Fierce competition and fastest laps: the stage is set in the desert 1After a long winter break, we look upon testing as the first answers to the questions raised by rider moves, current form and potential that begins to brim in the final races of the season before. But really, it’s more a teaser that whets our appetite ahead of the first Grand Prix of the season and even then, it’s when the lights go out for racing that we really get some answers. So Day 1 in the desert kept us guessing in tantalising style with records broken, mysteries solved and ups and downs for many on the grid – a perfect storm of unpredictability and fierce competition for the VisitQatar Grand Prix.

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was undoubtedly the headliner of Act 1, however. The now seven-time World Champion’s new lap record – nearly half a second clear at the top – laid down an early benchmark that puts him squarely in the driving seat but it’s not one-lap pace that’s been in doubt for the Spaniard. Coming back from surgery to his shoulder, longevity and consistency is the question on everyone’s lips. And behind Marquez’ eyebrow-raiser of a 1’53.380, the riders were packed together down the timesheets.

The first of those was Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). After a more difficult season at times in 2018, consistency is also a key word for him and the Iwata marque so topping testing and showing some solid pace on Day 1 is a good start. He did have some close company in the form of Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) though – top Independent Team rider on Friday and fastest Ducati – as the Australian ended Friday just 0.054 off the Spaniard.

Next up behind Miller was another Ducati: Mission Winnow Ducati Team newcomer Danilo Petrucci, who was the top Borgo Panigale factory team rider once again – as he was in testing. Teammate and 2018 Qatar winner Andrea Dovizioso was in P6 but not far off, however, and therein came the seemingly solved mystery: the switch seen on the Ducati in testing was spotted in action on Day 1 and it appeared to fit with the rumour mill theory of a holeshot device for race starts. Will we see more on Saturday?

Biker T-Shirts UK

Splitting the two Italian factory machines was another impressive performance from Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT). The French rookie was the fastest newcomer to the class once again, and threatened the top just like in testing. So that seems one question answered: yes, he can do it again. And his teammate, Franco Morbidelli, had a solid showing on Day 1 too – slotting it just behind ‘DesmoDovi’, pushed down to P7 by just 0.019 despite a crash.

Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins, another superstar in testing, was eighth quickest on Friday by another tiny gap of less than half a tenth, just ahead of Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro. Espargaro, who was well within the top ten at the Qatar Test too, was another answer revealed on Day 1 – it’s a feat that can be repeated during the race weekend. Rookie Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed the top ten after shooting first in the time attack at the end of FP2, only a tenth off teammate Rins and briefly top before times tumbled.

So who’s missing in the provisional top ten of Q2 qualifiers? First is the still-recovering Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team), near the top in the morning, who just got relegated to 11th by Rins’ final fast lap at the end of FP2. And Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), the fastest man in the first session just ahead of Lorenzo, ended the day in 17th overall and was just 0.005 ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro so the two will be pushing to move forward in FP3. Will Rossi deal a faster hand when we head back out on track for more? Will the conditions allow those outside the top ten to improve? Or can those between the ‘Doctor’ and old nemesis Lorenzo – Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Alma Pramac Racing) and Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) – set us up for a Q1-shootout to remember?

Winning margins used to be minutes, then they became seconds, tenths, hundredths…now it’s thousandths that separate the laptimes for one of the strongest grids ever seen. Day 1 set the stage for a stunning Saturday at Losail International Circuit, so make sure to tune in for qualifying from 20:00 (GMT +3) local time.



MotoGP Gallery

Marquez makes history for Honda ahead of a Ducati duel for the podium 1Marquez equals Rossi with pole, Petrucci and Miller complete the front row 1Vinales fights off Marquez to go fastest in France 1Alpinestars Presents: Limited Edition Johann Zarco 2019 Supertech R Race Replica 2“I expect to be fast”: fighting talk in France 1Alpinestars Launches: 2019 MM93 Collection 1From the City of Light to Le Mans: Quartararo, Zarco and Lorenzo make a pit stop in Paris 1Motorcycle GP Legends To Appear at the Silverstone Classic 1BMW M Power for the fastest qualifier in 2019 1Andrea Dovizioso stuns Silverstone to retake the Championship lead 1MOTOGP STAR DOVIZIOSO TO RACE FOR AUDI IN THE DTM 1Quartararo crushes his lap record in testing 1Marquez wins, Rins gains and Quartararo heads home heartbroken 1Not too fast for Fabio: rookie makes history as he takes pole in Jerez 1Kunii takes Jerez 1 from Tatay and Baltus 1Ducati vs Honda: it's a head-to-head on Day 1 in Jerez 1Jerez Turn 6 named Dani Pedrosa 1"There are a lot of fast riders": fierce competition expected in Jerez 1Dovizioso: horsepower in Jerez 1Alex Rins fights off Rossi for first win as Marquez suffers shock crash at COTA 1Alex Rins fights off Rossi for first win as Marquez suffers shock crash at COTA 1Marquez on pole, Rossi in hot pursuit: can the 'Doctor' stop the King of COTA? 1Maverick Vinales deposes Marquez on Day 1 1Number 69 retired from MotoGP™ 1“It’s a very tricky track”: riders saddle up for Austin 1Marquez dominates ahead of a Rossi vs Dovi last lap duel 1Marquez dominates ahead of a Rossi vs Dovi last lap duel 1Full tilt at Termas: Marc Marquez fights off Viñales and Dovi for pole 1Dovi tops the Termas shuffle as 21 riders finish Friday within a second 1Teeing off at Termas 1



