Yamaha lead the way as MotoGP begins in Qatar

First practice for the MotoGP season opener on the Losail Circuit marked Rossi's official return to Yamaha

The opening round of the 2013 MotoGP Championship began this evening at the Losail Circuit in Qatar. The first free practice wound up with Yamaha leading the class and dominating the top of the time sheets. Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo was quick to find a set up on his YZR-M1 and spent the session challenging within the top few positions. As the track conditions improved in the last ten minutes so did the times, the Mallorcan taking the top spot in the last two minutes and increasing speed again to finish with an impressive 1’56.685.

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Teammate Valentino Rossi’s first race weekend back on the YZR-M1 began in style this evening, the Italian nine-time MotoGP Champion took almost immediate possession of the number one spot on the timesheets and was only rarely troubled there throughout the session. Only teammate Lorenzo and fellow Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow were able to contend for the fastest time, with all three ending the session within one tenth of a second from each other.

Jorge Lorenzo - 1st, Time - 1'56.685 “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.”

Valentino Rossi - 3rd, Time - 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.”

Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager “Our position is good, especially as the track is quite tricky and dirty, off line it’s quite slippery, but that’s normal here. To be on top and see the competitors struggling a little is good. It’s not what we want to be just yet but we have to be satisfied in first position.”

Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director “It’s a good beginning and the bike is working very well. This circuit is really suits the YZR-M1. To see both riders consistently leading the practices means something positive. Well check the data now and make some small adjustments and see where we can go. The start has been good!”

Yamaha Factory Team

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About this article
Series MOTOGP
Article type Practice report
Tags lorenzo, meregalli, motogp, qatar, rossi, yamaha, zeelenberg