Moto2 Top 13 within a second
Moto3 Top 20 within a second
Sunday at the Official Moto2 Qatar Test saw Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) snatch P1 in the intermediate class overnight, but the top three was covered by just 0.048 as Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) took second and opening day pace-setter Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) went third.
The conditions were fair on Sunday once again, and Lowes’ best is the quickest lap of the test as preparations continued for the coming race weekend.
Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) rounded out Sunday in fourth. After a wrist injury that could have been a career-threatener, getting straight back into the top five is no mean feat. That top five on Day 3 of the test was completed by Dixon’s team-mate Xavi Vierge, who was fastest on Saturday.
Jake Dixon – P4
“It’s been a great test and just being back on the bike was the main thing for me. I’m really enjoying riding and I just need to say a massive thank you to everyone involved who has got me back. It’s so good to be back with the team; they’re amazing, the bike’s amazing and I can’t wait to get started with race week now. I’ve really enjoyed every lap from every day and I can’t wait to do more laps next weekend. I’m just hungry to keep going, keep building and enjoy the Qatar race.”
Xavi Vierge – P5
“I’m so happy. We have made another step forward and improved the feeling in hot conditions. In Qatar it is important to be competitive in many conditions because it can change so fast. Now we are really ready. We came here with many things to try and I think that everything we have tried has been positive. This was so important to do. I have to thank the team as they have done a great job and I’m really looking forward to starting the season. We have seen that it is really tight, there are maybe 12 riders that are so close, but I’m confident that we are ready to fight next weekend.”
Johan Stigefelt – Petronas Sprinta Racing Team Director
“I’m very pleased with the test here in Qatar and we’ve worked really well on both sides of the garage. There was a lot to go through, we had a good test plan and we’ve been fast every session. It’s been a joy to see that. Xavi has been working on the bike’s settings and in the end we’ve found a good one and he feels good on the bike. He can find a good lap time and also good race pace. The pace during the race will be crucial and it’s important to have tyres left for the final five laps, to be consistent. That’s what we’ve been working towards. It’s been a hard winter for Jake with five months off the bike due to the injury from last year, but straight away he was up to speed. It was very impressive to see because it’s not easy to come back, especially after an injury, so it’s very nice to see. He now has a couple of days to rest up before Friday, so I’m pleased with him. The test has gone well and we look really strong, which is what we were expecting really. In terms of experience from last year we know we have a better pace now for sure. I’m very happy with both riders’ performance, so now that we’re ready we look forward to starting the season next week.”
Sixth place went to Bo Bendsneyder on Day 3 as the Dutchman continues to impress upon his move to Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team and Kalex. He was only 0.033 off Vierge as he made a late leap up the timesheets, and is another who has been consistently improving. Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) ends Sunday in seventh, another late to move up the timesheets but doing so in style.
Style is also a good word to describe the start of Raul Fernandez’ (Red Bull KTM Ajo) Moto2 career. Fastest rookie throughout, the Spaniard is on course for an incredibly impressive debut race weekend.
So too, now, is Albert Arenas (Inde Aspar Team) though as the reigning Moto3 World Champion shot up into the top ten on Sunday, only 0.052 off fellow rookie Fernandez. Arenas’ teammate Aron Canet completes the top ten, sliding down from second on Day 1 and Day 2 but another with some key consistency.
Albert Arenas – P9
“We finished the preseason with quite a good feeling in the last outings on the track. It has been difficult for me to be completely comfortable in this preseason and we still have work to do, but little by little the technicians and I are understanding each other and I am making the bike more my own. I am satisfied, I keep learning and I want to continue like this. Now we have a few days of rest and we can assimilate all this work.”
Aron Canet – P10
“When we put on a new tyre we were just as fast as on a 25-lap tyre, but with more sliding. We have lost a bit of pace, and pushing more than I had, I have crashed, without being able to improve my lap time. With another new tyre we improved the pace, but the feelings weren’t ideal from the previous run. I’m not happy with tenth place, it’s not the position we deserve, because we have a good pace.”
Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40) takes P11 by just 0.003 ahead of another impressive rookie in the form of Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), with yet another right behind him: Cameron Beaubier (American Racing). The American was only 0.016 off Ogura too… and pipped compatriot Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) by 0.011. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) completed the fastest fifteen, just edging out rookie teammate Tony Arbolino.
The stage is well and truly set for the first race of the season which gets underway on Friday as the Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar begins.
Qatar Moto2 Test Day Three Times
Fernandez R 1m59.030
Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) went quickest on Day 3 of the Moto3 Official Test in Qatar, topping the combined timesheets on Sunday by three tenths and with a lap quite a chunk faster than the previous record, although it will remain unofficial as it was set in testing.
And who was closest on his tail? His rookie team-mate Pedro Acosta, as both the 2020 Red Bull Rookies Cup winner and 2020 FIM Moto3 Junior World Champion Izan Guevara (GasGas Gaviota Aspar Team) continued their incredible rookie form, with Acosta second and Guevara taking fourth. Between the two debutants, Leopard Racing’s Dennis Foggia was third overall with more consistent speed on show from the Italian.
Izan Guevara – P4
“We have adapted well to the bike and the circuit, we have been fast from the start. It was a positive test; we were getting better and better and I’m very happy before the first race of the season. We have a good pace and with used tyres we are also strong.”
The conditions were good once again on Day 3, with Masia’s best lap taking a second off the fastest effort on Saturday. That best lap came late in the day but it was a cracker, a 2:04.263 as he pipped teammate Acosta by three tenths and set that new, unofficial scorcher. The two Red Bull KTM Ajos have been consistently quick, as have Guevara and Foggia, with the mix of veterans and rookies at the top making for interesting reading.
Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) was fifth quickest, 0.072 off Guevara, who was in turn only 0.015 off Foggia.
Sixth went to Day 2’s quickest man John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), ahead of 2020 Rookie of the Year Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3).
John McPhee – P6
“We continued to work our way through our test plan today, focusing on two key things to try and understand what’s working on different areas of the track. I think we’ve got a good understanding of where we’re at with the setting. I was happy with my lap time because it’s my fastest lap ever at Qatar and I even came across someone riding slow on their outlap, so there’s potential to go even faster. I’m really happy with our race pace as well. Overall it’s been very productive and we’ve tried a lot of different things. We’ve found a lot of things that work and also found some areas where if we’re struggling we know how to improve it.”
Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) kept his consistency to end the day eighth for Husqvarna, ahead of Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) in P9. Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing), quickest on Friday, rounds out the top ten.
Darryn Binder – P10
“Today was a really good day and I’m happy with how all three days have gone to be honest. We did a half-race simulation today, which was really good, to see how everything is going to work for next weekend. At the end we wanted to go for one final time attack but I didn’t get the cleanest of laps. I still feel like I’ve got more in the tank, so I’m really excited for next weekend and I’m chuffed with these three days. I think we’ve made a really good step in the right direction and I’ve adapted well to the Honda, I’ve taken a real liking to it. I’m now looking forward to seeing what happens in the race next week.”
11th was third rookie Xavier Artigas (Leopard Racing) as he settles into Moto3 as a debuting full time rider with a podium already under his belt, with Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert Pruestel GP) putting in a solid 12th on Sunday. Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3), Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) and Sergio Garcia (GasGas Gaviota Aspar Team) completed the top 15, the latter despite a crash – rider ok.
That’s it from the test, now all that’s left to do is race. Will the timesheets look similar once the race weekend begins? Who has the pace in race trim and who’s ready to battle it out as only Moto3 can? We’ll find out soon enough as the Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar begins on Friday…
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