Andrea Iannone has topped the second day of the 2016 season at Qatar, surprising yesterday’s fastest man Jorge Lorenzo with an impressive 1:54.639 lap to finish the day 0.137 clear of the Spaniard.
And, with a strong advantage aided by the top speed of the Ducati GP16 machine on the one kilometre straight at Losail, the Italian says he’s relaxed for tomorrow’s qualifying.
“We finished the three free practice sessions with the best time and so for us today was a very positive day. We are working really well and our bike is going very strongly, so now we have to continue along this path and make further improvements. In FP2 we went very well with the hard tyre, then in FP3 we also tried the soft option, but it is still difficult to choose which one we will use for the race.
“For the moment I am calm and relaxed about the situation because also in the tests I always used the hard tyre and yesterday with the same choice of tyre we didn’t go bad at all. Tomorrow we will use the FP4 session to make the final decision.”
Marc Marquez was another surprise of the day in third, finding pace with his Repsol at last, with teammate Dani Pedrosa also showing good form in sixth. Andrea Iannone separated them on the second of the Ducatis, with yet another strong performance from Suzuki rider Maverick Viñales in fifth.
Valentino Rossi was seventh, ahead of Avintia Ducati racer Hector Barbera, continuing his strong start to the year, while Scott Redding was ninth and Pol Espargaro rounded out the top ten.
Two Brits will contest Q1 for the final two spots to advance to Q2 tomorrow, as both Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith failed to make the top ten as well as both crashing out. Smith was confident with his pace after admitting he learned form the crash, but a dejected Crutchlow jokingly pointed out his as the highlight of his day, as he struggles with engine braking on the LCR Honda.
Danilo Petrucci will take no further part in the weekend after re-damaging the broken bones in his right hand under the force of braking, dislodging the still-healing bones from his Phillip Island testing fall.