Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder started the Qatar Test in fine form as he topped the timesheets on Day 1 with a 1:59.776, the only rider to dip below the two-minute mark for a demolition job on the opposition. The extremely windy conditions at the Losail International Circuit on Friday caused difficulties throughout the day, but by the end of it, Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was second on the timesheets thanks to his second session time of 2:00.178, 0.402 from Binder’s P1 effort, and third quickest was Iker Lecuona (American Team KTM). His third session time of 2:00.201 means we saw the same top three that ended the Jerez Test in the first three positions in Qatar.
Jorge Navarro (+Ego Speed Up) sits fourth fastest after the opening day, the Spaniard 0.493 from Binder after setting his best time in session two, with compatriot Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completing a top five covered by 0.653 after he improved in the last session on Friday. Just 0.015 behind Marquez is Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), his 2:00.444 enough to put him sixth, while EG 0,0 Marc VDS’ Xavi Vierge ends Day 1 in seventh – both riders going quicker in the final session.
Eighth overall on Day 1 was Augusto Fernandez aboard his Flexbox Pons HP 40 Kalex, with his 2:00.638 enabling him to finish 0.009 ahead of both Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) – both of whom set a 2:00.647 to complete the top ten.
In Moto3™, Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team) kicked off the final 2019 preseason test as the fastest rider after the Spaniard set a 2:07.753 to go 0.101 quicker than teammate Romano Fenati. The opening day at Losail International Circuit was seriously affected by strong winds in Doha, but in the end it was the two Snipers Team Honda riders who continued their strong winter testing form. Their nearest challenger was third placed Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing), 0.530 back from Arbolino, with his teammate Marcos Ramirez sitting fourth after Day 1 – and 0.560 splitting the top four.
Completing the top five was Honda Team Asia’s Kaito Toba, with sixth fastest Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), the 2016 winner in Qatar, the only other rider to get within a second of Arbolino – 0.881 the deficit.
Ai Ogura’s (Honda Team Asia) 2:08.784 puts the Japanese rookie in seventh place on Friday, with less than a tenth separating him from eighth place Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and ninth quickest Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race), who was also the leading KTM rider. The only man in the top ten who failed to improve their time in the third and final session of the day was Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3), the Argentine’s 2:08.926 set in session two.
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