Yamaha take top slots in Free Practice at Qatar

Valentino Rossi's new 2016 MotoGP helmet

Valentino Rossi's new 2016 MotoGP helmet

The factory Yamaha team took first blood in Free Practice 1 at Qatar with Jorge Lorenzo taking the top slot, with Valentino Rossi in second place, only 0.267 seconds behind.

See the full MotoGP times from FP1 below:

1 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 334.7 1’55.440
2 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 338.4 1’55.707 0.267 / 0.267
3 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Ducati Team Ducati 346.9 1’55.736 0.296 / 0.029
4 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Racing Ducati 339.7 1’55.810 0.370 / 0.074
5 25 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 335.5 1’55.847 0.407 / 0.037
6 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 334.5 1’56.051 0.611 / 0.204
7 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 336.4 1’56.098 0.658 / 0.047
8 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 335.9 1’56.258 0.818 / 0.160
9 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 344.3 1’56.387 0.947 / 0.129
10 45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 334.3 1’56.412 0.972 / 0.025
11 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 333.8 1’56.524 1.084 / 0.112
12 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 334.3 1’56.596 1.156 / 0.072
13 76 Loris BAZ FRA Avintia Racing Ducati 330.7 1’56.783 1.343 / 0.187
14 43 Jack MILLER AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 334.0 1’56.939 1.499 / 0.156
15 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 334.3 1’56.981 1.541 / 0.042
16 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 327.8 1’57.096 1.656 / 0.115
17 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 331.8 1’57.129 1.689 / 0.033
18 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 334.4 1’57.192 1.752 / 0.063
19 50 Eugene LAVERTY IRL Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 336.8 1’57.421 1.981 / 0.229
20 53 Tito RABAT SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 327.8 1’57.916 2.476 / 0.495
21 6 Stefan BRADL GER Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 327.3 1’57.989 2.549 / 0.073

Valentino Rossi’s new 2016 MotoGP helmet

Valentino Rossi new MotoGP helmet

Valentino Rossi's new 2016 MotoGP helmet

Valentino Rossi has revealed a new helmet design at the opening session of the 2016 MotoGP season in Qatar.

Of what we can tell it looks like being a more colourful variation on Valentino Rossi’s SoleLuna helmet from the last few seasons – a large yellow sun remains at the front, and the sun-rays intersect with a moon at the rear. There are additiona geometric shapes in each of the sun-rays by the looks of the design.

We will keep updating this page with more photos of the helmet as we get them.

Valentino Rossi new MotoGP helmet

Valentino Rossi Qatar helmet

new pista rossi helmet

Valentino Rossi's new 2016 MotoGP helmet

Valentino Rossi's new 2016 MotoGP helmet

Valentino Rossi aiming for a podium for Qatar 2016

valentino Rossi Qatar MotoGP 2016

valentino Rossi Qatar MotoGP 2016

Only a few days to go now until the 2016 MotoGP season kicks off in the desert, under the floodlights for the Losail night race in Qatar.

Much is promised from the 2016 season, and new tires and new electronics could cause some genuine upsets as all the teams are currently on the same learning curve at the start of the season.

Valentino Rossi has a few scores to settle in 2016 and if testing has been anything to go by then he should be in with a winning chance from the start. In pre-race interviews Valentino has said that he is aiming for a top 3 finish. Here is what he had to say about the forthcoming MotoGP opening round.

Valentino Rossi said:

“Finally we start talking about racing! I’m very glad that a new season begins. Our tests were definitely positive, but the race is another thing. During testing we’ve learned a lot about the new tyres and electronics, but there are many other things to discover and this first race will be really important to understand the real potential of the bikes and the riders. Last season for me began very well. I don’t know if I will be able to repeat that result but I will try to get on the podium for sure. It will be important to start to work well from the first sessions and get ready and have clear ideas going into the race. I feel ready and motivated and so does the team, so let’s go!”

Qatar MotoGP Test Day 2 – Valentino Rossi finishes in 8th

Valentino Rossi at Qatar night test 2016

Valentino Rossi at Qatar night test 2016

Day 2 of the 2016 Qatar MoptoGP testing session saw Valentino Rossi finish up in 8th place on the timesheets after a total of 56 laps. Maverick Vinales continued his impressive form to take top slot, with Andrea Iannon taking second, and Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo in third.

