Honda Team Asia’s Takaaki Nakagami ended a busy penultimate day of the Qatar Moto2 test top of the time sheets, with both Marc VDS riders slotting in close behind.
The 5.4km Losail International Circuit was abuzz with activity as soon as the opening session was given the green light, after yesterday’s running was cancelled due to poor weather.
Last year’s Dutch TT winner Nakagami has been consistently fast throughout the pre-season, and is also fairly handy around the Qatari venue. He ended the evening’s running with a 2m00.187s to go 0.053s clear of the field.
Marc VDS Racing topped the final two days of the first official test at Jerez earlier in the month, and were on fine form again in Qatar. Franco Morbidelli edged team-mate Alex Marquez to second, the latter of the two denied a chance at bettering his time following a small off at Turn 5 during the final session.
Hafizh Syahrin put in a solid effort on his Petronas Raceline Malaysia machine in fourth spot, albeit half a second off of the pace. Ajo Motorsport’s Miguel Oliveira took the new KTM chassis to the fifth quickest time of Saturday, nine hundredths adrift of Syahrin.
CarXpert Interwetten’s Tom Luthi headed Pons Racing’s Fabio Quartararo in sixth, whilst Xavi Vierge was a decent eighth on the Tech 3 bike. Danny Kent was top Suter rider in ninth, with RW Racing’s Axel Pons rounding out the top 10.
Dynavolt Intact GP’s Marcel Schrotter has flown largely under the radar this pre-season so far, but the German upped his pace today to post the 11th fastest time with a 2m01.268s. Gresini’s Jorge Navarro was the meat in a Dynavolt sandwich in 12th, with Sandro Cortese a fraction off in 13th.
Julian Simon will replace the injured Iker Lecuona at the Qatar Grand Prix next weekend, and though the Spaniard called time on his racing career at the end of last season he has seemingly lost none of his speed.
The Garage Plus Interwetten stand-in was 14th quickest at the end of his first day on a Kalex chassis since 2014. Luca Marini completed the top 15 with a 2m01.436s on his Forward Racing bike.
Testing will conclude tomorrow, with the first session getting underway at 15:00 (GMT+3).