The next time the riders meet on track will be in the opening free practice for the Grand Prix of Qatar at the start of a season. Yamaha look like strong candidates for success. Jorge Lorenzo was again the fastest man on track today, the only rider capable of breaking the 1:55s, with a 1:54.810 lap. Ducati and Suzuki are also ready to perform after positive winters. Scott Redding (Pramac Ducati) finished the final day in P2 with a time of 1:55.326, while Maverick Vinales (Suzuki Ecstar) matched him in P3 with a 1:55.333. Young riders such as Viñales, Iannone (who already showed his worth last season), Petrucci and Redding have all shown signs of their intentions in 2016. Honda initially seem to be on the back foot but Marquez’s long run pace was not to shy of Lorenzo. That said the Japanese factory had problems at Sepang, looked to have turned things around at Phillip Island before issues resurfaced at Losail. The moment of truth is fast approaching, with the opening race of the season just a fortnight away.
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Unfortunately the ASPAR Team riders have not been able to complete as many laps as they would have liked on the final day of the test here in Losail, due to the limited number of tyres that Michelin had available. Despite this setback both Yonny Hernández and Eugene Laverty have done a great job over the three days of the test, the Colombian finally enjoying a breakthrough with the electronic problems that have dogged him throughout pre-season, edging him closer to the top of the order and inside the top ten. The Irishman didn’t get the opportunity to turn his progress into a fast lap time but his renewed confidence after some major crashes during the winter mean he can also look forward to the start of the new season with optimism.
11º Yonny Hernández 1.55.894 (18 laps): “The last day of the test has been positive again, it has been a productive test for us and we have been able to find a solution to the problem we were having with the electronics. It was a shame we couldn’t ride more today because there weren’t enough tyres. We only did two runs today, one with some used tyres from yesterday and another with the only new set we had left. Even so we managed to improve our best lap time before the front started to fold on me and I came back in to find that it was a defective front tyre, so we had to stop. On one hand I am happy with the feeling we have found here but on the other I’m frustrated we didn’t get to do some more laps on the good set-up we found. But our pace is strong, it has been a very positive session so overall we have to be satisfied. It is nice to be back in the fight for the top ten.”
20º Eugene Laverty 1.57.146 (47 laps): “We have to be positive because this is the first test we have completed without a major accident! I have got my confidence back and that’s the most important thing going into the new season. I have built up my feeling with the bike at this test, I still had a strange feeling with the front but we did make some big progress in that area towards the end of the session today. Unfortunately at that point we didn’t have the best tyres to run so I couldn’t set a lap time but it does mean that we finish this test with a smile and we know we have made an important step before the race weekend.”