The old adage about not judging a book by its cover seems particularly apt after the first day at Qatar. Fans and followers were hoping the changes made over the winter might shake things up a little, but they weren't expecting a revolution. At the top of the timesheets in MotoGP sits Aleix Espargaro on the Open class Forward Yamaha, nearly half a second ahead of the rest. In second place was Alvaro Bautista, not on an Open bike, but on a satellite Honda.
Takaaki Nakagami grabbed the lead position in FP2 at the Losail Circuit Thursday with a 2'00.522 -- a time that not only put him clear of the field it also was three tenths better than Pol Espargaro's pole time from the previous year. Tito Rabat, who led much of the late session, finished in second only five hundredths back. Sandro Cortese grabbed third with a fast lap one-tenth of a second behind the leader.
Mika Kallio made a late charge to take the top spot in the opening Moto2 practice of the 2014 season at the Losail Circuit in Qatar. Kallio's 2'01.46 put him one-tenth of a second clear of second place Thomas Luthi. Takaaki Nakagami, who led briefly during FP1, finished third at slightly more than a tenth back of Kallio. Moto2 favorite Tito Rabat came in fourth at the end of the session with Xavier Simeon in fifth. Last year's Moto3 champion, Maverick Vinales sits in eighth a half of a second from the top. All of the top times are similar to the Moto2 FP1 times from 2013.
It has been a long and confusing wait for the 2014 MotoGP season to begin. An awful lot has happened since the MotoGP bikes were rolled into their packing crates after the Valencia test and shipped back to the factories and workshops from whence they came. There have been shock announcements, shock testing results, and shock training crashes. There have been last-minute rule changes, made in an attempt to keep all of the different factions in the paddock from rebelling.
Press release previews issued by the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of the season opener at Qatar:
Podium the target for Rabat and Kallio in Qatar
Gosselies, Belgium – 17 March 2014: Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio head to the Middle East determined to get their 2014 Moto2 World Championship campaign off to a flying start in Qatar, after topping the timesheet at all three preseason tests in which they participated.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the last day of the final test at Jerez:
Tech3’s Schrotter and Cardus complete final pre-season as Qatar nears
Takaaki Nakagami leaves the Jerez Moto2 test as fastest, having dominated all three days of testing. The Idemitsu Team Asia rider was quickest on the final day of the test, just as he had been on Tuesday and Wednesday, holding a comfortable lead over Sandro Cortese on the Intact GP bike. Behind the leading Kalexes came a trio of Suters bearing Thomas Luti, Xavier Simeon and Johann Zarco.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the second day of testing at Jerez:
Miller returns to the top of the timesheets
Australian Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes the fastest time of the second day of testing at Jerez, with teammate Karel Hanika seventeenth.
03/12/2014 - Jerez Circuit
Takaaki Nakagami has topped the timesheets on the second day of the final Moto2 test at Jerez. His advantage is slim, though: the Idemitsu Team Asia rider was just fifteen hundredths quicker than Tom Luthi on the Interwetten Paddock Suter, the Swiss rider holding off former Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese. Cortese had a very strong day on the Intact GP Kalex, ending the day in 3rd, and over a tenth ahead of Johann Zarco on the AirAsia Caterham.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of the final test at Jerez:
JEREZ HOSTS FINAL TEST OF MOTO3 PRESEASON
MAPFRE Aspar rider Juanfran Guevara forced to make front suspension changes to deal with strong winds