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MotoGP Qatar: KTM locks out Friday’s Moto2 with Fernandez in charge

It was Red Bull KTM at the front once more as 2022’s Moto2 action fired up on Friday morning, as new signing Augusto Fernandez took charge in Qatar.

Rookie sensation Pedro Acosta wasn’t far behind his new intermediate class teammate as just 0.160s separated him from the 1’59.112 overall target after two 40-minute session in the Doha desert. Liqui Moly Intact GP’s Marcel Schrotter claimed third after a steady rise through the standings across the opening day.

Jake Dixon challenged from the outset on his new Aspar GasGas machine, with just half a tenth separating him from Fernandez in the top two before the Brit claimed the lead and the Spaniard hit back thanks to a 2’00.885 as FP1 got underway.


Moto3 Champion Acosta looked ominous from the opening laps of his intermediate career sitting third on the second Ajo bike after ten minutes on track with Fermin Aldeguer impressing in fourth.

Tony Arbolino threw himself into the mix at the halfway stage on the Elf Marc VDS machine, claiming third, his teammate Sam Lowes circulating in 12th just nine-tenths adrift as he navigated the Lusail layout and his ongoing tendonitis complications.

Dixon proved to be enjoying his first visit to Qatar free from injury as he pushed the pace with 20 minutes to go, just 0.013s separating him from Fernandez at the top once again with the only 2’00 laps seen so far, Aldeguer a further three-tenths back on the Speed Up.

Celestino Vietti looked to challenge before the final runs began, the Mooney VR46 rider claiming third with a 2’01.007 as the pack returned to pitlane. The action resuming as Lowes hit fourth, a tenth and a half from the fastest target with Aron Canet following narrowly behind.

The Italian progressed from fifth to third as the clock counted down and he too broke into the 2’00’s, Dixon taking charge overall before improving further next time around with a 2’00.451.

There were red sectors across the board for the top six as the final three minutes wound down, Fernandez denying the Brit by just under two-tenths as Vietti, Canet and Acosta closed the gap in the top five. A late charge from Aldeguer claimed fourth, and best rookie, at the flag with Jorge Navarro, Ai Ogura and Arbolino dropping Lowes to tenth after the Brit returned to the pits for the closing action. Cameron Beaubier enjoyed a strong start to his sophomore season in 11th with fellow American Joe Roberts sitting 15th after the opening 40 minutes of the year.

The wind picked up as the late afternoon action took to the track. Ogura taking charge almost instantly, and overall, with a 2’00.235 on the Idemitsu Honda as Simone Corsi crashed out at the opening corner. The KTM duo of Fernandez and Acosta were back in charge after ten minutes with Canet running fourth as the pace broke the two minute barrier, Dixon hitting the front with a 1’59.762 on his fifth attempt moments later.

Gresini Racing’s Filip Salac joined the fun in fourth as the session continued, Vietti, Aldeguer, Lowes and Schrotter rounding out the top ten as the sun began to set with the 13th fastest riders all improving on their opening pace so far.

VR46’s Vietti came out fighting as the session wound down, claiming third with a 2’00.006 to split the KTM’s and 13 minutes left to run on the day his team boss became a father. Lowes making his way to fourth shortly after, just 0.002s behind.  


Canet stormed to the front as the final ten minutes began, 1’59.658 now the time to beat as the standings began to shuffle. Fernandez improving to retain his second place showing with Beaubier improving to seventh late on.

Acosta was the next to strike with a 1’59.374 before his teammate denied him almost instantly a quarter-of-a-second quicker. Schrotter improving to sixth as the final rider inside the two minute barrier with five left on the clock.

Arbolino joined his Marc VDS teammate inside the top ten as Dixon crashed out of an impressive run with a highside at turn one. Acosta, Canet and Schrotter all improving their times in the top four as the clock counted down and Beaubier once again rose to seventh with a 1’59.705.

Turn four saw Lorenzo Dalla Porta crash out of the final minute as Schrotter continued his climb, this time to third. Vietti doing likewise one place behind as Canet claimed fifth with Ogura, Salac, Somkiat Chantra and Beaubier heading Dixon in the final top ten. Arbolino bettering Lowes for 11th and 12th in their respective final efforts.

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