The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team pair leapt into action as the first day of the final pre-season test commenced at the Losail International circuit with both rookies outlining their intent for the year as they continued their notable form. The impressive Jonas Folger powered to 6th place with yet another eye-catching performance aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1, which left him as the fastest rookie in the field and also just 0.220 back from third. Whilst his teammate Johann Zarco successfully finished inside the top ten and a mere 0.026 behind multiple World Champion Valentino Rossi. Both riders will seek to carry on the positive momentum tomorrow on the second day of action.
Position: 6th - Time : 1'55.640 - Laps: 37
"Today was the first time that I experienced the Losail track on a MotoGP bike and I felt really good immediately, yet not just on the Yamaha, but also with regards to the track itself. The Michelin tyres are working well so we were able to get up to speed quickly and then we continued our solid work. The team and I began to set up the M1 a bit and I rode both of my bikes, which was useful because in Australia, we did not completely decide which one would be better for me. However, after today’s work, we now know the bike that we will use and we will carry on with it tomorrow. All in all, it was a great day and I am happy with how we commenced proceedings here. We will aim to maintain this positive start and gather as much information as possible when I get back on the track."
Position: 9th - Time: 1'55.705 - Laps: 54
"It was our first night in Qatar and I’m happy to be back on the Yamaha and working again. My feeling on the bike is already more positive than it was in Australia and I think that I have more references on this track. I was just doing my job but my times continued to get better and I moved up the field, which is pleasing. I am still working on my riding style so that I can get the best out of the M1 but we have a very high potential as the bike’s grip and it’s behaviour when it enters the corners is encouraging, therefore, I focused on improving myself on every lap. Once I am at a level that I am confident with, we will begin to adjust the bike more thoroughly. Nevertheless, today we made some advances with the Yamaha and I altered my style also so we were able to finish in a solid way. It has been a good start and I will keep pushing."