MotoGP™ Dress Rehearsal for British trio
Posted on Mar 06, 2014 by Nick Harris
With just two weeks to go before the start of the 18 round MotoGP™ season Bradley Smith, Scott Redding and Michael Laverty start a three day dress rehearsal test at the Losail International circuit in Qatar tomorrow (Friday). This is not only the final test before the start of the season on March 23 but also a chance to ride at the Losail circuit that will host that first race.
For 23 year old Smith it’s also a chance to test himself and the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha against the other factory supported teams with the Yamaha, Honda and Ducati factory teams not present after completing their pre-season testing in Australia this week. The Andorra – based Oxfordshire rider has completed nearly 400 laps of pre-season testing at Sepang in Malaysia and will be looking to fine tune his efforts in Qatar.
Gloucestershire Go&Fun Gresini Honda rider Redding is set to make his MotoGP debut in Qatar and these three days will be vital for him as he gains more experience on a MotoGP machine. It’s a steep learning curve for the runner-up in the 2013 Moto 2™ World Championship on the RCV 1000R Honda and three clear days of testing will be of an enormous benefit.
Ulsterman Laverty and the Cumbrian – based PBM team missed the second Sepang test and so it’s a crucial three days for him and his Australian team-mate Broc Parkes.
Crutchlow goes open
Cal Crutchlow and the Ducati team will compete in the open class of the MotoGP World Championship this season. The team of Isle of Man –based Midlander Crutchlow and Italian Andrea Dovizioso has just completed a three day Bridgestone tyre test at Phillip Island having announced they will compete in the Open class this season.
The incentive of being allowed to use more engines, race distance fuel, a different tyre selection and increased testing during the season convinced Ducati and their new race boss Gigi Dall’lgna this was the way ahead for the Italian factory as they try to catch the likes of Honda and Yamaha.
It was a productive test at Phillip Island in mixed conditions as both Bridgestone in MotoGP and Dunlop in Moto2 tested different tyre compounds after the major problems they encountered on the new track surface at the Australian Grand Prix last year.
Jorge Lorenzo led the way in MotoGP from Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi and Crutchlow with Tito Rabat, who replaced Scott Redding in the Marc VDS team, as impressive Moto2 leader despite a big crash at the finish.
It’s been a good week for Yamaha with Lorenzo leading the way in Australia and the Spanish telecommunications company Movistar returning to MotoGP to become title sponsor of the factory team for the next five years.
No testing for Marquez before Qatar Opener
World Champion Marc Marquez was told he must take no part in pre–season testing before the start of the MotoGP season in Qatar. The 21 year old youngest ever World MotoGP Champion broke his right leg in a dirt bike training accident last month. He has missed both the second Sepang and Phillip Island tests as he fights to be fit for that opening practice session for the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar in two weeks’ time.
The Repsol Honda rider is making good progress with no complications but his first race will be tough. There is a three week gap before the second grand prix of the season at Austin in Texas.
Jerez final test for Moto2 and Moto3 before Qatar opener While the MotoGP riders fly to the Middle East the Moto2 and Moto3 rider complete their pre-season testing at Jerez in Spain starting on Tuesday. World Supersport Champion Sam Lowes is getting to grips with Moto2 on his Speed Up machine and has fully recovered from the broken collarbone he sustained testing last year. He was seventh fastest in the previous Jerez test and these three days will be crucial for him before his Moto2 debut in Qatar. Londoner Gino Rea is expected to return to ride the AGT Rea Racing Suter after missing the last Jerez test with a broken foot.
Wiltshire teenager Danny Kent has looked very impressive on his return to the Moto3 class. The double grand prix winner was fifth fastest in the last Jerez test riding the Red Bull Husqvarna AJO machine. With both World Champion Maverick Vinales and Louis Salom moving up to Moto2 Kent has a great chance of chasing the title this year.
Oban – based Scotsman John McPhee faces a big year in his second full season of grand prix racing. Riding the Racing Team Germany Honda he was 17th fastest in the previous Jerez test.
Good news as Marinelarena improves Great news from the South of France with 21 year old Spanish Moto2 rider Alex Marinelarena waking up from an induced coma after his testing crash a week ago. It is reported that Marinelarena, who crashed while testing for the Tech 3 team at the Paul Ricard circuit, can move his arm and legs and speak. A full medical assessment will be made later today.