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Rins heads competition on opening day of Qatar Moto2™ Test

Rins heads competition on opening day of Qatar Moto2™ Test

Spain’s Alex Rins made it clear to the rest of the field he intends to challenge for the title from the first round.

After their first official run on track in Jerez just a fortnight ago, riders in the Moto2™ World Championship were back in action at Qatar. This was the beginning of three days of testing ahead of the season opener on the 20th of March at the same circuit. While Axel Pons (AGR Team) blitzed the field at the Spanish track, times were much closer in Losail though many of the same names remained at the top.

Aside from set-up work, Kalex riders continued to test the new tank, radiator and revised frame supplied for 2016. Many riders were also working with the new Kalex aerodynamics package, boasting a revised shape.

Fortunately for the intermediate class, Moto3™ riders had cleaned much of the dirt off the track during their first session. This allowed them all to immediately get to work. Times were fast from the beginning of the day as Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) led both the first and second sessions with laps in the low 2’00s.

The Brit was also towards the top of the times in the final session, but a 2’00.071s from Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) demoted the Brit to second. Both riders are using the newest version of the Kalex and 0.013s split them at the top of the time sheets as the first day of testing concluded. The duo had strong seasons in 2015, frequently battling for the podium and often victory. Lowes started the 2015 Qatar GP from pole with a 1’59.423, no riders able to get within half a second of the pole time on Friday.

Completing the top three was Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), the Japanese rider setting a 2’00.131 on his 19th lap of the final session. This was already 0.8s faster than his Qualifying time from 2015, the Moto2™ veteran finding the form which saw him claim four consecutive second place finishes in 2013.

After a strong showing in Jerez, Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) continued to work on improving his bike with his new team and ended the first day of the test in fourth. The German achieved his first win in the intermediate class in Qatar in 2015 and is eager to repeat it in 2016 and start his campaign on the right foot once more.

Rounding out the top five was reigning Moto2™ World Champion Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) with a 2’00.542, 0.471s off Rins’ lap. It was a quiet Jerez Test for the champion, but he has already managed to significantly reduce the gap to the front riders here in Qatar.

Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten), Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS), Marcel Schrotter (AGR Team), Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) and Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent (Leopard Racing) made up the top ten, all under a second from Rins.

Xavier Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) was the leading Tech 3 bike in 22nd, ending ahead of the experienced Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten). Meanwhile Efren Vazquez (JPMoto Malaysia) continued to work on his Suter, Vazquez the only rider on the Swiss frame in 2016, and ended the opening day in 29th.

Testing resumes on Saturday the 12th of March at 15:00 Local Time.

Full times can be viewed here.

Moto2, 2016, QATAR MOTO2™ - MOTO3™ OFFICIAL TEST, FP, Takaaki Nakagami, Sam Lowes, Alex Rins

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