Despite the dry conditions both Yamaha riders struggled with grip.

Valentino Rossi said:

“The second day was OK, I worked a lot and did a lot of laps because we have quite a lot of work to do. In the end my performance was not fantastic in the lap and the position because I’m a little bit worse compared to yesterday, but in reality we didn’t do a real time attack because we tried to save some tyres because it’s important for tomorrow. We don’t have a lot of tyres, so we’re trying to manage. I think tomorrow will be very important for trying to understand our potential in a better way and especially for trying to improve the lap time and also for making a long run and try to understand our pace.”

Qatar MotoGP test, Day 2: Final times:

1 VIÑALES, Maverick Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1:55.436 28 / 42 19:32.427
2 IANNONE, Andrea Ducati Team 1:55.508 0.072 0.072 25 / 41 1:55.553
3 LORENZO, Jorge Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1:55.535 0.099 0.027 14 / 48 1:56.685
4 REDDING, Scott Octo Pramac Yakhnich 1:55.677 0.241 0.142 32 / 43 11:32.543
5 BARBERA, Hector Avintia Racing 1:55.815 0.379 0.138 20 / 35 1:56.927
6 DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Ducati Team 1:55.856 0.420 0.041 40 / 46 1:56.468
7 PEDROSA, Dani Repsol Honda Team 1:55.857 0.421 0.001 42 / 42 1:55.857
8 ROSSI, Valentino Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1:55.947 0.511 0.090 24 / 56 1:56.822
9 MARQUEZ, Marc Repsol Honda Team 1:56.046 0.610 0.099 4 / 42 1:56.258
10 ESPARGARO, Aleix Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 1:56.126 0.690 0.080 20 / 32 1:57.928
11 ESPARGARO, Pol Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:56.173 0.737 0.047 16 / 30 1:57.066
12 BAZ, Loris Avintia Racing 1:56.427 0.991 0.254 27 / 45 2:30.873
13 CRUTCHLOW, Cal LCR Honda 1:56.584 1.148 0.157 48 / 50 3:00.162
14 HERNANDEZ, Yonny Aspar MotoGP Team 1:56.667 1.231 0.083 13 / 38 1:58.957
15 RABAT, Tito EG 0.0 Marc VDS 1:57.263 1.827 0.596 29 / 49 3:05.634
16 SMITH, Bradley Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:57.267 1.831 0.004 7 / 14 1:58.396
17 LAVERTY, Eugene Aspar MotoGP Team 1:57.670 2.234 0.403 25 / 41 2:27.804
18 BAUTISTA, Alvaro Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:57.721 2.285 0.051 28 / 36 1:58.041
19 MILLER, Jack EG 0.0 Marc VDS 1:57.789 2.353 0.068 4 / 20 1:57.793
20 PIRRO, Michele Octo Pramac Yakhnich 1:58.113 2.677 0.324 16 / 21 12.346
21 AOYAMA, Hiroshi HRC Test Team 1:58.347 2.911 0.234 60 / 62 1:58.723
22 BRADL, Stefan Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:58.418 2.982 0.071 8 / 16 2:11.204

Lorenzo top, Rossi third in first night of Qatar test

Valentino Rossi Qatar test 2016

Despite a crash on his first lap, Valentino Rossi finished the first night of Qatar testing in 3rd place overall. Jorge Lorenzo took top spot, closely followed by Maverick Vinales.

