By the end of the first track action at Losail International Circuit, it was a familiar scene from preseason - a stunning Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on top, and Repsol Honda Team’s reigning Champion Marc Marquez in second, 0.596 off P1.
Another scene familiar from preseason was Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), who was third in the session – after the ‘Baby Samurai’ was the only other rider than Viñales to feature in the top five at every test in 2017 preseason.
Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) had yet another impressive session, fastest rookie and taking P4 on the timesheets on a final dash – with Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) completing the top five as the quickest Ducati on track as he debuts in a full GP weekend in red.
Another incredible performance came from Reale Avintia Racing rider Loris Baz, who shot up into the top six on his final lap. LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow recovered from an early mechanical problem to take seventh, just ahead of the second fastest rookie, Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was ninth quickest after a late improvement – but 1.483 off his new teammate Viñales. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider Aleix Espargaro completed the top ten.
There were crashes in FP1 for Sam Lowes (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) and Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team), with all riders okay.
Lüthi Out Front on Thursday
Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) topped the first practice session for Moto2 in the #QatarGP, with the Swiss rider’s time then enough to keep him top by the end of Day 1 on a 2:00.916 – despite a crash. Second was the fastest man at the Official Moto2 Qatar Test, Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completing the top three in a close fight.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS pairing Franco Morbidelli and Alex Marquez completed the top five overall, with all the first five posting their fastest laps in FP1. FP2’s superstar improver was Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46), who topped the second session to go sixth overall – fastest rookie with a 2:00.793.
Fellow rookie Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40) was another who improved in FP2 to end the day in P8 overall, just behind Italtrans Racing Team’s Mattia Pasini. Axel Pons (RW Racing GP) and Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) completed the top ten.
Second Forward rider Lorenzo Baldassarri was P11, with Danny Kent (Kiefer Racing), Xavier Simeon (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2), and Dynavolt Intact GP pairing Marcel Schrötter and Sandro Cortese locking out the top 15.
Oettl Fastest on First Day in the Desert
After proving fastest in FP1, Südmetall Schedl GP Racing rider Philipp Oettl remained top on Day 1 of Moto3 action at Losail International Circuit after FP2 as the wind set in and the field found it hard going in the lightweight class. Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) was second, with third placed rider Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing) in third but since declared unfit. The Argentine RBA BOE Racing rider crashed in the latter minutes of FP1 and broke his collarbone.
Rodrigo’s teammate Juanfran Guevara had more luck to end Day 1 in P4, with returning Romano Fenati locking out the top five for new team Marinelli Rivacold Snipers. Marcos Ramirez, despite two incidents in FP1, kept his P6 overall on Day 1 in an impressive showing for the Platinum Bay Real Estate rider.
Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) topped FP2 but remained seventh overall, ahead of rookie rocket Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team) in eighth. There were a number of incidents in FP1 and FP2 as the wind proved a tough adversary, including a crash for Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo), but the Italian remains ninth overall after a solid FP1.
Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team) completed the top ten with his time from the first session, despite a late crash in the second.