The opening day of the final winter test kicked off in Qatar at Losail International Circuit. The session, which was held partly during the day, and partly at night under the famous lights was a successful one for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR as both riders showed strong pace and direction throughout their time on track.
The main aim of Day 1 was to finalise settings and confirm a comfortable package for both riders as they prepare for the opening race of the season in just two weeks’ time. The confirmation of the compatibility and efficiency of the new parts used in the previous tests was a key point, and both riders spent time ensuring that the chassis and fairings in particular suited them.
Andrea Iannone proved to have a lot of pace and was able to set the fastest time of the day through two of the track’s sectors – T2 and T4. This allowed him to spend most of the day around the top of the timesheet and at the chequered flag he took 3rd overall, just +0.054 seconds from the lead.
Alex Rins showed more of the consistency which he has managed to bring to all the winter tests this off-season. The young Spaniard clocked the second highest number of laps over the day – totalling 67. He completed the session in 6th place, +0.379 seconds from the top of the table.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“Today has been a hard working day, we continued with the work we made in Sepang and Buriram. Because we already defined the package that we’re going to use for the race, but there are still some details which we are trying to confirm. For instance, we tested the aerodynamic fairing, and we are looking for the final confirmations here in Qatar. We already have an idea of what is good or not so good, but we wanted to make sure once again at another circuit. Tomorrow we will try to finish this work as soon as possible and begin to prepare for the race. Both riders were fast today, and that’s a good sign, but we’ll continue to work for the race.”
“We have started this test very well and the feeling with the bike is very good, especially the front end. In the other tests I struggled a lot with the front end feel, but here I have a very good feeling and it was possible to push really hard. Furthermore I could find a good feeling with the new tyres, something I was lacking in previous tests. The bike was cornering really well. So I’m very happy and we worked very well. It’s important to keep working and improving on general feeling, especially focusing on change of direction under braking.”
“Here it’s different to Malaysia or Thailand. The track is very different with slower corners, not as fast and much longer, but despite the differences we still feel confident. This morning we started by testing some items because we needed to make some back-to-back comparisons in order to make our final decisions. We worked on chassis and suspension and defined the final version of the fairing. The package should now be defined and my feeling is very positive, now we can start to work on race preparation with the knowledge that the base we have is a positive one.”