Lorenzo under lap record to maintain Qatar domination

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Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo will start the opening weekend of the 2016 MotoGP season as the clear favourite, after continuing his run of form at the Losail International Circuit on the final day of pre-season testing.

Finishing the day over half a second clear of surprise runner-up Scott Redding, he was the only man to dip under the 1m55s mark throughout the test with a 1:54.8 lap well clear of the race lap record of 1:55.1.

Redding’s Pramac Ducati was something of a surprise in second, but comes after an ultra-strong three days for him, building on the strengths of the new bike to set a fast time late in the day.

He pushed out another of the surprise packages of the test, Maverick Viñales, who was only 0.007 back, with only a further 0.069 to Marc Marquez in fourth. Much more upbeat than he has been the double world champion made real progress with the Repsol Honda to set his time in the dying minutes.

Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi was fifth, pleased with his pace over both the test and the final day, while Andrea Iannone was the first of the factory Ducatis in sixth.

Cal Crutchlow was seventh despite a big crash in the closing stages of the day that left him with a groin injury, while fellow Brit Bradley Smith was perhaps more content than his twelfth place suggests after ending the day happy with his progress.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer