23.02.2019

Qatar IRTA test under way with a flurry of work at Losail

MotoGP 2019 IRTA test Losail (QAT)
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one

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Initially overcast, humid and surprisingly cool conditions marked the opening day of work at the second of two IRTA pre-season MotoGP tests. Activity got underway with a slight delay in anticipation of optimum track conditions at Losail: the Qatari circuit will celebrate fifteen years as a Grand Prix venue when it hosts the first round of nineteen in the 2019 series on March 10th.

The first outing of three (Sunday and Monday to come) was complicated due to the shorter window for laps and the extensive list of ideas and solutions that the KTM quartet still want to try before the Grand Prix. Espargaro clocked 47 laps: the 43rd being his fastest of the day and leaving him inside the top ten less than a second from the peak of the time screens. Johann Zarco (16th) made 53 circulations and settled 1.7 away from the quickest effort of the evening. The Frenchman is looking for more gains tomorrow. Both riders tried a new chassis setting with the works KTM RC16.

The Red Bull KTM Tech3 crew – shining brightly under the Losail lighting system in their new livery – completed more than 80 laps between them today; Miguel Oliveira (17th) sat just a tenth of a second behind Zarco by the end of the timed period.

Pol Espargaro: “It was quite successful and we were quite close to the lap-time we did here last year. For sure we are missing a bit to the top guys but this is not one of the best tracks for us however we are not so far. With better track conditions tomorrow everyone will improve so we need to make sure we do as well. We’ve been working well. We had a big plan and we still have to test some things that we didn't have time for in Malaysia as well as confirm other ideas we had from Sepang, things like chassis modifications and some other big things that Mika had tried and we had to see. We are looking forward to continue the test tomorrow. Everything moved so fast today and we didn't have many hours so tomorrow we’ll have more time and we have to plan.”

Johann Zarco: “We began at a better level than I expected, with a good pace and were improving step-by-step. We were sliding more here than in Malaysia and it was making the bike act differently; I was quite happy at the beginning but then we reached a point where we could not improve and I could not find a better feeling. I hope we can find the solution tomorrow and get faster and faster. We have a lot to test and not too many hours and I just want to feel good and improve. Tomorrow I will analyse and maybe see what I was doing wrong.”

Miguel Oliveira: “The first day felt quite short, to be honest. We started a bit later because of the track conditions but finally we could manage to do some work on the bike. We tested two completely different settings looking for a little bit of stability on the rear and more drive out of the corners. So far, I’m happy with the work.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “We were trying to improve on the last test in Sepang today. We didn’t experiment a lot on the bike, I just tried to further get used to the KTM, working on changing my style. I know, that I’m still a bit far from the front but we keep working on the feeling on the bike. I felt it has been already better than in Malaysia.”

Click HERE for final times from the first day of the IRTA Qatar test

Press & PR Manager
Sebastian Kuhn
+43 676 599 0084
sebastian.kuhn@ktm.com

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Johann Zarco KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one
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Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one
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Miguel Oliveira KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one
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Hazifh Syahrin KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one
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Hazifh Syahrin KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one
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Miguel Oliveira KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one
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Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one
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Johann Zarco KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one
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Johann Zarco KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one
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Miguel Oliveira KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one
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Johann Zarco KTM RC16 MotoGP Sepang test 2019 Day one
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