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30 days ago
By motogp.com

Sparks fly: Dovizioso edges to the top on first day of 2018

Stunning Friday action as one second splits the top 14 under the floodlights

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) started his Grand Prix of Qatar in the best possible way as the Italian ended Friday at the top of the timing screens, stunning his rivals with a lap time of 1.54.361 to put him just 0.006s ahead. It was the perfect test for race pace in the second session of 2018 for MotoGP™, as bikes take to the track at the same time as the lights will go out for the race to put track conditions to the most realistic test.

Highlights: Ducati dominates opening day in the desert

Fellow Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) completed the day as top independent rider in second position, as he set his time with three minutes remaining and only beaten by his compatriot. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) broke the Ducati dominance in P3, sitting 0.097s behind Dovizioso after a strong session and leading the way in the final ten minutes. Rins was also the first rider to break into the 1:54 bracket.

The most successful  rider at the venue, Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), secured fourth position overall around Losail, and his time of 1.54.831 was set following a busy start to his session as his Ducati caused sparks to fly on the home straight. Italian Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) wasn’t far behind his teammate Rins in fifth with a lap of 1.54.841, with reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) ending the day in sixth position just 0.001 ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa.

Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) sits in eighth as the second of the Independent team runners to go just ahead of ninth placed Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), who was unable to blast in a fast lap at the end of the session. Frenchman and 2017 Rookie of the Year Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) rounds out the top ten on Friday in Qatar, with just half a second splitting the men provisionally into Q2 on Saturday. As yet, 2017 Qatar GP winner Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) is in eleventh on the combined timesheets.

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How has Michelin prepared for the #QatarGP?

The fastest rookie was Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), with the Japanese rider taking back that honour after impressing in testing but getting edged out in the #QatarTest.

Inside eye: What's new on MotoGP™ machinery for 2018?

Don’t miss a minute of the #QatarGP as the Championship builds up to the much-anticipated first race of the 2018 season. FP3 kicks off at 12.40 local time (GMT +3) ahead of the fight for pole at 19.20, with the lights going out for the race on Sunday at 19.00.

#QatarGP: MotoGP™ Free Practice 2

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