The lightweight class of Grand Prix racing can usually be described in one word: close. And after six days of official preseason testing at Jerez and Losail, 2020 looks likely to be no different. There were a few standout performers who pulled a gap on the rest at times, but in a race scenario? We’ve seen before how hard it really is to break away – and that’s just how we like it.
On the combined timesheets heading into the first race of the season, it’s Czech rider Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) who can arrive with a little swagger, having ended the test half a second clear of his nearest competitor. That nearest competitor was a very consistent frontrunner throughout preseason, however: Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia). A rookie podium finisher, the Japanese rider has kicked it up a notch for season two and was on the pace in both Jerez and Qatar.
Behind those two impressive performers lurks some big experience, however. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) was third quickest, Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) fourth, Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) fifth… and the names you know can stay with the front group just keep on rolling throughout the top ten: Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3), Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing), John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Albert Arenas (Aspar Team)… the class is stocked with speed, talent and experience, and we know that’s a recipe for some incredible racing.
There’s also the likes of Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) getting to grips with his new team, recent winner Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0), pacesetter in the rookie camp Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)… and the likes of Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) loiter just behind them, likely with more cards to play on race day…
In Moto3™, riding alone is very different to riding in a group with the help of the slipstream, and there are also the hurdles of Q1 and Q2 to master. A couple of names may have been nearest the top in testing so far, but the timesheets were otherwise incredibly tight – and if there’s one thing you can predict in Moto3™, it’s that the racing will be incredible.
Tune in on Sunday the 8th of March at 16:20 LT as the season opens for the lightweight class, with everything to play for.
QATAR TEST COMBINED TIMESHEETS
1 – Filip Salač – (Rivacold Snipers Team) – Honda – 2:04.892
2 – Ai Ogura – (Honda Team Asia) – Honda – +0.519
3 – Tony Arbolino – (Rivacold Snipers Team) – Honda – +0.545
4 – Tatsuki Suzuki – (SIC58 Squadra Corse) – Honda – +0.555
5 – Dennis Foggia – (Leopard Racing) – Honda – +0.585