Darryn gets to work as #QatarGP weekend starts in Losail
The Grand Prix of Qatar kicked off today in hot conditions, although the sky was cloudy during the first Free Practice session of the year in the afternoon. Yet, once the sun set over the Losail International Circuit, lap times got quicker on a cooler asphalt illuminated by the famous floodlights all around the 5.4-kilometer circuit outside of Qatar’s capital Doha. Throughout the day, both WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team riders got back in the rhythm of a race weekend and improved their lap times with nearly each exit.
Premier class rookie Darryn Binder stepped forward gradually throughout Friday. The South African found out more and more about the bike and the circuit and found himself eventually 1.762 seconds behind his teammate, but was optimistic to further close the gap to the front tomorrow.
Following the opening day of the season, the Qatar GP is set to continue tomorrow with Free Practice three at 13:15 local time (11:15 CET), followed by FP4 at 17:20 (15:20 CET) and the all-important two Qualifying sessions at 18:00 (16:00 CET) and 18:25 (16:25 CET) to determine the first starting grid of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship season.
“There’s a big difference from the test to the first official weekend. Just arriving this morning and you know that you have to be on time and you start when the green light goes green. It just gives everybody a different feeling. The whole vibe is different, it’s race weekend, which is super cool. I was feeling a bit strange going into FP1, as this is the beginning of the first official weekend. We started with some difficulties. I went out of the pits and unfortunately my belly pan broke, I had to come in after one lap and change it, which disrupted our plan a bit. I just wanted to be out there to learn, because we haven’t got that much time. At the end of FP1, I felt quite alright, did as many laps as I could and was just waiting for FP2 tonight to have better conditions. It started off quite good, I improved quite a lot, but later we had a bit of a technical issue, at the end I managed to improve again. I was looking for a lot more with the soft tyres. It’s been a difficult first day, though saying that, I feel I’m not too far from the other guys. Tomorrow, we’ll sort everything out and just do our best.”