Day one of testing in Qatar is done and dusted and in the Tech3 camp there is more than one reason to smile. On one side of the garage,Johann Zarco continued from where he had left off, or rather immediately placing towards the front (4th) and demonstrating his significant potential; on the other side, Hafizh Syahrin continued getting to know the M1, completing 58 laps and closing just a second and a half behind his more experienced team-mate.
The Frenchman was one of the last to start the test: “I was waiting to go out on the track in order to find better conditions, but even when I went out around 4 this afternoon, it was very slippery and we were struggling a bit and honestly, went in a wrong direction.
Then came the turning point, with a small step back into the past.
“We understood quickly that we had to come back to what we know with better tyres. I rapidly found a decent pace, although it was complicated because the rear tyre dropped a lot compared to the last track we were on, so we really have to adapt the riding in the first laps and then still keep a fast speed when the tyre is sliding."
Only one day but already a lot of indications to work with in coming days, a positive session overall: “Overall, it seems like we’re competitive, which is the main thing and good for the confidence. Tomorrow we’ll use this great base again, which we found on the first day and try to improve it."
Syahrin is also pleased with his first day in the desert: “During this first day in Qatar I felt very good. We had a lot of confidence from the beginning. Later tonight, I experienced some minor issues, but after just some minutes, my great feeling was back.
Work is proceeding step by step, but the 58 laps completed have already provided more than one lesson.
“We tried to understand the new aerodynamics and by the end, I was able to give the guys some good feedback. I feel like I can improve even more, but we are trying everything step by step in order to avoid any obstacles, because if you’re going too quick too fast you can easily be confused."
The Malaysian demonstrated maturity, despite his MotoGP adventure having got underway quite unexpectedly, not to mention quickly. He has a clear goal in mind for tomorrow: “Today, I was smooth and calm, and I’m happy, that I can say, I already understand the bike now. For the second day, we’ll experiment further to make more progress."