MotoGP Qatar 2016 day 1 Test Times

1 Jorge Lorenzo – Yamaha 1m55.452s
2 Maverick Vinales – Suzuki 1m55.880s
3 Valentino Rossi – Yamaha 1m55.894s
4 Andrea Iannone – Ducati 1m56.119s
5 Scott Redding – Ducati 1m56.213s
6 Hector Barbera – Ducati 1m56.320s
7 Andrea Dovizioso -Ducati 1m56.388s
8 Cal Crutchlow – Honda 1m56.510s
9 Bradley Smith – Yamaha 1m56.517s
10 Marc Marquez – Honda 1m56.523s
11 Aleix Espargaro – Suzuki 1m56.552s
12 Pol Espargaro – Yamaha 1m56.747s
13 Daniel Pedrosa – Honda 1m56.910s
14 Yonny Hernandez – Ducati 1m57.021s
15 Loris Baz – Ducati 1m57.121s
16 Jack Miller – Honda 1m57.850s
17 Michele Pirro – Ducati 1m57.891s
18 Esteve Rabat – Honda 1m58.016s
19 Stefan Bradl – Aprilia 1m58.066s
20 Eugene Laverty – Ducati 1m58.269s
21 Hiroshi Aoyama – Honda 1m58.744s
22 Alvaro Bautista – Aprilia 1m58.753s
23 Takuya Tsuda – Suzuki 2m00.578s

Valentino Rossi’s crash came on his first lap, but he was unharmed and was able to resume testing on his second bike. Speaking of the incident Rossi said:

Valentino Rossi:

“I started in a bad way, because after ten corners I crashed. I wasn‘t very fast, but maybe because I had too much angle the rear slid, but fortunately it was just a small slide at 70 km/h. It wasn‘t a big problem but to start like this wasn‘t fantastic… After the problem we jumped on the other bike and I‘m quite satisfied about today because, also here in Qatar, it looks like our bike is competitive. We can be strong and fast and this is the most important thing, because it’s already the third track where the Yamaha is competitive. We also started with a good base set-up, in fact I didn‘t work a lot on it.

“I felt good from the first moment and rode quite fast and I was able to consistently improve my lap times and in the end I‘m in the third position, so it was a good day. Today Jorge was very fast, he was faster, but like in Phillip Island me, Viñales and Jorge are the stronger riders. In Phillip Island there was also Marquez, here it looks like he was a bit slower than us today. I‘m happy to stay with the frontrunners and already lap in 1‘55s, a little bit faster compared to the test last year, so it‘s a good result. After the first two tests we decided to go with the bike that‘s more similar to last year and now we have two race bikes ready in the garage, so we‘re already in race-mode.”

Valentino Rossi vents frustration after poor Qatar performance

Valentino Rossi Qatar 2012

Valentino Rossi had a terrible start to the 2012 MotoGP season at Qatar – after hinting that there might be some set-up tweaks that would slightly improve performance on the night, Rossi went on to finish in 10th position and over 33 seconds behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo.

In a post race interview with Sportmediaset, Rossi vented some of his frustration in what could only have been described as a calm and controlled outburst.

Rossi said:
“We ran out of hope last season. When Barbera passed me, with a hard move that pushed me into the runoff area, he had only one objective: getting in front of me. The actual race position didn’t matter. I even thought about pulling into the pits and finishing my race there, but I kept going only out of respect for my team members, and to collect useful data.”

Rossi then went on to critise Ducati by saying:
“Ducati didn’t follow the direction that I indicated, but I’m not an engineer and I can’t solve every problem. It wouldn’t have changed much to finish sixth. This certainly isn’t an appealing result for me, and I’m aiming at least for the podium. I’m not able to ride the bike as I like. I’m faster on used tires than on new. The rear is pushing a lot, and things only improve slightly when the tires start to slide. I have no confidence, and I can’t even get ahead of Hayden, who gave everything he had to finish 28 seconds behind the leader. The problems with the bike haven’t changed, and neither have my requests. It’s unrideable, and it doesn’t make much difference what track we are on. I’m not able to enter the corners hard on the brakes, and we can’t hope the situation will change completely with the new Bridgestone tires. These aren’t problems you can solve with setup alone.”

The official Ducati press release was a lot more ‘neutral’:
“Unfortunately, I lost a lot of time in the beginning because when I had new tyres with good grip, the rear pushed a lot, making it very difficult under braking. Then Barbera pushed me off the track and I lost five or six seconds. Otherwise, I could have stayed with that group. As the tyre became used and began to slide, I started to ride a bit better and to do better times, to the point that I matched my best time on the last lap. By that point though, it didn’t count for much.”