The intermediate class had no trouble warming up after a long winter in the thirty odd degrees of Qatar and one name who definitely benefited from a change in scenery is Lorenzo Baldassarri. The Italian made the jump to the Pons team after an underwhelming 2017 campaign and the first signs are extremely encouraging, Baldassarri consistently in the top five of FP1 and leaving it late to sneak ahead of his challengers and grab the headlines by two tenths of a second.
Miguel Oliveira won’t be a surprise in second position as KTM’s lead title campaigner, the Portuguese rider narrowly edging ahead of the surprise of the session. Romano Fenati got a head start in the battle of the Moto2 rookies, the Italian making a late jump into the top three and if that wasn’t impressive enough, he actually topped the session briefly. The sole Marinelli Snipers Team rider eventually had to settle for third, five hundredths of a second behind Oliveria, but he surely has no complaints about that performance.
Seen as another big title contender, Alex Marquez started his season in true Marquez fashion, having a big moment while leading the session early on. The Spaniard dropped to fourth in the standings despite a few further improvements to his lap time, finishing three tenths down on the leader.
Two more names that consistently got in the way of Marquez and Baldassarri throughout the session were Marcel Schrotter and Jorge Navarro, who ended up fifth and sixth. After an eventful 2017 season, Navarro seems more settled in the intermediate class, comfortably mingled with the favourites from the off and kept very much within track limits.
It was an innocuous start for another Moto2 headliner, Pecco Bagnaia steadily climbing into the top seven, half a second off the leader and followed by his equally notorious compatriot, Mattia Pasini in eighth position. The top ten was completed by Remy Gardner and Brad Binder.
Reigning Moto3 champion Joan Mir took it easy on his first official outing in the class and made his way to eighteenth position, one second down on Baldassarri.
|9||87||Remy GARDNER||Tech 3||2'02.327||0.726||0.099|
|14||52||Danny KENT||Speed Up||2'02.449||0.848||0.029|
|19||64||Bo BENDSNEYDER||Tech 3||2'02.942||1.341||0.258|
|21||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||Speed Up||2'02.967||1.366||0.014|
|29||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||2'04.370||2.769||0.035|