Grid Girls Gallery by Grid Girls UK
Ducati MotoGP - Silverstone 2014Ducati MotoGP - Silverstone 2014Ducati MotoGP - Silverstone 2014Ducati MotoGP - Silverstone 2014Pramac Ducati MotoGP Silverstone 2014Gresini Honda - Silverstone 2014Gresini Honda - Silverstone 2014Gresini Honda - Silverstone 2014Gresini Honda - Silverstone 2014Baldassarri_Silverstone4Pramac Ducati MotoGP Silverstone 2013Apsar MotoGP Silverstone 2012Pramac Ducati - Silverstone 2010Alstare Ducati - World Superbike - Silverstone 2013Ten Kate Honda - Silverstone May 2015MXGP Great Britain 2018MXGP Great Britain 2018MXGP Great Britain 2018MXGP Great Britain 2018MXGP Great Britain 2018MXGP Great Britain 2018MXGP Great Britain 2018MXGP Great Britain 2018MXGP Great Britain 2018MXGP Great Britain 2018Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – Oulton Park – May 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – Oulton Park – May 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – Oulton Park – May 2011Grid Girls UK models Maria and Becca working at Brands Hatch British Superbike 2011  From Grid Girls UK job and photo shoot archiveGrid Girls UK – British Superbikes – August 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – August 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – August 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – August 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – August 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – August 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – August 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – August 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – August 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – August 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – August 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – Brands Hatch – April 2011 v4Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – Brands Hatch – April 2011 v3Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – Brands Hatch – April 2011Grid Girls UK – British Superbikes – Brands Hatch – April 2011 v2MWR – British Superbikes – Brands Hatch – April 2011MWR – British Superbikes – Brands Hatch – April 2011 v5MWR – British Superbikes – Brands Hatch – April 2011 v4MWR – British Superbikes – Brands Hatch – April 2011 v3Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 17Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 17Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 18BMW - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 17Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 16Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 15BMW - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 14Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 13Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 12Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 11Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 10Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 9Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 8Kawasaki - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 7Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 6Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 5Grid Girls UK - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 4BMW - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 3Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012 2Ten Kate Honda - World Superbikes - Silverstone - 2012Motorpoint Yamaha - British Superbikes - Thruxton - September 2010Motorpoint Yamaha - British Superbikes - Snetterton - July 2010 v2Grid Girls UK - British Superbikes - Snetterton - July 2010Motorpoint Yamaha - British Superbikes - Snetterton - July 2010Grid Girls UK - British Superbikes - Snetterton - July 2010Grid Girls UK - British Superbikes - Snetterton - July 2010 v2Tyco - British Superbikes - Brands Hatch - September 2010Grid Girls UK - British Superbikes - Silverstone - October 2010Motorpoint Yamaha - British Superbikes - Silverstone - September 2010Tom Tunstall Racing - British Superbikes - s - Cadwell Park - May 2010Oulton Park British Superbikes October 2010Oulton Park British Superbikes May 2010Motorpoint Yamaha - British Superbikes - Cadwell Park - May 2010Motorpoint Yamaha - British Superbikes - Cadwell Park - May 2010Motorpoint Yamaha - British Superbikes - Cadwell Park - May 2010Motorpoint Yamaha - British Superbikes - Cadwell Park - May 2010Motorpoint Yamaha - British Superbikes - Cadwell Park - May 2010Motorpoint Yamaha - British Superbikes - Cadwell Park - May 2010Brands Hatch British Superbikes August 2010Brands Hatch British Superbikes August 2010Brands Hatch British Superbikes August 2010Brands Hatch British Superbikes August 2010Brands Hatch British Superbikes August 2010Motorpoint – British Superbikes 2010Motorpoint – British Superbikes 2010Pramac Ducati MotoGP Silverstone 2014DucatiMotoGP3Pramac Ducati MotoGP Silverstone 2014196098_10151043262382813_1645653679_nMindworks and SuzukiMindworks and SuzukiSpeedfit KawsakiNat working with Red Bull Honda in World SBKHannah working with Halsall Racing in BSBDani working with Honda Racing in World SBKDani working with Halsall Racing in BSBHoliie601542_286850204748655_236925374_n621388_447940558575471_1576202978_oHollie working with Halsall Racing in BSBJen working in British SuperbikesIndia working with Halsall Racing in BSBHolliePhoto ShootAli D in a photo shoot with Grid Girls UKMagic Bullet at Birmingham NECMarta and FerrariMaria and Marta working with Honda Racing in World SBKMaria in a photo shoot with Grid Girls UKDani and India working with Honda Racing in World SBKWSBK Silverstone 7Dani working with Honda Racing in World SBKAli D in a photo shoot with Grid Girls UKWSBK Silverstone 3Grid Girls UK photo shoot with Honda at WSBK Silverstone 1Ali D in a photo shoot with Grid Girls UKGrid Girls UK photo shoot with Honda at WSBK Silverstone 1Grid Girls UK photo shoot with Honda at WSBK Silverstone 1Ali D in a photo shoot with Grid Girls UKAli D in a photo shoot with Grid Girls UKSpecial Offer for Superbike News readers 1

15.6k Followers
Follow