The first free practice session for the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship was held this evening at the Losail circuit in Qatar. As has now become tradition, the free practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself on Sunday all take place after dusk, on a track illuminated by floodlights.
In the first forty-five minutes of free practice action, which was briefly interrupted by the red flags following a crash by Pramac Racing Team’s Yonny Hernandez, Crutchlow and Dovizioso completed sixteen and seventeen laps respectively. At the end of the session, the two Ducati Team riders had recorded thirteenth and fourteenth quickest times, and were separated by just a few hundredths of a second.
Tomorrow will see another day of free practice action, with the second and third sessions starting at 6 pm.
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 13th (1m57.046s)
“Today was more or less what I expected, and it was difficult because of the track conditions. Obviously a lot of the other guys had already tested here at Losail, and it looks like this made a bit of a difference. We figured some things with the Ducati that we need to improve, but I’m happy with the way the guys worked. We worked in a methodical way, and we are taking baby steps at the moment with the bike, so I look forward to coming back tomorrow with two more free practice sessions. It’s great to get back on track in Qatar, I like this circuit and I’m sure things will steadily improve over the weekend.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 14th (1m57.100s)
“It was a bit of a strange session today, you could see that coming to test at this circuit made a big difference for many riders, especially in this first free practice session. In fact, all those who did the test here at the start of March are ahead in the timesheets, and above all they managed to find the right rhythm to lap at a constant pace. The Losail circuit is a bit strange as well, it’s hard to get dialled in at the start and in fact we struggled a bit. To be honest, I had hoped to begin a bit better than what I did, but in any case we will have time tomorrow to work to improve the bike and especially to get into a good rhythm on this track for Sunday’s race.”