Moto2 Qatar Test: Sam Lowes beats Marco Bezzecchi to top spot on day three
Sam Lowes pipped fellow 2021 Moto2 title favourite Marco Bezzecchi to end the final day of the Qatar Test at the top of the timesheets.
Only 0.013s split the two riders, with Lowes' fastest lap-time of 1:58.655 being enough to put him into first position. Remy Gardner, fastest on the opening day, completed the top three for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team.
Jake Dixon continued to make progress on the Kalex chassis in fourth spot, one place higher than he finished yesterday (March 20). The Brit is still recovering from the broken wrist he suffered in Valencia last November, so the signs look good for the Petronas Sprinta Racing rider.
Dixon's teammate Xavi Vierge, fastest on day two, completed the top five ahead of Bo Bendsneyder in sixth spot. Nicolò Bulega was seventh, whilst Raul Fernandez was the fastest rookie once again in eighth. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider is adapting very quickly to the bigger Moto2 machine.
Reigning Moto3 champion Albert Arenas enjoyed his strongest day so far in ninth, with Aspar teammate Aron Canet completing the top 10.
Rookies Ai Ogura and Cameron Beaubier were 12th and 13th respectively, with both riders ending their first official outings as Moto2 riders on a positive note. Beaubier, a five-time AMA Superbike champion, knocked another 0.483s off his lap-time with a 1:59.350. Fellow American Joe Roberts was right behind Beaubier in 14th.
Tony Arbolino ended the final day in 16th, whilst Fabio Di Giannantonio ended his first official test as a Gresini Racing rider in 18th spot. The Roman is continuing to adapt to the Kalex after two seasons using the Speed Up chassis.
The opening Moto2 race of the 2021 season takes place at the Losail International Circuit on March 28. The race is scheduled to begin at 16:20 (UK time).
Moto3 Qatar Test: Jaume Masia takes control on the final day
First published: 21 March 2021 at 16:36 by Josh Close
Masia, the highest-placed rider from last year's season to remain in Moto3, finished quickest overall with a fastest lap-time of 2:04.263. That gave Masia a healthy advantage of 0.306s over his teammate Pedro Acosta.
Acosta has already made quite the impression on the Moto3 paddock ahead of his maiden Grand Prix outing in Qatar next weekend. The 16-year-old is the reigning Red Bull Rookies champion and also won four Moto3 Junior World Championship races in 2020.
Denis Foggia completed the top three to end what has been a positive three days for the Leopard Racing rider. Reigning Moto3 Junior world champion Izan Guevara was fourth overall, making it two rookies inside the top four. It's clear already that Acosta and Guevara will pose a real threat to their more experienced rivals this season.
Gabriel Rodrigo was fifth, whilst John McPhee ended the final day in sixth. The Petronas Sprinta Racing rider was 0.624s off the pace set by Masia, with a best lap-time of 2:04.887. The last rider to drop into the 2:04s was Jeremy Alcoba in seventh spot.
Romano Fenati and Filip Salač were eighth and ninth respectively, whilst Darryn Binder completed the top 10 on the second of the Petronas Sprinta Racing bikes. Newcomer Xavier Artigas narrowly missed out on a place inside the top 10 in 11th, again showcasing the strength of this year's Moto3 rookies.
Today was the final chance for the Moto3 field to test their bikes before the season opener at the Losail International Circuit next weekend. The next time the riders exit pit-lane will be for FP1 on Friday (March 26) morning at 11am (UK time).
Moto2 Qatar Test: Xavi Vierge tops a highly competitive second day
First published: 20 March 2021 by Josh Close
On the combined timesheets the top six were covered by just 0.089s, with Vierge's fastest time of 1:58.832 enough to earn him top spot. Aron Canet finished second - just like he did on day one - and was only 0.026s off the time set by Vierge.
Jorge Navarro completed the top three after pipping Friday's pacesetter Remy Gardner by 0.006s, who in-turn beat Jake Dixon by the same 0.006s gap. Marco Bezzecchi was sixth, 0.021s slower than Dixon and just 0.089s slower than Vierge.
