Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) blitzed the Moto3™ field by the end of Day 1 at the VisitQatar Grand Prix; the only rider to go below the 2:05 barrier and an impressive 0.595 clear of FP1’s fastest man, the returning Romano Fenati (Snipers Team). It was close competition to complete the top three, however, as 2016 Qatar GP winner Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was third quickest but only 0.084 off Fenati despite a crash.
It was a record-breaking FP2 session as Canet’s time was well under the old lap record to throw down the gauntlet, and more than half a second in hand on Friday makes for good reading as the new qualifying format for the lightweight class begins this weekend. For the first time, entry to Q2 will be decided by the combined standings at the end of FP3 and the fourteen fastest earn automatic graduation.
Behind the top three it got seriously close, however, so competition will be tight. Less than four tenths separate fourth place Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) to 16th place John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing). Behind Migno, Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3), less than a week after fracturing his collarbone in testing, finished Day 1 in Qatar in an incredible fifth place. He led Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) by 0.090, with Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) just a further 0.005 in arrears.
Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team) cemented eighth on his final run with a 2:05.480, ahead of Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) and Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team) in ninth and tenth respectively. Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia), Reale Avintia Arizona 77’s Vicente Perez, Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Can Öncü and Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) are currently set to join them in Q2 – but there’s time yet for that to change in FP3. That begins at 13:25 (GMT +3) on Saturday.
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