After the excellent start on the first day of the VisitQatar Grand Prix NTS RW Racing GP had hoped for more than eighteenth on the grid for Bo Bendsneyder and twentieth for Jesko Raffin. Both riders suffered from grip problems in the much cooler conditions on the Losail International Circuit during qualifying.
The conditions on the second day of the Qatar GP had changed dramatically compared to the first day, with much more wind, coming from a different direction, and considerably lower track temperatures. With FP3 in the hotter afternoon there was no real possibility to anticipate on the circumstances in which the two 15-minutes qualifying sessions were held.
Jesko Raffin was the first to head out on track in Q1. The Swiss just missed out on one of the four top spots that give access to Q2. Bo Bendsneyder had already gained access to Q2 by setting the twelfth time in FP2 on Friday, in much better conditions.
“With just fifteen minutes there wasn’t enough time to change the settings to help our riders”, RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen explained. “We were prepared for different conditions and we had a set of new tires ready, but it had extremely cooled down compared to any other session and we didn’t have the time to find an answer to that. It’s a real shame, because we know what would have been possible for both Jesko and Bo. Both of them did what they could. Eighteenth and twentieth is a bit of a disappointment after the good results during the test and on the first day, but our original goal was to grab points in the race and for that this position should be good enough.”
Bo Bendsneyder: “It was an extremely difficult session. I’ve never before had so much difficulties to ride these kind of lap times, fighting against the wind, almost being blown off the track. Would the conditions have been more like yesterday’s, it wouldn’t have been a problem to be around the top 12, but in these circumstances unfortunately it wasn’t possible. It’s a shame, but it looks to be better tomorrow so we’re going to fight for it in the race.”
Jesko Raffin: “The conditions were really very difficult with a hard wind coming from the other direction, right against us on the straight, and a lot cooler temperatures to what we had before. The feeling with the bike was much different and I didn’t feel very comfortable. We’ll have to make up in the race, and we still have the warm-up session to try some changes.”