was strong with the new tyre but I set my best time on lap ten with a tyre that had 15 laps already.”
Redding continued: “Qatar GP? When I say that my goal is the Top 6 some start to laugh. I’m proving to be able to stay at that level and I will try to do even better.”
Eugene Laverty was one of the happiest of the riders in the paddock when he finished the test ‘with a smile’ after somewhat sarcastically saying that it was because he’d not thrown his bike down the road! The Irish Aspar MotoGP rider improved his times over the three days at the test finishing 20th overall at the Losail International Circuit and it was a huge boost in confidence for the rider who was banged up after a big off in the previous test in Malaysia a few weeks ago.
He said: “We have to be positive because this is the first test we have completed without a major accident! I have got my confidence back and that’s the most important thing going into the new season. I have built up my feeling with the bike at this test, I still had a strange feeling with the front but we did make some big progress in that area towards the end of the session today.”
Pre season testing however has been frustrating for last season’s highest finishing Brit, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider, Bradley Smith. The 25 year old said he was finding it tough to come to terms with the new Michelin tyres which have been introduced for the upcoming season and he isn’t quite where he’d like to be but is happy the new season is just around the corner.
“Some parts of the pre season have also been frustrating for me because of the time the weather took from us in Australia, and also the tyre situation a bit here in Qatar and as a result, we weren’t able to extract the maximum from the available testing time. Nevertheless, we are within touching distance of our target, which I think will be inside the top 8 this year.” Smith said.
For me, I like to be put under pressure and I feel I perform better in that way, so roll on the start of the season and FP1 in a few weeks’ time.”
Cal Crutchlow had a painful end to the test in Qatar, crashing on used tyres and feeling the full force of his LCR Honda, but despite his spill, the Brit finished the test in a competitive seventh spot and is looking forward to the red light going out for race one of 2016.
He said:“The bike actually flipped over and landed on top of me, so I had to have some scans and check-ups afterwards. I’m in a little bit of pain, but actually overall I’m happier today than the other days, that’s for sure. Now we’ll go away for a week’s training, before we come back here for the first race in two weeks’ time. I’m really looking forward to getting going.”