After three days of rigorous riding and testing in Qatar, the Ducati and Honda boys packed up and headed home. Yesterday, Makoto Tamada led the field with a time of 1:57.69; today he bettered that time by a full second. This is the second ...
After three days of rigorous riding and testing in Qatar, the Ducati and Honda boys packed up and headed home.
Yesterday, Makoto Tamada led the field with a time of 1:57.69; today he bettered that time by a full second. This is the second pre-season test he leads; needless to say he was "very happy for all we have done in these three days, since I have been the fastest rider during the second and the third day."
"My biggest satisfaction, apart from the lap times we have obtained, is the feeling I have found with the bike," Tamada continued. "We confirmed also, after the performances during the Sepang and Phillip Island tests, that the package we have at our disposal for the season 2005 is at a highest level compare to the one we had the past season. Therefore I'm very trustful and I hope to be able to always perform at the maximum level during the season which is about to begin."
Perhaps the surprise of the test was Marco Melandri. The former 250cc World Champion had struggled to come to grips with the "more user-friendly" Honda at previous tests, however, at Qatar he finished second fastest.
"This 3-day test session in Qatar was very positive for me, I'm happy of the method of work we have used here. I believe that, mentally, I have done an important step forward. I have learned from the Australian test session and I came here more relaxed and with clear idea's. Today we made some small modifications to the bike and worked a lot on tire testing. This afternoon I made a race -distance endurance with very positive results. I lapped consistently on low 1min 58secs even at the end of the race. For me it's very important to understand the bike and see how it changes on a race distance," concluded the Italian.
Melandri's compatriot, Loris Capirossi, finished the test third, just one hundredth of a second behind Melandri.
Sete Gibernau, who missed the first day of testing due to a high fever, was optimistic, considering his "physical conditions, I can be quite satisfied with the work done. We focused on tire testing and even if I was not 100% fit, I did the minimum work required for this test session. We are confirming the work done in Malaysia and Australia, there is still some things to improve and I hope that there will be some new things for Barcelona."
American Nicky Hayden was fifth fastest, only one hundredths of a second behind Gibernau (who was tied with Capirossi for third). "After three days here we're really starting to put it all together. I really enjoyed it here in Doha. There have been fewer riders around and we have really made some good progress. The conditions here have been good; less windy today. I'm back to Kentucky for a few days before coming back to Europe for the final tests before the season starts proper. I feel we're in good shape; the team is working real good, and the bike is working well," said the number 69.