MotoGP makes history in the desert Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo joined the rest of the MotoGP grid in somewhat unusual conditions today, as the World Championship's first ever night-test got underway in Qatar. The test is the final one...
MotoGP makes history in the desert
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo joined the rest of the MotoGP grid in somewhat unusual conditions today, as the World Championship's first ever night-test got underway in Qatar. The test is the final one of the pre-season before the first race is run by night at the same track on 9th March.
Lorenzo lost no time in getting to grips with his new circumstances, and with 5.4 million watts lighting the track he, like most other riders, found the conditions different but no more difficult than by day. He concentrated on developing his set-up, testing Michelin tyres and just getting used to riding the M1 around a track at which his last experience was riding a 250cc machine to victory in much warmer temperatures. Lorenzo finished the day in an impressive second position after 77 laps, whilst his team-mate Valentino Rossi was ninth.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 2nd Time: 1'56.019 Laps: 77
"On this first night of testing in Qatar I was more curious to see how it was riding at night than anything else! I am happy with this idea and honestly speaking I felt I immediately got used to the conditions. Of course at the beginning it feels a bit strange but after few laps things become quite normal and your eyes get used to the new light. The strangest feeling I had was that I felt...lonely! Riding in the night, although the light is very strong, makes you feel alone with your bike, so you must keep the concentration very high because of course you are not alone! The right lines do not change because of the light, only when braking do you see your shadow getting closer, and that's why you always must be alert, in order not to get confused with the shadow of another rider! As far as our performance is concerned, my time was very good today but I think with some more work we can be faster still. Tomorrow, when I am more used to the new light, the track and to the cold temperatures, we will try to do even better."
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"It was a positive day for us. Obviously it was a very different test for the team and for all the technicians, a little bit more difficult than usual but I have to say that we did not have any major problems. The rider did not feel any particular difference than riding by day; of course he took some laps to get used to the light, but after that he started riding like it was by day. We started with the basic set-up of Jerez, with just a little change to adjust it to this track. We worked on the riding position, which we slightly changed, then we worked on the electronics, mainly on the power delivery. We also focused on the tyres today and I think we did a good job. We collected new information in these conditions, which are very different from the previous races here. Tomorrow we will be working in the same direction and hopefully we will be faster."
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi, who won the race here two years ago, was unfazed by the unusual conditions however and it was soon business as usual for the Italian, who finished the night's work in ninth place.
One of the main aims of the first night's testing for Rossi was to work with Bridgestone to find the best tyres to suit the conditions, which are of course considerably cooler than during the daytime tests and races of the past four years. He also worked on general set-up as the team try to maximise the final hours of pre-season track time as the clock ticks down towards the first race. Rossi completed 82 laps overall and posted a best lap of 1'56.749, whilst team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was second fastest with a lap of 1'56.019.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 9th Time: 1'56.749 Laps: 82
"There was a lot of curiosity about this night test and I have to say that I am quite satisfied. I think they have made a great job with the lights and you can ride quite normally, as if it's day. The visibility is quite good so there is no danger for us; it's really no more difficult than riding in the day. Maybe it would be better to move this night race to a period when the temperature is a little bit higher however, because at the moment it's very cold here! Today we have worked a lot on the bike set-up, but we were not so fast and we are still missing some grip in acceleration. We tested several different tyres and settings, but I am still sliding a bit when I open the throttle and the front is going a bit wide. We know that this track doesn't have the best grip, but other riders are going faster, so we must do better. We have a couple of ideas for tomorrow and I am sure we will be able to improve."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"As far as the light is concerned, after one hour testing things seemed to be normal. We got used to the new conditions very quickly and everything worked well. The lights are not a problem, but the temperature is! Maybe it would be better to ride in Qatar when the temperature by night is a little bit higher. The track temperature is equal to the air temperature - low! At the time of the race it was only 15, so it is a limiting situation concerning tyre performance. As far as the bike is concerned, we still have some work to do to increase our performance here and we especially need to improve the setting in order to make the tyres work better in the low temperatures. Tomorrow we will be testing new settings and materials from Bridgestone and we will try to be faster than we were today."