Moto2 standings after the second race of the season:
Remy Gardner has topped the timesheets after the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class. The Australian just held off a charge by Luca Marini and Tom Luthi to clinch top spot by mere hundredths of a second.
Jorge Navarro impressed on the Speed Up, taking fourth just behind Luthi, while Jorge Martin was the quickest of the KTMs, under two tenths off the pace of Gardner. Nicolo Bulega, another rookie, was sixth quickest.
Andrea Dovizioso stormed from mid pack to take the top spot late in FP2 Friday afternoon as many riders saved their best for last as worries about Saturday rain turned Friday into a quasi qualifying session. Close on Dovizioso's heels -- so close, in fact, that he practically was inside the Italian's boots -- was Jack Miller at only nine-thousands of a second back. Miller, who briefly held the top spot, had crashed early in the session but remounted to set his fast lap late.
Thomas Luthi found himself at the top of the pack early in FP2 at Termas de Rio Hondo circuit and he managed to stay there and the session's end in spite of a late, fast run by Sam Lowes. Remy Gardner had the low-side save of the weekend (so far) on his way to third, just in front of August Fernandex (4th). Nicolo Bulega, who didn't complete a single lap in Qatar two weeks ago, also made a late run to climb into the top five.
Luca Marini, taking advantage of good weather to start the race weekend at the Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, set the fastest lap of FP1 Friday, just two hundredths of a second clear of Sam Lowes (2nd). Marcel Schrotter, who set his fastest laps toward the end of the session, seized third. Schrotter took third in the first race of the season.
Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's Argentina GP:
McPhee and Sasaki ready to improve results in Argentina
For a place which 95% of the paddock hates going to, Qatar certainly knows how to make us want to come back. The area between Doha and the Losail International Circuit has been a mixture of noisy construction, omnipresent sand and dust, and an ever-changing and convoluted road system (the route to the track regularly and literally changing overnight) ever since I first went to a race there in 2009. But once at the circuit, the track layout serves up some of the best racing in the world.
Fittingly, the title sponsor for the Qatar round of MotoGP was VisitQatar, the Qatari tourist office aimed at stimulating inbound tourism to the Gulf peninsula. To be honest, the best thing VisitQatar could do to attract visitors to the country is just play all three of Sunday's races on a loop. In the Moto3 race, the first eleven riders all finished within a second. The first five riders in MotoGP finished within six tenths of a second. And the winning margin in all three races was five hundredths of a second or less. These were races decided by the width of a wheel, the winner in doubt all the way to the line.
The MotoGP race was a thrilling affair, a close race from start to finish, with wild passes as far as the eye can see. Riders jockeyed for position, vying to make their contesting strategies pay off. Yet it still left some fans feeling empty, with the impression that they were being cheated of an even better race if the riders has been willing and able to go flat out as soon as the lights went out all the way to the end.