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Jorge Lorenzo at the 2016 MotoGP Qatar test, Thursday Free practice

Movistar Yamahas strong as final MotoGP appetiser devoured in Qatar

Mar 062016

The table is set for the 2016 MotoGP season with the culmination of the third and final pre-season test at Losail, Qatar and at which reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo and iconic teammate Valentino Rossi – recently turned 37 – gave every indication they are ready to start gobbling up more spoils and trophies in the eighteen rounds ahead. The MotoGP paddock gathered at the desert setting that several days previously had been host to the opening cuts-and-thrusts of the FIM MXGP World Championship. The speed, noise and technical intensity was cranked up for the visit of the road racing elite over the course of three days as the Moto2 and Moto3 element of the series got busy with laps and final set-up work at Jerez in Spain. Teams had the chance to replicate the conditions in anticipation of the first fixture of the year on Sunday March 20th but ultimately were battling a range of circumstances in terms of building on their 2016 work done in Malaysia and Australia during February. The Losail asphalt was dusty and dirty on the first day and gradually started to see the racing lines clear throughout the duration of the sessions. Michelin – the new tyre suppliers to the series for 2016 and one of the reasons why MotoGP is expected to be unpredictable and captivating this year – delivered allocations that left riders scratching their heads around the best choices and options for work; some limited and others puzzled as the Hondas struggled with front end feel and other athletes, like Monster Energy Tech3 Yamaha’s Pol Esparagaro, striving with rear rubber traction. Lastly the climate change once the sun dips at the venue outside of Doha meant a significant drop in temperatures and the damp night air almost making the track moist and slippery.