Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin commenced the last pre-season test under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit in style. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair picked up impressively where they left off some days ago in Buriram, Thailand.
While Zarco quickly found back into his great rhythm at the track in Qatar, the French star concluded the day as the fastest satellite rider of the highly-competitive field in 4th position. Thereby, he missed out on the top by just 0.133 seconds. At the same time, MotoGP rookie Syahrin improved his pace and his feeling with the Yamaha YZR-M1 further and delivered an eye-catching performance in order to finish the first of three days of testing just 1.5 seconds behind his teammate.
Position: 4th – Time: 1’55.186 – Laps: 52
“For the first day in Qatar, I was waiting to go out on the track in order to find better conditions, but even when I went out around 4 this afternoon, it was very slippery and we were struggling a bit and honestly, went in a wrong direction. But we understood quickly that we had to come back to what we know with better tyres. I rapidly found a decent pace, although it was complicated because the rear tyre dropped a lot compared to the last track we were on, so we really have to adapt the riding in the first laps and then still keep a fast speed when the tyre is sliding. But overall, it seems like we’re competitive, which is the main thing and good for the confidence. Tomorrow we’ll use this great base again, which we found on the first day and try to improve it.”
Position: 22nd – Time: 1’56.731 – Laps: 58
“During this first day in Qatar I felt very good. We had a lot of confidence from the beginning. Later tonight, I experienced some minor issues, but after just some minutes, my great feeling was back. We tried to understand the new aerodynamics and by the end, I was able to give the guys some good feedback. I feel like I can improve even more, but we are trying everything step by step in order to avoid any obstacles, because if you’re going too quick too fast you can easily be confused. Today, I was smooth and calm, and I’m happy, that I can say, I already understand the bike now. For the second day, we’ll experiment further to make more progress.”