Fiat Yamaha's young new recruit Jorge Lorenzo heralded his arrival into the 2008 MotoGP in Qatar with an impressive performance on the opening night of his first ever premier-class Grand Prix. With the first race of the season taking place under floodlights in somewhat cooler temperatures than the riders have been used to at the desert track in previous years, it was an interesting first 'day' of the season but Lorenzo was unfazed by the conditions and finished in second place overall behind Casey Stoner.
This evening's first free practice saw the youngest rider on the grid picking up exactly where he left off at last week's test, quickly finding his rhythm and lapping consistently fast to finish the session in second. Tonight's later practice saw more of the same as Lorenzo and his team worked on perfecting their set-up and, later on, testing a few Michelin tyres.Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 2nd Time: 1'55.453 Laps: 46, "I'm happy tonight because we started working from where we left off at the test and things were very good again. Honestly though I didn't really expect to be second on my very first day at a MotoGP race! The track seems dirtier because the wind has been blowing the sand on to it lately, so I think that tomorrow, once the bikes have cleaned it a bit, it will be better and we will be able to push more. I am completely comfortable with the light situation and I'm not even thinking anymore about the fact that we're riding at night, it seems normal. We're still lacking a bit of feeling in the front and need a bit more grip, but things are improving step by step. We've tried a few different tyres and it seems that the Michelin's are working well here; overall I'm feeling good and I'm very pleased with my pace. Despite my position tonight, I'm not thinking about the result at all, I just want to concentrate on doing the best I can do."
Valentino Rossi - Position: 8th Time: 1'56.269 Laps: 44, "Earlier this evening it was a bit warmer than at the last test and it was helping us quite a lot, because we were already faster and lapping close to the leaders. Unfortunately later on in the second practice the track seemed more slippery and we suffered a lot. We just didn't have enough grip and we weren't able to improve on our time from the previous session. We weren't able to completely sort out the problem tonight but we will have a good look at the data and try to find the right step for tomorrow, I think we need a slightly harder setting. I'm really sorry that Pedrosa fell, and I hope that he is okay. I was riding normally, if not at lap record pace, but I think he was travelling faster behind me and wasn't able to stop when he exited the turn and hit me from behind. It was unlucky. Finally, I want to say again that the lighting is very good and now honestly I am not really thinking about it, it seems like normal!"