The first day of testing started off slowly, with most of the teams opting to wait out the afternoon until the temperatures cooled, so conditions were closer to those of the traditional night race of Losail.
Jorge Lorenzo had a challenging start to the test, with a lack of grip on the slippery track slowing him down. Having waited until after 6pm local time before heading out, he rode a 1’57.351s lap and moved up to seventh place in the provisional session standings. He improved his times throughout the session and finished the day in sixth place on the timing sheets with a best time of 1’55.828s, +0.563s off the front.
Teammate Rossi also experienced some difficulties. An unlucky crash at turn eight on his third lap lost him one of his three sets of tyres for today’s session. Despite this misfortune, the uninjured nine-time World Champion soon got back on his way and rode his YZR-M1 to provisional tenth place with a lap of 1’57.557s. He later improved his time to seventh quickest with a 1’55.938s lap. The two remaining sets of tyres were not enough for him to take part in the time attack at the end of today’s session and as the pace of the field quickened he dropped one place, ending the day in eighth place, + 0.673 off the front.
Jorge Lorenzo6th / 1'55.828 / 43 laps
“It’s been very difficult to get onto the pace today. We don’t exactly know what happened, but it looks like we need much more grip on the rear when we enter the corners. I think we are still very far from our limit. The track is not very grippy, especially on the entry of the corners and also the curbs are very slippery and bumpy, so the track conditions are a bit strange compared to last year"
Valentino Rossi8th / 1'55.938 / 48 laps
At the end today it was not so bad. I had a quite good pace, we worked a little bit on the bike and we improved the setting. Unfortunately I had a crash at the beginning of the session. Fortunately I was not injured, but I did have one less tyre so I had to work the whole day with two sets and I was not able to do the time attack at the end. The feeling is quite good for the first day, the lap times are not so bad and it looks like this year’s battle will be very hard because all the bikes and the riders are very strong. Tomorrow we have to continue to work on the bike. We don’t have a lot of new things, but we’ll work on the balance and the setting and will try to improve the lap time.”