6 March 2016
Qatar MotoGP Test: Lack of final day progress pains Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa's difficult MotoGP pre-season capped by another trying night in Qatar, “[there are] not many big things to say.”
Dani Pedrosa's frustrating pre-season was compounded by another trying final night in Qatar where he could place no higher than tenth on the combined MotoGP timesheets.
While fellow Honda men Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow improved their lap times considerably later on Friday evening, Pedrosa had already made his way through Michelin's tyre allocation, meaning he was unable to take advantage of the added on-track grip.
Having voiced mild approval at Honda's improvements with electronics, Pedrosa struggled with turning his 2016 machine throughout the three nights and was unwilling to go into any great depth in his end-of-day media debrief.
Asked whether he had progressed on the final day, Pedrosa offered, “No. Not so much. I ran out of tyres and the track improved so everybody improved their lap time but we had no tyres left.”
Echoing Valentino Rossi's experiences with the Michelin front, Pedrosa favoured the softer of the two constructions, but found that once more rubber was laid on the track it suffered greater wear.
“All these days I was preferring the '36' [tyre]. But today when the track did improve it started to feel soft and the '34' was the best option I think.
“I was trying [different parts] yes, but not big things to say.”
The end to Pedrosa's pre-season was largely in keeping with his winter on track, something that is all-the-more frustrating when viewed alongside his record in the final five races of 2015.
The three-time world champion was twice victorious and scored two further podiums in the championship run-in. Yet HRC's slow adaption to Magneti Marelli's new electronics software severely hindered both Repsol riders until the second test of 2016 at Phillip Island.
Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo admitted that while Marquez's lap times at the close of Friday suggest he could yet be considered for a good result at round one, Pedrosa is still in need of a better set-up direction to pursue.
“On the other side today Dani was struggling more,” said the Italian. “Hopefully he will find something more in two weeks time. We need to work on the set-up. The new engine has different characteristics to the old one. Unfortunately this winter time we lost many days trying to understand, I mean, with the electronics, it would not work properly.
“Now the electronics I don't think is 100 percent, but it's much better. Then you can start to understand how to improve the set-up. Unfortunately this winter there have been so many changes and it has been not easy.
“At the moment if I look at the three places that we have been, Sepang was almost useless, because of the electronics. By Phillip Island, Marc was really fast. Here, especially today, it was OK. I think we can start better than yesterday I was thinking.
“For Dani we need to better understand and this for sure is not usually a very good circuit for us. Argentina and Austin are usually better circuits so let's see.
“Riders are interested a lot in the lap time they do. Marc was not only very happy because of the lap time but because of the confidence, the feeling he had on the bike. Unfortunately Dani was not able to find this feeling so of course he's not happy. But I hope once we find this direction it will fit for everybody.”
Pedrosa will next be on track during opening practice for the season-opening Grand Prix, on March 17.
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