The second day of testing for the Moto2 and Moto3 teams at Qatar saw winglets infect the junior classes like a rash of smallpox. In the Moto3 class, the Mahindras and Peugeots (which are basically rebadged Mahindras) grew small side winglets, of the type first tested at Jerez two weeks ago. In Moto2, Dominique Aegerter's CarXpert Kalex sprouted a couple of massive drop winglets coming off the back of the tail unit.
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The final test of 2016 for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes has begun, the Grand Prix support classes circulating in separate sessions at Qatar in preparation for the season opener next weekend. The division into separate sessions did mean that both classes lost their first session to Qatar's peculiar conditions, running during daylight before getting a chance to roll in the evening under the floodlights. They put the time to good use, however, cleaning the sand and dust off the track which had gathered there since the MotoGP riders had left a week earlier.
Jorge Lorenzo leaves the Qatar test with a commanding lead at the top of the timesheets. The Movistar Yamaha rider put in a fast lap early in the test, and spent the rest of the test working on a race simulation, running full race distance during the test. Scott Redding ended the test in second spot, putting in a few hot laps on the Pramac Ducati GP15 towards the end of the test, when most riders switched from testing to going for a fast time.
Nicolo Bulega has ended the final day of Moto3 testing at Jerez on top of the timesheets. The FIM CEV Moto3 Junior world champion was impressive throughout the test, finishing eight hundredths ahead of Brad Binder on the factory Red Bull KTM. Fellow rookie Joan Mir took third spot, the Leopard Racing rider under two tenths off the time of Bulega. Niccolo Antonelli was fourth fastest on the final day, ending ahead of Jorge Navarro and Romano Fenati. The top six were all within three tenths of each other on Friday.
Jorge Lorenzo has posted a scorching time on the last day of testing at Qatar, the Movistar Yamaha rider lapping faster than the race lap record held by Casey Stoner, and seven tenths off the pole time set by Andrea Dovizioso last year, using the special softer rubber the Ducatis were allowed to use. Lorenzo has been fast throughout testing, and so far, Friday is no different, the reigning world champion figuring at or near the head of the timesheets all day.
Sam Lowes has ended the final day of testing for the Moto2 class on top of the pile, the Gresini rider edging out Italian Lorenzo Baldassari by just under a tenth of a second. Lowes was not just fast over a single lap, he also put in a very impressive stint of laps during a half-distance race simulation. Overall, Lowes showed outstanding pace, lapping consistently in the 1'42s.
The only change in the final hour of testing was for Cal Crutchlow, who improved to thirteenth. Several riders did long runs and race simulations today, with Andrea Dovizioso's race run the most impressive, putting in his fastest lap during the 18-lap run, and doing four laps in the 1'55s.
Times at the end of the second day of the Qatar MotoGP test:
As the second day of testing at Qatar starts to wind down, Maverick Viñales remains fastest, leading Andrea Iannone by just under a tenth of a second. Jorge Lorenzo is in third, a pleasingly symmetric 0.099 seconds behind Viñales, and ahead of another gaggle of Ducatis, with Scott Redding ahead of Hector Barbera and Andrea Dovizioso, making it a clean sweep of Ducati flavors represented in the top five. Dani Pedrosa has jumped up the timesheets to be the first Honda rider in seventh, sitting just ahead of Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez.
Axel Pons posted a blistering time on Thursday morning to top the timesheets of the second day of Moto2 testing at Jerez, scorching to a lap of 1:41.730, over a second under the pole record set at the Spanish circuit by Stefan Bradl in 2011. Though times during testing are always considerably quicker than during the race weekend, owing to much lower track temperatures creating more grip, Pons' time remains deeply impressive. All the more so because it is nearly half a second quicker than the best time of Alex Rins, hot favorite for the 2016 Moto2 title.
Romano Fenati has topped the timesheets on the second day of the official IRTA test for the Moto3 class at Jerez. The Team Sky VR46 rider put in a strong charge in the last session of the day, leading an Italian onslaught on Thursday. Only Jorge Navarro could mix it with the Italians, the Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider finishing just six hundredths shy of Fenati, though Navarro had also led the first session of the day in the early morning.
Maverick Viñales shot to the top of the timesheets shortly after 8pm in Qatar, taking over from Andrea Iannone and Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo had established a lead earlier in the day, only losing out in the last few minutes. More riders are starting to focus on long runs, including Valentino Rossi. Marc Marquez, currently 7th, suffered an early fall at Turn 1, shortly after going out. Marquez was unhurt.
Times shortly after 8pm on Thursday:
Final times at the end of the first day of the Qatar MotoGP test:
Nicolo Bulega has made an explosive start to the Jerez Moto3 IRTA test, topping two of the three sessions on the first day of testing, and ending the day as fastest. The Sky Racing VR46 rider was over a quarter of a second faster than Niccolo Antonelli on the Ongetta Honda, who was in turn a tenth quicker then Estrella Galicia's Jorge Navarro.
Tom Luthi is the fastest man at the end of the first day of testing for the Moto2 class at Jerez. The Swiss rider was quick all day, ending the three sessions of practice just over a tenth quicker than Sam Lowes. The Gresini rider, now on a Kalex instead of a Speed Up, took second spot, though he did not put in a lap on the new experimental tire which Dunlop had brought, and which most riders used to set their fastest lap. Taka Nakagami ended the day in third, ahead of Alex Rins and Axel Pons, while reigning world champion Johann Zarco finished in 6th, nearly seven tenths down on Luthi.
With half of the first day of testing done at Qatar, it is Jorge Lorenzo on top of the timesheets, the first rider to break into the 1'55s, though still eight tenths off the race lap record at the Losail circuit. Ducati's Andrea Iannone is second, over half a second behind the Movistar Yamaha man, while Marc Marquez sits in third, a fraction slower. Maverick Viñales is fourth quickest, a fraction ahead of Scott Redding. Valentino Rossi had an early fall, though it was entirely without consequences.