MotoGP 2018 Tests
The 2018 MotoGP season has started! Four MotoGP tests have taken place.
The first test came soon after the final MotoGP race of 2017, at Valencia, Spain. Then at Sepang, Malaysia, the second MotoGP Test 2018 January 28th to 30th. Next at the new MotoGP circuit for 2018, Buriram, in Thailand, from February 16th to 18th. And finally at the Losail International Circuit, Qatar. From 1st to 3rd March.
Final testing times.
In the first test at the Valencia circuit in Spain, after the final MotoGP race, it was no surprise that the Repsol Honda Team came out on top with Marc Márquez and race winner, Dani Pedrosa first and second.
At the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, the second MotoGP Test was underway in January, with Factory Ducati Team racer Jorge Lorenzo taking the fastest time. Dani Pedrosa on his Factory Repsol Honda and Britain’s Cal Crutchlow on his LCR Honda Castrol taking third ahead of Andrea Dovizioso Factory Ducati Team.
In Thailand at the new MotoGP circuit for 2018, Buriram, in February it was Dani Pedrosa, Repsol, Honda Team, fastest ahead of Frenchman Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, Britain’s Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda Castrol and Spaniard Marc Márquez, Factory Repsol Honda Team.
The final test was at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, taking place from 1st March. It was the Yamahas taking the best times with Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, beating all the factory teams. Valentino Rossi, Factory Movistar Yamaha MotoGP in second, Andrea Dovizioso, Factory Ducati Team, consistent Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda Castrol, in fourth, Maverick Viñales, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP fifth and Marc Márquez, Factory Repsol Honda Team in sixth.
Valentino Rossi said he felt in good shape, but the tests had revealed that each circuit the bike has been different to ride.
Valentino says he is still 'suffering' with tyre life following Qatar test.
Vale admits he is "still suffering" for endurance on both the front and rear tyres following the final MotoGP pre-season test of 2018 in Qatar.
Vale said he felt better on his YZR-M1 at the end of Thursday's running than he did during the Thailand test, but later admitted Yamaha hadn't made any steps forward in terms of performance to where it was at the end of the 2017 campaign.
A late time attack for Vale on Saturday put him second on the combined standings with a 1:54.276s and felt his pace was good, but he revealed he was only able to do half race distance before encountering a drop in grip.
"Yamaha must continue to work hard to sort this out, especially with the electronics, this is where we are behind the others. We need a bike that is predictable at all the circuits. These tests have shown the bike can be very competitive at some and not so good at others. For me to stand any chance this year we must start each race in a good way, not be so far behind, spending too much time getting the bike right. So I can attack on the first day and get good feeling and times. This is how I need to start so I can fight for the win in the race, not so far behind that I struggle for qualify. We have done a lot in these test but there is more to be done so we are ready for the first race in Qatar."
"I'm quite happy after this test, especially this afternoon, because I think we work hard in the three days, also in the first part of today.
"This afternoon we put all together and I was able to do a very good lap in the second position, but also a good rhythm with a good pace. "But, you know, we are very, very close, there are a lot of riders that are very strong.
"We continue to suffer with the electronics and the tyres front and rear, and I did just half race distance. From that point to the end, we have to understand what happens. So we will see in two weeks.
"We need a bike that is predictable at all the circuits. These tests have shown the bike can be very competitive at some and not so good at others.
"For me to stand any chance this year we must start each race in a good way, not be so far behind, spending too much time getting the bike right. So I can attack on the first day and get good feeling and times. This is how I need to start so I can fight for the win in the race, not so far behind that I struggle for qualify. We have done a lot in these test but there is more to be done so we are ready for the first race in Qatar."
Factory Yamaha teammate Maverick Viñales also struggled for much of the test, though made a breakthrough in the final hour of Saturday and moved up to fifth on the timesheets.
During his race simulation, he was also able to run at a more consistent pace but admits he still can't "push like last year" when he topped the test at Qatar and went on to win the race.
"Well, in the last 40 minutes I think we found quite a big step," Vinales commented.
"I felt good with the bike, but still not enough; I didn't feel at my 100 per cent. So still there is room to improve. But anyway, we did three days a little bit lost, especially yesterday and today during all the day we lost the way, and I could not push.
"I was not even pushing at what I can push, so we need to keep focused and pay a lot of attention with the changes we do because in the last 40 minutes looks like another bike.
"So we have to keep working, and as I say, don't lose the focus and keep attention what we change.
"I think right now if I was doing maybe another time attack I could make a really good lap time. But as soon as I went on the bike, I could keep a good rhythm.
"So I felt comfortable on the bike, still not 100 percent because I could not push myself like last year, to give my best. But I think after today we get more conclusions."
- Roland Potter