Morbidelli and Lüthi get down to business under the floodlights in Qatar
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders, Franco Morbidelli and Tom Lüthi, got the final MotoGP preseason test off to a positive start today under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Unlike in previous years the riders didn't have to wait for the track, which is surrounded by a combination of desert and massive building sites, to clean up. Today Morbidelli and Lüthi were able to get to work straight away, as they continue their adaptation to the demands of MotoGP.
While both riders know the Losail circuit intimately from their time in Moto2, it's a very different track when riding a far more complex machine with more than double the horsepower, so Morbidelli and Lüthi used the first part of today's test to get a feel for the track aboard the Honda RC213V.
Both Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders then moved on to evaluating changes to set up and riding style, as they worked to improve acceleration out of the corners.
Franco Morbidelli: 1'56.608
“We started here in Qatar pretty much where we finished last time out in Buriram. The track conditions have certainly helped because for some reason it's not as dirty as it normally is when we come here for testing, so we've been able to start work straight away, rather than having to wait for the track to clean up. Today has been about getting used to the bike at this track and then making small changes to both the bike and my riding style to improve the lap time. The main area of interest is corner exit, using maximum acceleration out of the corners because we're not able to do this at the moment. I need to adapt my riding style to make the most of the rear grip available and that's what I am working on with my crew.”
Tom Lüthi: 1'57.292
“I was quite surprised there wasn't sand on the track like there has been in the past. There is no rubber yet either, so grip is still limited, but at least we could start working with the bike from the off. Right now I'm still working on my riding style, still working on the lines, but we've also started to adapt the set up a little bit more so I feel more comfortable on the bike. In MotoGP you have to move around the bike much more than in Moto2. In Moto2 it was more about aerodynamics, whereas in MotoGP it is about using your weight on the bike, getting it over the front to stop the front wheel coming up under acceleration. I'm still at the beginning of my MotoGP adventure and I still have a lot to learn but, step-by-step, we're moving forward and this is the most important thing.