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MotoGP Qatar: Vinales stays top as Lorenzo misses Q2

Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick remains the fastest man in free practice at the Qatar MotoGP round with his laptime from yesterday still the benchmark but it was disaster for the man he replaced as Jorge Lorenzo could only muster 12th place on the combined timesheet and missed an automatic place in qualifying two tomorrow.

Lorenzo had been concentrating on getting the soft rear tyre to work over race distance at the Qatar track but when it came to the time attack for Q2 places, the three-time champion just couldn’t step it up and ended with a 1’55.461. That time was good enough for tenth but he was bounced out by Cal Crutchlow and then a lap from nowhere from Andrea Iannone.

The Ecstar Suzuki man was languishing down in 17th place but stuck in soft tyres all round, bit the screen and screamed into second place with a 1’54.848 to finish a little more than half a second behind Vinales but deposing Marc Marquez who also relied on his time from yesterday.


Rookie Johann Zarco made the most of being allowed to follow Vinales for five laps and made his way into fourth place while Andrea Dovizioso will give Lorenzo something to think about as he made an easy progression into qualifying two, using one soft rear with a medium front to go fifth fastest.

It was an incident-packed session for Scott Redding whose fairing came loose in the opening minutes (see below) as he followed Vinales down the start/finish straight. The Octo Ducati man had to trap it under his left leg to get back to the pits and then followed it up with a late crash at turn two.

The Gloucestershire rider didn’t improve on his time from earlier on, which was good enough to top the session, but it was enough to stay in sixth place. Dani Pedrosa didn’t spent a lot of time with the soft rear as he and Marquez have worked on race distance but the Spaniard did improve to a 1’55.113.

Monster Yamaha’s second rookie Jonas Folger crashed early doors, losing the front at turn four but he remained in the top ten courtesy of his lap from FP2. Cal Crutchlow squeezed in just before going down at the same place as Redding while Valentino Rossi was the last man to make it through automatically with his time from the second session - a lap that is a second slower than his team-mate.

Danilo Petrucci experimented with a radical chassis setup at the start of the session but it only served to cause front-end chatter and a subsequent crash saw him go back to his settings from earlier on. He ended 11th with a 1’55.435, one ahead of Lorenzo.

Alvaro Bautista isn’t living up to his pre-season potential, finishing in 13th, one ahead of Loris Baz with Aleix Espargaro completing the top 15. Sam Lowes dropped his laptime by another massive margin to 1’56.854 to end in 21st while Bradley Smith was 23rd and 3.338s off the pace.

Ducati are smashing the top speed chart with Lorenzo sitting pretty at 348.7km/h (217.83mph):

99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team DUCATI 348.7
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 348.0
19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team DUCATI 347.0
8 Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing DUCATI 345.8
17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team DUCATI 345.6
41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA 344.8
9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing DUCATI 344.7
26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 344.0
93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 343.0
45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing DUCATI 342.7

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