MotoGP Qatar Test: If we were basing our expectations on the test, Suzuki is heading for a good run this season. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s preseason testing is is rather well as Alex Rins and Joan Mir end Day 1 at the Qatar Test at the summit. Rins left it late to set a 1:54.462 to pip Mir by 0.002, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completing a top three split by 0.032.
Arguably the biggest talking point on Day 1 was Ducati’s ride height adjuster that was predominantly seen on Jack Miller’s Pramac Racing GP20. Ducati Team Manager Davide Tardozzi admitted they have something new on their bike that they are trying.
Otherwise at Ducati, the main goal was to work on Michelin’s new tyre, something that both Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and teammate Danilo Petrucci struggled with at the Sepang Test. Right at the end of the opening day, Petrucci leapfrogged to P4 to sit just 0.172 off top spot.
Pramac Racing’s Francesco Bagnaia was P9 after getting another 56 laps under his belt on the GP20, with Dovizioso, Johann Zarco (Reale Avinita Racing) – another solid outing for the Frenchman – and Miller all within a second of the Suzukis. Both Dovizioso and Miller crashed unscathed, with the Italian sounding positive after Day 1, saying the feeling is better than in Malaysia.
The Qatar Test for most teams is about fine-tuning what they learnt in the Valencia, Jerez and Sepang Tests and it seems Yamaha are one of those teams who aren’t trying many new things at the Losail International Circuit.
Their 2020 engine seems to be set in stone and the factory riders of Viñales and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) have the holeshot devices fitted, with the quartet of Yamaha riders confirming parts and electronics work on a different circuit.
Sepang Test pacesetter Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) continued getting to grips with the 2020 YZR-M1, he finished P8 with a best time of 1:55.204, with teammate Franco Morbidelli – who is on the YZR-M1 2020 A-spec – finishing P5. The Yamahas are looking strong as all four finished inside the top eight, with Rossi slotting into P7.
Team Suzuki Ecstar Team Manager Davide Brivio confirmed that both Rins and Mir don’t have anything new to test in Qatar. After a successful Sepang Test – and a 1-2 on Day 1 in Qatar – their engine choice is also clear as they switch their main focus to back-to-back chassis testing – the new one tested in Sepang that was well-received, compared to the older version with a carbon cover. In addition, Rins has said a Suzuki holeshot will arrive in time for the Qatar GP, if not here, while Mir continues to work on his position on the GSX-RR. Can they keep setting the pace on Day 2?
Over in the Honda camp, fresh of the back of a new four-year HRC deal, Marc Marquez got a valuable 42 laps under his belt as he continued to recover from shoulder surgery, finishing P6 on the timesheets with a best of 1:54.823. Teammate Alex Marquez didn’t have the smoothest day as the reigning Moto2 World Champion crashed – thankfully unhurt – twice at Turn 7 and Turn 10, but another 57 laps for the rookie was important after impressing at Sepang. We also saw the number 73 on track with a new front fairing.
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