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MOTOGP NEWS 

Yamaha confident it is catching Honda

Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha, Losail testing 2011The Yamaha riders were optimistic that they had narrowed the gap to Honda in tonight's MotoGP test at Losail, even though the timesheets still saw a Honda one-two-three at the end of the night.

Reigning champion team Yamaha had been off Honda's pace at the previous two tests at Sepang, amid complaints from the riders about a lack of engine power.

But the team was optimistic that at a track with cooler conditions it would prove more competitive, and though Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo were fourth and fifth today, behind three Hondas, the American was within 0.292 seconds of the pace.

"We made the bike go in a pretty good direction today and hopefully we can get a little bit more out of it," said Spies. "We want to try another tyre tomorrow that we haven't used yet, all in all it's been a good first session.

"The bike seems to be closer to the front than Malaysia and I've got pretty good expectations after the first day. The track is a lot more flowing here which suits our bike well; I think this should be a good track for us."

Lorenzo agreed that progress had been made.

"We tried a few different things on some corners today to try to make the bike more stable when I open the throttle; in almost all the gears we have done a good job," he said.

"It seems we are closer to the Honda guys than in Sepang so I'm happy. We are going to continue and try a few different things tomorrow to try and find some more grip as well."

Team boss Wilco Zeelenberg shared his riders' optimism and was pleased that Losail looked like being a stronger track for Yamaha.

"Our first test day and I'm satisfied with the results," he said. "Jorge did 60 laps and made the difference much smaller than Sepang. As we suspected when the temperatures are a bit colder we get a benefit.

"We did a small long run and the pace was good, a little bit slower than last year's race pace so the track needs to be a bit cleaner. We confirmed everything we needed to test so everything is under control so far."

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