Getting inside the top five on only the second day is a really positive result for Dixon, who is still recovering from the broken wrist that he suffered towards the end of last season.
Bo Bendsneyder was seventh ahead of leading rookie Raul Fernandez, who finished eighth for the second day running. Sam Lowes was ninth on his Elf Marc VDS Racing machine, with Joe Roberts completing the top 10.
Tony Arbolino was the second-fastest rookie on day two, with the Liqui Moly Intact GP finishing 11th overall. Fellow rookies Ai Ogura and reigning Moto3 champion Albert Arenas finished 13th and 20th respectively, whilst Celestino Vietti was 28th.
Grand Prix newcomer Cameron Beaubier improved to 19th overall and was over a second quicker than the opening day, breaking into the 1:59s in the process.
Tomorrow's opening Moto2 session is scheduled to begin at 8:40am UK time, followed by two more sessions at 11:50am and 3:20pm.
Moto3 Qatar Test: John McPhee ends day two on top
First published: 20 March 2021 at 16:18 by Josh Close
The Scot, who ended day one in second spot, posted a lap-time of 2:05.286 to open up a gap of 0.309s over his closest challenger Dennis Foggia. McPhee did suffer a crash in the latter stages of the day but walked away unharmed.
"Today was a proper test day for us and we tried a lot of different things," McPhee said. "We managed to find a couple of things that show potential, even though it's been difficult with strong winds. At the end of the day we went back to basics and pushed for a lap-time, which saw us end quickest. In fact, it could be my quickest lap around Losail.
"It's been fantastic working Darryn [Binder] and I'm really excited for the final day of testing tomorrow. If the wind dies down, I think we can put all the pieces of the puzzle together, double check what we've found these past two days and finish the test as strongly as possible.
"If we could find a little bit more information about a couple of things tomorrow that would be great, and we'll have another push at the end to see what our qualifying pace is like. Even if the test ended now, I'm quite happy with what we've achieved."
Like McPhee, Foggia is enjoying a positive start to 2021 having ended day one in fourth. Andrea Migno completed the top three for the Rivacold Snipers Team.
16-year-old Spanish sensation Pedro Acosta - the reigning Red Bull Rookies champion - put in a stunning performance to end the day fourth overall. Acosta had a fantastic outing today (March 20) in what was only his second official day as a Moto3 competitor. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider also ended the morning session in second spot.
Filip Salač was fifth on the second Rivacold Snipers Team bike after narrowing beating Carlos Tatay by 0.093s. Tatay also had a crash but didn't suffer any injuries as a result. Jeremy Alcoba and Jaume Masia ended the second day in seventh and eighth respectively, with Romano Fenati and class rookie Izan Guevara completing that top 10.
Like Acosta, Guevara has had an impressive start to his maiden world championship campaign. The reigning Moto3 Junior world champion topped the second session of the day, beating overall pacesetter McPhee by 0.242s.
Guevara’s teammate Sergio Garcia just missed out on a top 10 spot in 11th, whilst Darryn Binder, fastest on day one, could only manage 13th. Xavier Artigas completed the top 15 for Leopard Racing. Artigas finished on the podium as a wildcard entrant at Valencia in 2019.
Tomorrow's opening Moto3 session is scheduled to begin at 6:40am UK time, followed by two more sessions at 10:30am and 2pm.
Moto2 Qatar Test: Remy Gardner leads the way on the opening day
First published: 19 March 2021 by Josh Close
The Australian posted a fastest lap-time of 1:59.074 and that was enough to beat 2020 Rookie of the Year Aron Canet by 0.269s.
Canet remains with the Aspar team this season, however there was a notable change with regards to the team's chassis. It appears that the Speed Up name has been renamed as Boscoscuro - the founder of Speed Up is former racer Luca Boscoscuro.
Joe Roberts completed the top three on his first official day with last season's title winning Italtrans team. The American ended the day 0.480s slower than Gardner, but will no doubt be pleased to have made a positive start with his new team.
