The 2016 MOTOGP World Championships’ light went off today at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar under the lamination of the Desert Floodlights with Jorge Lorenzo maintaining his lead over the rest of the field
After a successful completion of runs for both the Moto2™ and Moto3™, MotoGP™ riders went for their on run on the desert track before the desert wind blew sands on the track to change smooth running on the asphalt. The Intermediate and Junior classes left rubber on the asphalt to further hinder the premier class but some riders were still able to notch in their speed to claim spots in the table.
World Champion and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo rode the fastest lap in the first ten minutes clocking a best time of 1’55.440 on his 15th lap to take the lead as he did during the Tests last month.
Valentino Rossi after 17 laps was able to work his way to second and lapped 1’55.707, just 0.267s back on his teammate Lorenzo. Both Rossi and Lorenzo looked comfortable throughout testing and have continued their rapid pace into the race weekend.
Andrea Iannone of the Ducati Team rode a 1’55.736 aboard the Desmo16GP bike followed by Avintia Racing Ducati GP14.2 of Hector Barbera, the Spaniard clearly benefitting from the more level field created with the introduction of the spec ECU and unified software. Barbera, known for his ability to produce a single flying lap, ending fourth with a 1’55.810.
Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed the top five. Tech3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro was sixth fastest and behind him were the both factory Honda machines of Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez in seventh and eighth respectively in FP1. The Spaniard set a 1’56.051 while his teammate, Bradley Smith, ended down in 11th. Smith also suffered a crash at Turn 13, the Brit unhurt in the fall but forced to end his session early.
Teams were able to make several adjustments between the Qatar Test and Free Practice 1, the Repsol Honda Team bringing a larger set of winglets for the opening round. Dani Pedrosa led the Repsol Honda Team charge in seventh, no Honda machines inside the top five as they continue to struggle with the RC213V, especially in Qatar. Marc Marquez was 0.160s back on his teammate, ending the session eighth and 0.810s back on Lorenzo’s time.