MotoGP: Poor weather conditions leads to quiet Qatar Test finale

Danilo Petrucci kicks up the sand and dust in Qatar
Danilo Petrucci kicks up the sand and dust in Qatar

The final day of the three-day Qatar Test was an uneventful one due to high winds depositing sand and dust on the Losail International Circuit.

By the end of the day only a handful of riders had ventured out onto the circuit, including Danilo Petrucci, Pol Espargaro, Brad Binder, Takaaki Nakagami and Stefan Bradl. Even those riders didn’t spend too much time out of the garage, simply doing a handful of laps. 

Qatar Test so far

The loss of the final day will have affected riders in different ways, with those who had planned race simulations and testing of parts being left disappointed with the time lost. For some, today may have been the day which decided their base for the opening round of the season in two weeks’ time. 

However, with no fast times set today, Jack Miller ends the final pre-season test as the quickest rider. His 1:53.183 is a new unofficial lap record at the Losail circuit, whilst second place man Maverick Vinales was also under Marc Marquez’s record of 1:53.380. 

Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli were third and fourth respectively, whilst Francesco Bagnaia ensure that both factory Ducati riders were inside the top five. Aleix Espargaro was sixth, ahead of Joan Mir and Alex Rins. Johann Zarco and Pol Espargaro completed the top 10.

Despite only spending four days on the RC213V, Espargaro was quicker than his fellow HRC riders. Takaaki Nakagami was 12th, whilst Alex Marquez with 18th, Marquez was ruled out of action today as he suffered a small fracture of his fourth metatarsal bone in his right foot in a crash yesterday afternoon (March 11).

Valentino Rossi ends his first pre-season with the Petronas Yamaha team in 11th spot overall, 0.810s slower than the pace set by Miller. Jorge Martin narrowly beat Enea Bastianini to end the test as the fastest rookie in 14th, whilst Luca Marini was 21st. 

The teams and riders will return to Qatar for the opening two rounds of the 2021 season, with the race race taking place on March 28.

Qatar Test 2 - Combined Times

MotoGP: Maverick Vinales and Yamaha take control on day two of Qatar Test

First published: March 11 2021 by Josh Close

Maverick Vinales Qatar Test 2

Maverick Vinales led a late Yamaha charge to end day two of the second Qatar Test at the top of the timesheets.

On his 58th and lap the Spaniard posted a 1:53.244 to end the day 0.079s ahead of Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli. Vinales also spent the morning practicing his starts, adding 10 more to the 15 that he completed yesterday. 

Like Vinales, Morbidelli postest his quick time on his final lap, completing 62 in total today. Fabio Quartararo completed the top three Yamaha lockout in third spot, 0.154s off the pace set by his factory Yamaha teammate. 

Vinales’ time puts him second on the combined standings, as Jack Miller still leads the way thanks to his 1:53.183. Quartararo remains third based on his lap-time from the opening day. 

Francesco Bagnaia was the closest rider to the Yamaha trio in fourth and also completed a successful race simulation on the Ducati. Bagnaia was consistently able to record mid to high 1:54s throughout an -lap run.

Aleix Espargaro completed the top five after another successful day on the new Aprilia RS-GP, ahead of the Suzuki duo of Joan Mir and Alex Rins. Valentino Rossi enjoyed a mini revival as he continued to make progress on his M1, ending day two in eighth position. 

Johann Zarco and Pol Espargaro completed the top 10 today, with the latter suffering his first crash on the Repsol Honda RC213V. Miller ended day two in 11th, ahead of HRC’s Takaaki Nakagami and Stefan Bradl.

Jorge Martin was the quickest rookie in 14th, just ahead of reigning Moto2 champion Enea Bastianini. Brad Binder was the leading KTM rider in 16th, with Miguel Oliveira further down in 18th and the Tech3 pairing of Danilo Petrucci in 19th and Iker Lecouna in 22nd. 

Alex Marquez’s session came to an abrupt end when he suffered a highside at turn nine, suffering a small metatarsal fracture in his right foot. However, if the weather is good tomorrow, Marquez will push to be allowed back on track. 

Qatar Test 2 - Day Two Times

MotoGP: Jack Miller sets new unofficial lap record on day one of the second Qatar Test

First published 10 March 2021 by Josh Close

Jack Miller Qatar Test

Jack Miller was fastest on the opening day of the three-day Qatar Test at the Losail International Circuit, breaking the lap record in the process.

This is the final pre-season test before the start of the season on March 28, also at the Losail circuit, and is expected to be much busier than the first two-day test held at the weekend.

Testing so far

It’s certainly much faster than the opening test of the year, with Miller’s fastest time of 1:53.183 – the new unofficial lap record – being 0.8s quicker than Sunday’s fastest lap-time set by Fabio Quartararo. In fact, the top five riders today were all quicker than Quartararo’s best on Sunday.

One of those five riders was Quartararo himself, with the Frenchman ending the session in second spot. Quartararo was only 0.080s slower than Miller’s time and was also under the official lap record of 1:53.380. Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales was third, setting his fastest time on his 75th lap. The Spaniard completed 77 laps in total today – more than any other rider.

Johann Zarco and Pol Espargaro both set an identical lap-time of 1:53.899 to finish fourth and fifth respectively. Zarco continues to impress on the Desmocedici GP21, whilst Espargaro is clearly getting used to the RC213V following his switch from KTM. Espargaro was 0.8s faster than his quickest time at the weekend test.

