Nine intense days of pre-season testing concluded today at the Losail International circuit in Qatar and ready or not the MotoGP riders and teams will be back to kick off the 2014 season here in two weeks' time. The final night of three here in Doha presented the best track conditions of the whole test and the top two riders (the Espargaró brothers) lapped inside the circuit record (1.55.153 – Casey Stoner). Despite the good conditions the eagerness of some riders to end the session with a fast time led to a host of crashes, with Pol Espargaró suffering a broken collarbone.
The DRIVE M7 Aspar Team followed a similar program to the previous two days here, getting work underway at 6pm and continuing without rest until 11. Nicky Hayden completed 44 laps during that time whilst his teammate Hiroshi Aoyama managed 56. For the third consecutive evening the American finished in ninth position, clocking his best time over the three days on lap 37, a 1.56.273 representing an improvement of six tenths on yesterday. One position below him on the timesheets, Hiroshi Aoyama also set his best lap late this evening.
9th Nicky Hayden 1.56.273 (44 laps):
“Today we found some more improvements and I was able to set more laps in the 1'56s. We have worked more with the tyres and made some setting changes thinking ahead to the race and also qualifying. We tried changing bikes in pitlane and I also did some practice starts. In the end I set my fastest time of the test, which is positive even though the gap to the top is still very big, especially when you consider that the top riders are not here. We have worked hard and found some good things but we still need to take a big step forward in terms of the power. It's not right that we should be losing half a second on the straights. We know what HRC is capable of so I am confident that we will soon have some more improvements. As far as we're concerned we will continue working to get all of the potential out of this motorcycle."
10th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.57.006 (56 laps):
This brings to an end nine days of testing between Qatar and Malaysia. Little by little we have improved during this period and I have also tried to adapt to the team and to my new bike. This weekend's test has been very important because in two weeks we have the first race of the season here. Tonight we have tried to improve the setting for the race and we have also been able to improve the feeling in corner exit, which has been a problem here for the last couple of days. We have a lot of information and a plan now in place for the race. In general am happy with the way we are moving, we just need to get the bike turning a little bit better so that I feel more confidence in the corners. Stability is good but we must continue to improve."
Drive M7 Aspar Press Release