British rider Scott Redding came close to creating a slice of history for himself in Qatar tonight when he finished second fastest in the first ever official Moto2 practice session.
The Marc VDS Racing rider looked like he would head a 40-strong field in the new 600cc four-stroke class when he led the session with just three minutes remaining. A best lap of 2.03.834 with 14 minutes remaining had put the 17-year-old on top of the timesheets by just 0.072s from former MotoGP podium finisher Alex de Angelis.
But San Marino rider de Angelis denied Redding top spot when he logged an impressive lap of 2.03.239 in the closing stages to finish 0.595s clear of the field.
Redding had looked in confident mood all evening on the Suter MMX machine having been boosted by a brilliant fourth place at the final test session in Jerez. That had followed a tough early transition from the 125GP class for Redding, who had been only 28th and 30th in the opening two official tests.
Redding claimed second spot from reigning 125GP champion Julian Simon by just 0.034s. The Aspar RSV rider clocked a best time of 2.03.868 to beat Dominique Aegerter into fourth spot as less than two seconds covered the 20.
Stefan Bradl on a Suter MMX and experienced Italian Roberto Rolfo also on a Suter MMX completed the top six Tech 3 rider Yuki Takahashi showed plenty of early promise and the Japanese rider led the early stages on the new French machine, but he tumbled down the timesheets to end up only 11th fastest. He clocked a best time of 2.04.537 that left him 1.298s off de Angelis but was well clear of Tech 3 team Raffaele de Rosa who was left down in 23rd.
Pre-season favourite and former MotoGP winner Toni Elias was down in 13th spot on the Gresini Moriwaki bike. The Spaniard is still recovering from recent surgery to repair a broken left foot and finger when he crashed heavily at the final test in Jerez. A best lap of 2.04.554 saw Elias end up 1.315s off the pace.