Sam Lowes was fourth on the stunning Elf Marc VDS Racing bike. Lowes has been fortunate enough to test with the team at Jerez and Valencia before the official three-day test. The Brit heads into 2021 as one of the title favourites after a stunning 2020 campaign saw him miss out on the crown by just nine points - despite missing the opening race in Qatar.
“Today was a good start even though I had a small crash when I touched a dirty part of the track," Lowes said. "It was not an ideal start and cost me a bit of time on track, but I felt good this evening. We tried a few things with settings that were positive and negative, but I felt really good on the bike and I was very consistent.
"We can still improve, and I will have a look at a different direction tomorrow, but it was a solid day, and we have something to build on for day two.”
Nicolò Bulega was fifth overall ahead of Petronas Sprinta Racing's Xavi Vierge, whilst Marcel Schrotter and Augusto Fernandez were seventh and eighth respectively. Jake Dixon was ninth despite still nursing the wrist injury he suffered at the European Grand Prix last November.
"After spending time doing rehab work for my injury and training, it was very emotional to be back on the bike," Dixon said. "The first laps felt so good. After five months off the bike, it's been a great first day and the bike feels just as amazing as before.
"The wrist still isn't 100% so we're taking it step by step, but hopefully as each day goes on it will get better and better."
Raul Fernandez was the fastest rookie in 10th spot. The Spaniard was promoted within the Red Bull KTM Ajo setup after an impressive Moto3 campaign which saw him win two of the final three races.
Fabio Di Giannantonio was 11th on his return to Gresini Racing. The Italian spent three consecutive seasons with the team in Moto3 between 2016 and 2018, finishing as the runner-up in his final campaign. Di Giannantonio switches to the Kalex chassis after two years on the Speed Up.
Marco Bezzecchi, another of the title favourites, could only manage 16th overall on his Sky Racing Team VR46 machine. 2020 Moto3 runner-up Tony Arbolino was 17th on day one, whilst reigning Moto3 champion Albert Arenas was 23rd.
Five-time AMA Superbike champion Cameron Beaubier was 25th on his official maiden outing as a Grand Prix rider.
Tomorrow's opening Moto2 session is scheduled to begin at 6:40am UK time, followed by two more sessions at 8:30am, 11:40am and 3pm.
Moto3 Qatar Test: Darryn Binder tops the opening day ahead of John McPhee
First published on 19 March 2021 at 16:09 by Josh Close
The Moto3 and Moto2 teams and riders are at the Losail International Circuit for a three-day test ahead of the season opener at the circuit on March 28. Each day is split into three Moto3 sessions and three Moto2 sessions.
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On day one Binder was quickest on the combined standings ahead of teammate John McPhee. The South African posted a fastest lap-time of 2:05.750, which was only 0.026s quicker than McPhee.
"We didn't do the first session this morning because the conditions weren't great, so we started around midday and I got to start learning what the Honda is like around Qatar," Binder said.
"This afternoon myself and John were working together, it felt good and I could do a fast lap-time. I'm happy with how things have been going and I think I've taken to the Honda quite nicely."
Filip Salac ended the day in third spot on the Rivacold Snipers machine, ahead of Dennis Foggia and Gabriel Rodrigo. Jaume Masia, the highest-placed rider from 2020 to remain in the lightweight class, was sixth for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team.
Andrea Migno was seventh ahead of Romano Fenati, who remains with Max Biaggi's Husqvarna outfit for a second campaign. Moto3 Junior world champion Izan Guevara was the fastest rookie in ninth spot. Guevara has joined the Aspar Team for his debut season.
Niccolò Antonelli completed the top 10 on his Avintia Esponsorama machine, with 2020 Moto3 Rookie of the Year Jeremy Alcoba narrowing missing out in 11th. Reigning Red Bull Rookies champion Pedro Acosta was 12th today, 0.855s off the pace set by Binder. Like Guevara, Acosta appears to be adapting quickly to the world championship after dominating the Red Bull Rookies Championship in 2020.
Sergio Garcia was 13th overall and also had a crash on his GASGAS Gaviota Aspar bike.
Tomorrow's opening Moto3 session is scheduled to begin at 10:20 am UK time, followed by another session at 1:40pm.