Aleix Espargaro was sixth on the new Aprilia RS-GP, ahead of the Suzuki duo of Joan Mir and Alex Rins. Mir told the media this afternoon that he has now also tested the 2022 engine which Sylvain Guintoli and Rins tried at the weekend.

Francesco Bagnaia made it three Ducati riders inside the top 10 in ninth spot, with Takaaki Nakagami ending the day in 10th. Franco Morbidelli and Miguel Oliveira were 11th and 12th respectively, whilst Valentino Rossi showed signs of improvement in 13th. The nine-time world champion was seen testing a new fairing on his M1.

Enea Bastianini was the fastest rookie in 14th spot, with Jorge Martin in 19th and Luca Marini in 22nd. Stefan Bradl’s day came to a premature end due to a crash on his Repsol Honda.

Qatar Test 2 - Day One Times

MotoGP: Fabio Quartararo ends the two-day Qatar Test on top

First published: 7 March 2021 by Josh Close

Fabio Quartararo Qatar Test

Fabio Quartararo topped the two-day Qatar Test after becoming the only rider to dip into the 1:53s at the Losail International Circuit.

The Frenchman’s quickest lap-time was a 1:53.940, posted on the factory Yamaha rider’s 52nd lap, which was enough to beat Jack Miller by 0.077s. It’s a big improvement for Quartararo, who admitted that it had taken him half-a-day to adapt to the M1 again yesterday after riding the R1 road bike during the winter.

Miller ends a positive two days in Qatar in second spot after finishing fourth on day one. The Aussie has been busy testing Ducati’s latest innovative aero package today and his initial impressions are positive.

Aleix Espargaro, who was quickest on day one, continued to impress on the latest version of the Aprilia RS-GP. The bike has undergone a big overhaul during the winter break and, so far, it seems to be working well so far.

Franco Morbidelli was the fastest Yamaha rider in fourth, again showcasing the strengths of his 2019 A-Spec Yamaha M1 package. Stefan Bradl was fifth on his Repsol Honda RC213V, whilst Johann Zarco ended his first official outing as a Pramac Racing Ducati rider in sixth spot.

Maverick Vinales was seventh on the second factory Yamaha M1, whilst Joan Mir, Francesco Bagnaia and Alex Rins completed the top 10 on the combined standings. Miguel Oliveira was the leading KTM rider in 11th, whilst Pol Espargaro ended his first weekend with Repsol Honda in 12th – ahead of both LCR Honda riders. Takaaki Nakagami finished 13th, just ahead of Alex Marquez in 14th position.

Enea Bastianini was the fastest rookie in 16th spot overall, ahead of Valentino Rossi (19th) who was struggling from grip throughout the day. Luca Marini and Jorge Martin were 20th and 21st respectively.

The teams and riders now have two days rest before returning to Losail for a three-day official test on Wednesday (March 10).

Two-Day Qatar Test - Combined times

MotoGP: Aleix Espargaro tops the opening day of the Qatar Test

First published: March 06 2021 by Josh Close

Aleix Espargaro - Qatar Test

Aleix Espargaro topped the opening day of the Qatar Test on his all-new 2021 Aprilia RS-GP MotoGP machine.

Espargaro set a best time of 1:54.687 and completed a total of 57 laps around the Losail International Circuit, with his fastest time coming on lap 42. For reference, the race lap record is a 1:54.927 – set by Jorge Lorenzo in 2016. The 2019 pole position time – the last time the MotoGP riders visited Qatar – was 1:53.546, set by Maverick Vinales.

Related articles from MCN

The RS-GP, whilst using last year’s bike as a base, has been completely revamped for the 2021 season. During the team’s launch it was revealed that the bike has a new aerodynamic package, new frame and carbon-fibre swingarm, new rear seat structure and new cylinder heads on the engine. There’s also a new throttle-body system.

Repsol Honda test rider, and potentially Marc Marquez’s replacement for the races in Qatar, Stefan Bradl ended the day in second. Bradl was +0.256s slower than Espargaro and completed 46 laps on the RC213V. The German tested the bike at Jerez last month as well.

Reigning champion Joan Mir was third overall on his Suzuki, completing 46 laps in the process after a delayed start to his day. Jack Miller was fourth on his factory Ducati debut, using the day to get back to grips with the Desmocedici after a long winter break. Miller was testing an updated fairing but told media that it was too soon to say how much of an improvement it has made.

Miguel Oliveira was the leading KTM rider on his factory team debut in fifth, whilst Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli were sixth and seventh respectively. Alex Rins, Maverick Vinales and Alex Marquez completed the top 10. Marquez crashed his LCR Honda but was unharmed in the incident.

Takaaki Nakagami finished right behind his teammate in 11th spot, with both riders using 2020 RC213V machines. Marquez and Nakagami were however testing different exhaust systems.

Valentino Rossi completed 54 laps on his Petronas Yamaha debut and posted a best lap-time of 1:55.584, +0.897s slower Espargaro’s time. Rossi was, however, quicker than Fabio Quartararo, the rider who took his spot inside the factory Yamaha team. Quartararo was 15th, +0.123s slower than Rossi, however he completed 69 laps in total.

Pol Espargaro ended his first outing with Repsol Honda 17th overall, however outright lap-time would not have been at the top of his agenda. The Spaniard completed 68 laps, second only to Quartararo, as he looked to get to grips with the Honda RC213V. Overall, he was +1.191s off his brother’s leading time.

Jorge Martin was the fastest rookie in 18th spot, whilst reigning Moto2 champion Enea Bastianini was 20th on his Esponsorama Racing Ducati. Luca Marini ended the day 24th overall.