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First day of Moto3™ wraps up with Loi on top

First day of Moto3™ wraps up with Loi on top

After two 40-minute practice sessions, Loi leaves Thursday in Qatar as the fastest rider from rookies Mir and Bulega.

The Moto3™ World Championship came into FP2 after Livio Loi (RW Racing GP) and Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) had taken a substantial lead in FP1, the duo over half a second faster than the rest of the field. With conditions improving with each lap, riders were quickly able to close the gap to their initial times.

Navarro was again strong from the start of the session with Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) behind him for much of the session, neither rider able to surpass the 2’06.456 benchmark set by Loi in FP1 in the opening stages.

With half of Free Practice 2 complete riders retreated to their pits for adjustments before a late assault. While the riders may change year-to-year, other aspects of the Moto3™ World Championship such as the tactics and close racing remain the same. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was one of the first riders to improve during the second half of the session. This started a flood of personal best laps.

The slipstream proved as critical as ever for riders hunting for a fast time, almost all teammates spending at least a handful of laps together to make the most of the it, worth over half a second a lap.

As the final ten minutes ticked down, times rapidly fell with Livio Loi (RW Racing GP) setting a 2’05.832 and a new circuit record in the process. This saw the Belgian rider lead not only FP2, but also the day overall.

Truly it was the rookies in the class who shone the brightest in FP2, Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) managing to circulate the Losail International Circuit in 2’06.160 to end 0.328s back on Loi. Having only previously ridden at the Qatari track in testing, things are already looking positive for the former Moto3™ Junior World Championship front-runner.

Third fastest in FP2 and for the day was Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46), the rookie setting his fastest lap and the crashing at Turn 16 soon after. Bulega, like Mir, is a product of the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship, which continues to make young talent after young talent.

The Italian was ahead of Sky Racing Team VR46 teammate Romano Fenati who was just 0.011s slower. Francesco Bagnaia (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3) made it three Italians in the top five as he finished as top Mahindra.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Andrea Locatelli (Leopard Racing), Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team), Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) and Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completed the top ten as Thursday practice ended.

Full results from the session available here.

Tags:
Moto3, 2016, COMMERCIAL BANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, FP2, Joan Mir, Nicolò Bulega, Livio Loi, RW Racing GP BV, SKY Racing Team VR46, Leopard Racing

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