Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase

Moto3™ riders adapt to new bikes

Moto3™ riders adapt to new bikes

Miguel Oliveira led the opening day of Moto3™ practice at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar with eight riders within a second.

Track conditions were better than expected on the opening evening of practice under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit, despite high winds during the day.

Riders were eager to get out on track as the majority of Moto3™ testing during the off-season had been hindered by rain at both Jerez and Valencia. Dry track time was crucial, as the rev limit in Moto3 has been reduced to 13,500 RPM this season. Remy Gardner (CIP) was the first rider out of pit lane in 2015, eagerly waiting for the lights to turn green.

It was Leopard Racing’s Danny Kent who led the way in FP1 with a 2’06.601s, the English rider still adapting to the Honda after riding the Husqvarna last season. Kent was the only rider in the top ten to not improve in FP2, unable to get within half a second of his previous time.

Miguel Oliveira also went about learning his new KTM after switching from Mahindra the season prior. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was just 0.098s behind Kent in FP1, the pair swapping between first and second until the checkered flag. FP2 saw Miguel gain the upper hand, putting in a 2’06.580s to top the session and the day.

This time is already 0.7s quicker than the Portuguese rider’s Qualifying time from last year. Alex Rins’ record lap of 2’05.973s may well come under pressure in Qualifying as conditions continue to improve and riders adapt to their new bikes.

After being strong in the limited testing Moto3 had, Niccolo Antonelli continued to learn his new Honda quickly, going third overall and the only other rider in the 2’06s. Antonelli, now with Ongetta-Rivacold, had difficult start to the season last year and will be looking to start 2015 with a strong point scoring result.

Isaac Viñales and his Husqvarna Moto3 machine managed a 2’07.200s, 0.620s from Oliveira. He stays with the same Laglisse Team as last year, but moves from the very similar KTM to Husqvarna.

The only rider in the top five still on the same bike and with the same team as last year was Romano Fenati who set a 2’07.337s on his Sky Racing Team VR46 KTM. The young Italian is a title favourite this season, but will need to improve his Qualifying results after 2014 where he was never higher than fourth on the grid. From FP1 to FP2 Fenati dropped nearly a second off his best lap time.

Fabio Quartararo has come to Moto3 as a double Spanish champion and with many eyes on him. The talented French youngster put in an excellent effort on the opening day to finish seventh overall with a 2’07.424s on his Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda. This is his first time racing at Qatar and his first time racing at night.

There was an early crash for Darryn Binder after a collision with another rider, limiting the rookie’s track time in FP1. Fellow rookies Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi (replacing Stefano Manzi this round) fell in FP2, all riders were unhurt.


Other updates you may be interested in ›
Marquez leads the way in FP1

3 years ago

Marquez leads the way in FP1