The familiar night lights of Losail kicked off the second session of the day for the lightweight class but the change in conditions brought many of the same names to the fore. Aron Canet’s own change of scenery to Max Biaggi’s squad seems to have benefited the young Spaniard, who set up at the top of the standings halfway through the session and the seven tenths of a second gap proved a hurdle too high for his rivals.
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And new season, same old show-offs at the top. Reigning champion Marc Marquez was keen to demonstrate that he’s still the man to beat despite his lengthy recovery from his now notorious shoulder surgery. The Spaniard set camp at the top of the timesheets early on and showed consistent pace in the low 1:55s, although times were not all that relevant due to the drastically different conditions to race time. Regardless of such practicalities, the final couple of minutes turned into a fierce battle for FP1 supremacy.
The wind in Losail was no match for the enthusiasm of the intermediate class and one man who was keen to get back to familiar pastures was Tom Luthi, the MotoGP renegade leading the way for the Dynavolt squad for much of the session. However, the pastures were not all that familiar since the new season means Triumph making their loud entry in Moto2, marking a fresh start for the entire field. Teammate Marcel Schrotter took over top honours in the final few minutes of the session and led by two tenths of a second by the checkered flag.
Lightweight class bikes finally celebrated the official end of the off season in Qatar sunshine and no man was happier to be back than the perpetually prodigal son of Moto3, Romano Fenati. The Italian repented of his highly publicised sins and was welcomed back into the Snipers Team, rewarding them with excellent form in testing and following it through with the fastest time in FP1. Some challengers did present in the final ten minutes of the session but the Italian hit back and became the only rider to dip into the 2:05s and near the outright fastest lap of the circuit for the class.
Sam Lowes ended his preseason with a surge of confidence, the Gresini Kalex rider ending fastest overall, and topping four of the nine sessions of Moto2 testing over the three days at Qatar. The Englishman was fast over a single lap, but also had outstanding pace, lapping consistently in the 1'58s.
Tom Luthi ended the test as second fastest, making a much-needed step forward after his return to the Moto2 class, while Remy Gardner was third quickest throughout the test, two thousandths of a second faster than Augusto Fernandez in fourth.
Marcel Schrotter finished the final session of testing for the Moto2 class at Qatar as fastest, but it was Sam Lowes who ended the day fastest overall. Schrotter took a tenth off his best time from the previous session, but it was not enough to improve his overall standings on the day.
The top four in the final session - Schrotter, Xavi Vierge, Jorge Navarro, and Alex Marquez - all impoved their times, most of them moving up the overall order, but they could not get into the top four.
Romano Fenati heads into the first round of the 2019 Moto3 championship with some confidence, after an outstanding last test at Qatar. Fenati was fastest in six of the nine session, his Snipers Team teammate Tony Arbolino leading in another, and finishing as second overall. Aron Canet was the fastest KTM rider, the Sterilgarda Max rider ending a third of a second slower than Fenati.
Aron Canet improved his best time in the final session of testing for the Moto3 class at Qatar to end that session as quickest, and move up to third fastest overall. But the Sterilgarda Max KTM rider couldn't match the times set earlier by Snipers Team riders Romano Fenati and Tony Arbolino.
As a result, it is Fenati who finishes the final day of testing as fastest, with only his teammate Arbolino within a quarter of a second. Canet moves to third overall, ahead of Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Niccolo Antonelli, and John McPhee.
Conditions at Qatar are the best they have been throughout the Moto3 and Moto2 test, with lap records tumbling in both classes. After Moto3, it was the turn of the Moto2 riders to go faster than anyone on a similar machine before. By the end of the second session on the final day of the Moto2 test, eight riders had dipped under Jonas Folger's fastest ever lap of the track, Sam Lowes beating Folger's time by six tenths of a second.
The times are starting to drop on the final day of testing for the Moto3 class. In the penultimate session, both Snipers Team riders got under the existing circuit best lap held by reigning Moto3 champion Jorge Martin. Romano Fenati was over three tenths quicker than Martin's best time.
Sam Lowes has finished the second day of the Qatar test at the top of the Moto2 timesheets, the Gresini Kalex rider well inside the 1'59 bracket, and finishing just ahead of Remy Gardner on the SAG Kalex. Both riders elected to skip the final session of the day, however, leaving the honors to Xavi Vierge and Alex Marquez of the Marc VDS squad.
The Snipers Team continue to rule the second day of the Moto3 test at Qatar. Romano Fenati ended the second day as fastest, beating his teammate Tony Arbolino and setting a blistering place at the end of the final session.
Aron Canet was the fastest KTM at the test, ending just a faction behind Arbolion, but two tenths quicker than Lorenzo Dalla Porta in fourth, and another tenth quicker than Kaito Toba. The test finishes on Monday, with the action resuming on Friday at the first round of the 2019 season.
Romano Fenati continues to feature at the top of the timesheets on the second day of the Moto3 test in Qatar. The Snipers Team rider was easily fastest in the first session of practice, and could keep just ahead of Lorenzo Dalla Porta in the second session. Kaito Toba was third fastest on the Honda Team Asia bike, a tenth of a second faster than Darryn Binder, who was the fastest KTM rider. Kazuki Masaki was fifth quickest, nearly two tenths behind Binder.
With the wind having died down since yesterday, the times are starting to drop. And drop fast: the fastest three riders in the second session of Moto2 practice at Qatar were under Jonas Folger's pole record lap from 2016, with more possibly to come if conditions hold.
Brad Binder has finished the first day of the Qatar Moto2 test on top of the timesheets, putting in a blistering lap at the very end of the final session to break through the two minute barrier and into the 1'59s. The Red Bull KTM rider's lap put him four tenths clear of Sam Lowes in second, on the Gresini Kalex, who was in turn just a fraction quicker than Iker Lecuona on the American Racing KTM.