Qatar Tests, Day One (Mar. 13, 2011)
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo made an impressive start to the last of the winter MotoGP tests under the floodlights of the Losail circuit in Qatar tonight. Both riders spent the session working on chassis set up and electronics for the upcoming season opening race this coming weekend. The session got underway at 1800 local time as the light faded and the floodlights came up, Lorenzo the first to take to the track.
Test Times (Mar. 13)
Qatar Tests, Day Two (Mar. 14, 2011)
The biggest threat on the track this evening for Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies was not other riders but fiercely strong winds blowing across the Losail circuit in Qatar. The final pre-season MotoGP test session before next weekend's opening race was a battle against the elements.
Test Times (Mar. 14)
Ben Spies (Day Two Position: 3rd, 1'56.294, Laps 45)
"It's been a good test, I'm happy with it. We tried a few different things today and improved the bike some more. We've now got a couple of days to look over the data ready for the four day weekend, there will be plenty more riding opportunities before Sunday. I was pretty confident coming here after Sepang, hopefully we can make the bike even better before the race. Last year we saw that the M1 worked well at every track, it's Yamaha's strong point and I think it's the same this year."
"Today wasn't the best day for me. It was not because my riding is bad, I always admit when it is, we struggled with the set up of the bike during the session and unfortunately we didn't make a step forward. The wind was tough but that was a problem for everyone. We also tried a different swing arm today but it didn't make an improvement. We will work over the next few days to be ready to improve in the next sessions on Thursday."
"It has been another positive test and now I'm really looking forward to the racing starting. The bike has been working awesome again at this track and it shows the hard work we put in during the two tests at Sepang recently has really paid off. We haven't really needed to make any major changes to the bike and that is a good sign. If you can take the bike to a completely different track and it works then it shows we've found a good set-up and I'm confident we go into the new season with a really good package. I ran through a few tyre options for Bridgestone tonight and got some good information but the conditions were really windy. I want to be further up the timesheets with a better lap time but it is the last day of testing before we start racing and I just didn't want to risk pushing for an outright lap time in those conditions. The wind was so bad in places it was blowing the front - end out from underneath you, so I didn't want to be caught out. I feel really motivated and excited and while I know it is going to be a tough year, I feel we can put up a good fight. The field is probably the strongest it's ever been but I'm ready to go out there and fight for some good results."
"The test certainly didn't end how I wanted and it is a real shame because we had made some changes to the balance of the bike that really helped my confidence with the front-end tonight. But I made a silly little mistake at Turn 10. I lost the rear and closed the throttle but then lost the front and I couldn't get my left hand out from underneath the handlebar. I've basically taken the tip off my left little finger and it is really sore now. I don't need surgery but it is obviously going to be uncomfortable this weekend for the race now. It is a shame because I was only 0.5s away from the top ten last night. I adapted to riding under the floodlights really quickly once I realised the shadows weren't somebody trying to overtake me! I was confident of taking another step tonight and I'm sure I could have done without the crash. It cost me nearly three hours of track time, which I can't really afford to lose at this stage, but I'm still looking forward to my MotoGP debut. It will be an honour to line-up against this field on Sunday night and as always I'll be giving it my best."