Saturday, March 22, 2014

Team Drive M7 Aspar's Hayden & Aoyama Qualify Top-15 at Qatar MotoGP Season-Opener

22/03/14. 01 GP QATAR - LOSAIL - QP                                                                                                       


Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama improve lap times to seal thirteenth and fifteenth respectively

The first qualifying session of the 2014 season provided a memorable night in the history of the MotoGP World Championship as the top three riders on the grid qualified within a tenth of a second and the top nine were covered by less than half a second. With up to twelve riders showing podium potential here the first race of the new season promises to be as spectacular as the last lap from Marc Márquez that saw him snatch pole from Alvaro Bautista. 

DRIVE M7 Aspar riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama both saved their best laps of the weekend so far for the all-important qualifying session, the American clocking his best time on his penultimate effort and the Japanese on his last. Nicky even managed to light up a red third sector on his fast lap but, as he later admitted, he lost out in the fourth. A 1'55.894 was still four tenths quicker than his best lap yesterday and is enough for thirteen on tomorrow night's grid. Hiroshi made an improvement of half a second to his best lap and lines up two places behind his team-mate on the fifth row.  

13th Nicky Hayden 1.55.894: “I didn't expect to get down to the 1.55s without a tow, especially with the problems we have had in corner exit in T4, but it still wasn't enough to get into Q2. I would like to be starting the season from a better position on the grid in the first race but considering how new everything is to us we have to be satisfied and now we have to keep working to improve. It will be a tough race, I'll try to get a good start and keep up a fast and consistent pace for 22 laps. I haven't been focused on other riders while riding this bike so the first few laps should be interesting tomorrow night. Hopefully we can learn plenty and gather lots of useful data to help us in future with this bike.”

15th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.56.479: “From yesterday to today we made some set-up changes and I was able to ride more comfortably. Yesterday we knew exactly what we had to change and to be honest it had the desired result. We put a new tyre in at the end of the session that gave us a bit more grip and confidence. I was quite surprised actually, I didn't expect to have such a good feel for the rear end. The last two laps were very positive and we were able to take a big chunk out of the lap time. I felt we could have improved again with another lap but unfortunately we ran out of time. Anyway, I am happy with our improvement and finally now it's time to go racing.”

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