Jorge Martin continues 2017 form in Qatar practice
Andrea Dovizioso has kicked off his Grand Prix of Qatar in the best possible way ending Friday at the top of the timing screens, stunning rivals with a 1.54.361 to put him just 0.006s ahead. It was the perfect test for race pace as bikes took to the track at the same time as the lights went out for the race to put track conditions to the most realistic test.
“Finishing both Friday sessions in first place in the opening GP of the season is always a great pleasure! Now however we must continue to work hard, because we found conditions that were quite different to those of the tests, and it’s much warmer.”
Fellow Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) completed the day as top independent rider in second position, as he set his time with three minutes remaining and only beaten by his compatriot.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) broke the Ducati dominance in P3, sitting 0.097s behind Dovizioso after a strong session and leading the way in the final ten minutes. Rins was also the first rider to break into the 1:54 bracket.
The most successful rider at the venue, Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), secured fourth position overall around Losail, and his time of 1.54.831 was set following a busy start to his session as his Ducati caused sparks to fly on the home straight.
Italian Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) wasn’t far behind his teammate Rins in fifth with a lap of 1.54.841, with reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) ending the day in sixth position just 0.001 ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa.
Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) sits in eighth as the second of the Independent team runners to go just ahead of ninth placed Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), who was unable to blast in a fast lap at the end of the session.
Frenchman and 2017 Rookie of the Year Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) rounds out the top ten on Friday in Qatar, with just half a second splitting the men provisionally into Q2 on Saturday. As yet, 2017 Qatar GP winner Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) is in eleventh on the combined timesheets.
Australian Jack Miller was P14 on the Alma Pramac Racing Ducati.
The fastest rookie was Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), with the Japanese rider taking back that honour after impressing in testing but getting edged out in the #QatarTest.
MotoGP Free Practice Nr. 2 Classification 2018
Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team 1’54.361
Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Alma Pramac Racing +0.006
Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +0.097
Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team +0.470
Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +0.480
Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team +0.489
Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team +0.490
Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL +0.491
Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +0.492
Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +0.551
2014 Moto3 Champion Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) started his season in perfect form by ending Day 1 in Qatar on top of the timesheets, just 0.038 in front of the returning Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) and 0.053 ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46), with all three gunning for the title this year. That made it Kalex-KTM-Kalex, with the battle hotting up already.
Álex Márquez – P1
“This is a very good start to the weekend and the important thing was to get a good feel for the track conditions in Qatar and prepare for the race. Overall I feel very good on the bike and I have a good rhythm on both of the two rear tyre choices for the race. Now we need to focus on making another step with the set-up before qualifying tomorrow but I’m confident that we can do that.”
Following a more difficult campaign last season for Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) – including mid-season injury – 2018 has started far better for the German as he concluded the day fourth quickest, with the fastest man in Free Practice 1, Lorenzo Baldassari (Pons HP40), close behind to complete the top five.
Expected title contender and three-in-a-row 2017 winner Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took P6, ahead of Isaac Viñales (SAG Team), Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and fastest rookie Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers).
Aussie Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) put in a strong performance for P12.
“It went quite positive here today, I feel good with the bike and I’m happy to be back to racing, finally. It’s our second year here, so we all have a bit more experience. It looks like we are off to a good start, so I hopefully we can keep up the great work and with it, keep the ball rolling.”
Reigning Moto3 World Champion and fellow rookie Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took P13 after missing the final preseason test through injury.
Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) started his season in much the same way as he finished in 2017: on top. The Spaniard’s Friday at Losail International Circuit saw him breaking the Moto3 lap record in the second Free Practice session after setting a 2:05.590, over six-tenths in front of a promising first day for 2016 Qatar winner Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse).
It was a closer battle for second, however, as Antonelli ended the day just over a tenth clear of countryman Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing).
Argentina’s Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) got off to a good start, finishing fourth on the combined standings on his KTM. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) and Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto Team) completed the top six, with Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) on top form with his new team as he took P7.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing), Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Philipp Oettl (Suedmetall Schedl GP Racing) locked out the fastest ten men on Day 1.
Unfortunately, it was a short weekend in Doha for Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) with the Japanese rider crashing in FP1 and fracturing his right forearm. He has been declared unfit for the remainder of the weekend.
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