Moto3: Martin under lap record on day one in Qatar

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Jorge Martin shattered the circuit record to top the timesheets after the first day of 2018 Moto3 action at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

The Del Conca Gresini Honda rider clocked a 2’05.590, some two tenths quicker than Livio Loi’s previous circuit best, to storm to the top in the second of the day’s two free practice sessions, a whopping 0.662 seconds quicker than his nearest rival.

A change to the Qatar schedule sees all Moto3 sessions taking place earlier in the day with Sunday’s race now set to be held in daylight conditions.  

Niccolo Antonelli, who shone in pre-season testing, got things off to a tough start on Friday with a crash in FP1, but a big improvement in the second session saw him place second quickest for the SIC58 team.

Fastest in FP1, Enea Bastianini was third quickest overall on his first day of official Grand Prix action with the Leopard Racing team ahead of Gabriel Rodrigo, the only KTM rider in the top five.

Fabio Di Giannantonio was fifth quickest on the second Gresini machine, while Andrea Migno completed the top six on the Angel Nieto Team KTM.

Toni Arbolino was seventh quickest on the opening day of action, ahead of Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Estrella Galicia’s Aron Canet, who had placed second quickest in the cooler FP1 session. Philipp Oettl rounded out the top ten.

Britain’s John McPhee was 14th on the overall timesheets despite a promising start having placed fourth in FP1.

It wasn’t the ideal start to the season for SIC58’s Tatsuki Suzuki, who was ruled unfit after sustaining a fracture to his right arm in an FP1 fall. 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing