MotoGP preseason tests are over. Losail Circuit has been the last stop before the start of 2018 championship. They arrived from Thailand where Honda set the pace and were much better than the rest.
Qatar for its part, leaves us a more equal vision in terms of performance especially if we focus on Yamaha. The team of Viñales and Rossi was being the disappointment of the preseason, showing a performance far removed from what is asked of Yamaha. Although with Rossi in their ranks, they should never be dismissed from the fight. They have shown in Qatar that they have improved sine Buriram. In Losail they dominated the first day with Viñales setting the best time, and yesterday Rossi stopping the clock in second place.
The sensations indicate a good performance at a fast lap, although the race pace is lower than Honda’s or the Ducati’s. Massimo Meregalli, Team Manager, has stated that they have found the “focus of the problems” and affirms that they still have “space for improvement”.
Johann Zarco was the fastest of the three days, scoring in the last day a 1.54.029 that leaves him as one of the great sensations of the preseason. Such has been its impact, that Márquez and Dovizioso consider him as a candidate for the title. The Tech3 rider but did not show a good level in race pace as he did when he tried to set the fastest lap.
Ducati good pace, Honda showed weaknesses
When I say Ducati I mean Andrea Dovizioso, who is passing his hand over Jorge Lorenzo’s face. The Spanish is still looking to be comfortable on the bike and has gone less in the three days in Qatar. He was fifth on the first day, fourteenth on the second and ninth on the last day. “Dovi” on the other hand, has not come down from the top3 in any of the three days and has shown a very fast and constant pace. He said that he has been “better than he expected”.
The Ducati are, and without discarding Yamaha, the great rivals of Honda. Márquez and Pedrosa have not shown the devastating rhythm that was seen in both Sepang and Buriram. The strong heat that was experienced in the past tests accentuated the potential of its engine that has suffered more in low temperatures. Pedrosa had a big accident on the second day that left him without a lot of running on the second day.
Márquez assures that they are in the line of improvement they want: “We have improved in the top speed and in the wheelie, but in other circuits we have to continue working. We are closer to Ducati.” Carl Crutchlow was the fastest of the Honda in these tests, with his fifth place in the last day at Losail.
Suzuki keeps warning
Álex Rins in Buriram, Iannone in Qatar. The Italian marked the best time of the second day, although we did not see him riding on the last day where times improved substantially. Rins was the sixth fastest driver of the third day, close to the leaders. The Spanish driver sets ambitious goals: “We have a very competitive bike and we will fight to be with the first ones”.
There is some possibilities to see a wet race in Losail so it was decided to fill the trak wjith water to make a visibility test under the night and the sand. Bad combination with the water that had already suspended the qualifying session last season. For 20 minutes, the riders were able to ride on a wet track and have a first feeling of riding in wet conditions.