Valentino Rossi
News News 25 February 2019

Successful End to Preseason Testing for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Today the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team completed the third and final day of the last 2019 MotoGP preseason test. Despite less than desirable riding conditions, Maverick Viñales let his consistency shine again and set the fastest time of the day, also claiming top billing in the combined timesheets. Valentino Rossi likewise elevated his bike's performance level and finished his preseason campaign with a positive fourth place in today's ranking order, and a fifth in the combined times.

Viñales didn't let the strong wind get to him and was focused as ever on getting the job done. He successfully worked on acceleration and set a stunning 1'54.208s on lap 25/50. He went on to complete five further runs, until a little after 9pm local time, and wrapped up the test in first place, both in today's and in the combined standings, with a 0.233s margin over his closest rival.

Rossi found his strong form again during the third day of riding at the Losail International Circuit. He laid a final hand to the setting of his YZR-M1 and showed he is on the right track when he improved his fastest time to a 1'54.651s, set on lap 35/38. He finished in fourth place in today's rankings and in fifth in the combined, 0.443s from teammate.

Thanks to the progress made today, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team find themselves in a strong place to start the 2019 MotoGP season at the first round in Qatar, held from 8 - 10 March.

Maverick Viñales, 1st - 1'54.208

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team

“Honestly, I have been riding really good on the track, I felt like I was going very fast with the amount of grip that the track provided today. But we need to improve. I don't have really good grip on the edge, so we need to keep working, especially in that area. On the acceleration side we improved quite a lot since Sepang, and at the moment I'm quite satisfied with what we have in the braking area. My race pace is not bad, I tried ten laps just to understand how the bike is doing, but it was very cold for the medium tyres. Anyway, I rode quite well, with quite a good rhythm. Maybe I could have pushed a little more. However, we still need to improve for the race. I think we are going to be ready. The race will be very important for us. Our bike has really positive points, but also a few negatives, so we now need to come to a conclusion and see where we can improve.”

Valentino Rossi, 5th - 1'54.651

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team

“Today was a good day, we worked in a good way and I was quite strong. Also, with the race tyres my pace is quite good, and in the time-attack I was also OK. I'm in P5 at the end of the three days, which is not so bad. For me, also the race pace is quite good, although I think we will need something more to be able to try to fight. But today we already closed the gap by a lot, as we put it all together, with all the staff. I think that, for this night, we're done, and we'll see in two weeks if it's enough.”

Massimo Meregalli

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director

“In the end, this test has been very productive. We came here to confirm the good points we found in Sepang. The riders' feedback has been positive, even though the condition of the track has never been good during these three days. As this was an aspect that caused us to suffer in the past, we're satisfied with our performance. Maverick has been impressive throughout the test, both with his best flying lap, a 1'54.2s, and his consistency. Vale, however, suffered a problem on Day 2, but today they were able to solve the issue and we found a good improvement, resulting in a 1'54.6s. We were able to try different items, including a new rear seat with different aerodynamics. We weren't able to complete our entire schedule - due to the strong and bothersome wind – the race simulation included. Our engineers will use the coming break to analyse all the data in order to finalise the best set-up for FP1, that we are really looking forward to.”

2019 Preseason Ends in Style for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team

The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team wrapped up the final test of the 2019 preseason at the Losail International Circuit with both riders posting some impressive results. Fabio Quartaro went one better than his impressive third place yesterday, finishing tonight in a sensational second, whilst Franco Morbidelli took a big step forward to finish sixth fastest on the night.

Quartararo went out with the same set-up on his Yamaha YZR-M1 that he used yesterday, making gradual improvements before fitting new tyres and posting an impressive best effort of 1’54.441 on his 28th of 48 laps. The PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider also put together a positive long run of 15 consecutive laps in preparation for the first race of the season. It allowed the Frenchman to learn more about the performance of the bike with a full fuel tank, as well as the overall performance of the tyres, and he finished very happy with the results.

Morbidelli’s main objective for tonight was to solve some chatter issues from yesterday, the Italian taking a big step forward and making a notable improvement to his best lap, which he set on his 42nd lap of 61 in a time of 1’54:660. Sixth on the night and seventh over the three days of the test here in Qatar, Morbidelli completed his preseason preparations with a run of 12 laps.

The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team signs off from its first ever MotoGP preseason on the back of a very positive final test, with confidence and excitement now high ahead of the Grand Prix of Qatar on 10th March.

Fabio Quartararo, 2nd - 1'54.441

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team

"It has been a very positive day for us. This morning the day wasn’t looking so good because it was cold and there was sand on the track, but in the end the wind dropped and once again every time I went out on track I felt better. So far this year I have only had six days on the bike and to be honest I feel very comfortable with it. I have managed to do a couple of really fast laps and that is what we were lacking at Sepang. Here we have not struggled to do the lap times, we were on the pace quickly and they have been fast. It was also good to get a race simulation in. Compared with the one I did at Sepang, this one was better in terms of my pace but it was also difficult because I was riding alone virtually the whole time. I think we are making gradual, non-stop progress."

Franco Morbidelli, 7th - 1'54.660

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team

"I am really happy with this three-day test in Qatar, we have tried a lot of different configurations. I have struggled a little to get completely comfortable with certain aspects but today we managed to get to the bottom of a few little problems. Now we just have to put it all together for the Grand Prix. Finally we have been able to make a good time attack. In general we have done a good job, now we just need to refine a few details to make sure we are competitive over race distance and also over one lap. With the data we have been able to gather here I am confident we can find the perfect package for the race and I am really happy with the job done by the whole team."

Wilco Zeelenberg

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team Manager

"The test here in Qatar has gone even better than we expected. We know that the Yamaha is quite suited to this track but obviously the lap times from Fabio [Quartararo] have been incredible and were beyond our expectations - everything went very smoothly for him. With Franco [Morbidelli], we have struggled quite a bit on crazy things. These things happen at testing, so I hope we have solved the majority of the issues. Even though the first few days didn’t go perfectly, he did a great job that allowed him to set a good lap time tonight.

Looking back on our preseason as a whole I can only say that I think we can be proud of what we have created and everything we have achieved as a team so far. At the same time, we also need to be realistic and remember that we haven’t scored any points yet in the championship. It looks like things are under control for the moment, so let’s start racing!"