Britain’s Sam Lowes completed his 2016 Moto2 pre-season preparations with the fastest overall laptime at this weekend’s Qatar test, banging in a 1’59.405 to end the three-day session two-tenths quicker than Swiss Thomas Luthi with Jonas Folger in third, and going under his own lap record of 1’59.423 to cap it off.
Lowes has been at the sharp end since Friday, slowly building his pace all weekend while being careful not to get carried away with time attack laps and putting in measured race runs to ensure he has got the best from the 2016 Kalex package provided by the Federal Oils-backed Gresini team. And a new swingarm allied to other parts has polished off what has been a match made in heaven so far.
“The new swingarm is very good in terms of grip and turning, so it is a good step for us. We also had some new forks which need some work but we have time for that,” Lowes told BSN after the final session, failing to mention that he had a little crash at the end of the session. Tinker.
“We’ve got the bike fixed in terms of swingarm pivot, steering head angle, offset etc, so we have a good base that at at each race weekend we should only have to polish and go racing.”
The Derby rider’s closest title rival Alex Rins, who looks likely to move up to MotoGP at the same time as Lowes, was fourth overall on a 1’59.762 with Lorenzo Baldassarri in fifth. Taka Nakagami ended his test in sixth with Sandro Cortese seventh and reigning champion Johann Zarco eighth.
Reigning Moto3 World Champion Danny Kent finished in 11th place, behind Alex Marquez and Franco Morbidelli, but set his time of 2’00.262 in the middle session today.