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Belgian youngster Livio Loi continues to build on a strong pre-season and seizes control of the lightweight class.
The second day of the Qatar Test saw riders in the Moto3™ World Championship take to the track after the Moto2™ riders, the lightweight class avoiding the task of having to clean the track for the second day. 24 riders went out for the first session with top times roughly two seconds off what they had been.
In Jerez several of the Mahindra and Peugeot bikes were running winglets, these winglets were back in action for the Qatar Test. While many of the winglets in the MotoGP™ World Championship are to help reduce wheelie, the ones on the MGP3O machine are used to help provide down force in fast corners. It is still as yet unknown how effective the winglets are, but they are certainly visually striking.
Leading the day overall was Livio Loi (RW Racing GP) who set a 2’05.824 in the final session. This was not only the fastest lap of the day, but was also the lone 2’05 lap and the fastest lap of the test so far. Loi had been pushed down the timing sheets but a rush of fast laps at the end restored him to first. His time was 0.3s faster than the 2015 Moto3™ pole lap and under the circuit best lap, set by Masbou in 2014.
Once again Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) was towards the top of the table, a 2’06.193 putting him 0.369s back on Loi’s time. Quartararo now enters his second season on the world stage, after a strong first year many are expecting him to challenge for the title but he will no doubt have some strong competition.
Moto3™ Junior World Champion Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) may be one of his chief challengers despite being a rookie. The Italian completed the top three on the second day and was within half a second of Loi’s incredible lap. Bulega has never raced at Qatar before, but with Valentino Rossi as a mentor, there's no doubt he will have received countless tips and tricks for the track.
Times were tighter than ever in the top five as both Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) and rookie Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) were 0.002s back on Bulega, the pair setting an identical lap time of 2’06.256. Mir and Bulega produced many stunning battles in the Moto3™ Junior World Championship in 2015 and with the pair now on the same bikes their rivalry looks set to continue in 2016.
Another rider to improve late in the third session was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) with Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Jorge Martin (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3), Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) and Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) completing a top ten split by under a second.
Just outside the top ten was Maria Herrera (MH6 Laglisse), the fast Spanish rider showing well after her future in the World Championship looked to be in doubt.
Testing resumes for the final day at 15:00 Local Time on Sunday the 13th with the first race of 2016 just a week later at the same circuit.
Full times and lap analysis can be viewed here.
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