Pecco Bagnaia has topped the timesheets in only his second ever free practice session in the Moto2 class. The Sky VR46 rider put in a late charge to dislodge Taka Nakagami from the top of the timesheets, who just inched ahead of Fabio Quartararo. With Bagnaia and Quartararo in first and third, that puts two of the Moto2 rookies in the top three.
Tom Luthi has made good on his status as Moto2 championship favorite, ending the first session of free practice for the intermediate class at Qatar. Luthi led a very close field, Taka Nakagami ending second, just eight hundredths of a second behind Luthi, and less than six hundredths ahead of Miguel Oliveira on the KTM.
Press releases from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the final day of testing at Qatar:
Top-10 for Rodrigo and Guevara in the last preseason test in Qatar
The last preseason test ended today for the Moto3 class, just few days before the first Grand Prix of the 2017 World Championship.
Franco Morbidelli and Taka Nakagami cemented their status as Moto2 front runners at the Qatar Moto2 test, Morbidelli ending the final day of testing as fastest, Nakagami leaving Qatar as fastest rider overall.
While the high winds which have battered the Losail International Circuit on Sunday have badly hampered the Moto3 class, the larger, heavier Moto2 bikes have had less trouble with the wind. After the first two sessions of the last day of the test, Franco Morbidelli is once again the fastest man in the Moto2 class. The Marc VDS rider was quickest in the second session, nearly three tenths quicker than Miguel Oliveira had been on the KTM in the first session of the day.
Takaaki Nakagami has taken back control of the Moto2 class, topping the final session of the day for the Moto2 class to end the second day of testing as fastest. The Honda Team Asia rider held off the Marc VDS riders, both of whom had previously monopolized the top of the timesheets. Franco Morbidelli set the second fastest time of the day, just five hundredths of a second slower than Nakagami, while Alex Marquez was nearly a quarter of a second off the pace of the Japanese rider.
After losing the first day of the Moto2 and Moto3 test to rain, both classes got straight to work once the track opened at a dry Losail Circuit in Qatar today. Conditions were far from ideal, though, as reflected in the times. On a hot track during daylight, fastest Moto2 man Tom Luthi was 2 seconds slower than the Moto2 pole record, and Romano Fenati was a second and a half off the pole record for the Moto3 class.
The final test of the 2017 preseason for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes has had to be abandoned after the first session. Dark clouds and high winds had threatened the track during the opening Moto3 session, with only a handful of bikes taking to the track. But heavy rain started falling shortly afterwards, leaving the track soaking, and not drying out. After consultation with the teams and riders, the test was abandoned.
Miguel Oliveira is one of the brightest minds in the Grand Prix paddock. A quiet, calm presence, the Portuguese rider is widely admired throughout the paddock. His modesty and his down-to-earth attitude mean that he does not garner a great deal of attention off track, nor does he seek it.
His performance on track does, though. Oliveira came very close to winning the 2015 Moto3 championship, staging a remarkable comeback which saw him recover from a 110-point deficit with six races to go to close to within 6 points of Danny Kent at Valencia. At the Jerez Moto2 tests, Oliveira was similarly impressive, finishing regularly in the top three.
That success is in no small part due to his return to Aki Ajo's Red Bull KTM Ajo Motorsport team. At Jerez, Finnish team manager spoke glowingly of his return to the fold, and Oliveira returned the compliments. We spoke to Oliveira at some length at Jerez, covering a vast range of subjects. Oliveira spoke of the KTM Moto2 bike, and of its development. He told us why he went endurance racing last year, and what he is doing to help develop young Portuguese talent. And he talks about his other career, studying to be a dentist. That study, and his approach to it and to racing, gives a fascinating insight into a very intelligent and grounded young man.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams at the end of the three-day IRTA test at Jerez:
Márquez and Morbidelli top the timesheet in Jerez
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS dominated proceedings at the three-day IRTA Jerez test, with Álex Márquez topping the combined Moto2 timesheet and Franco Morbidelli finishing just over a tenth of a second behind in second place.
Márquez's time of 1'41.989, which he posted in today's opening Moto2 session, was more than half a second under the existing Jerez pole position record, set by Sam Lowes in 2016.