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Luthi on top in Qatar as season draws closer

Luthi on top in Qatar as season draws closer

Top four riders under the 2’00 barrier in Qatar as Tom Luthi tops the time sheets on the second day of testing.

It was another productive day of testing for the Moto2™ World Championship at the Losail Circuit Sports Club. Many riders were hesitant to head out in the first session, waiting for conditions closer to race day on Sunday the 20th of March. This saw only 11 riders head out for the first session of the day. Unfortunately this did not include Axel Pons (AGR Team) who decided to sit out the second day of testing due to injury.

The second day of the Qatar Test also saw the debut of winglets in the Moto2™ class, although not in the conventional position. Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten) had two downward facing winglets attached to the tail of his Kalex, these are believed to increase turbulence behind the bike and therefore disrupt any riders in the slipstream. Aegerter’s team, CarXpert Interwetten, have developed these in-house after running several wind tunnel tests. They are not the first team to experiment with disrupting the slipstream; back in 2014 Caterham Suter had designed the rear of their bodywork to perform a similar function although they did not have winglets.

Session two of the day saw both Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) under the two minute barrier and lead the session in first and second. Their times would only be topped in the final half an hour of the third session by Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten), the experienced Swiss rider producing a blistering 1’59.680, half a second faster than his 2015 Qualifying time. This time gave Luthi a solid 0.126s advantage over Folger who was second.

The German set a 1’59.806 to end second on the time sheets of the second day, his confidence with his new team and bike continuing to grow with each lap. His time was 0.144s faster than Sam Lowes’ (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) best of the day, the British rider completing the top three thanks to several rapid closing laps. Focusing on consistency and race pace, Lowes continues to enjoy life on the Kalex and was inside the top three in all sessions of the second day. The top three were the only riders to produce multiple 1’59 laps, all three improving in the last session.

Fourth overall was Nakagami thanks to his 1’59.933 from the second session, the Japanese rider unable to improve in the final session. On the edge of the 1’59s was Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) who set a 2’00.079 on his 22nd lap of the last session to end the day fifth. The Spanish youngster is showing no ill effects from having much less private testing than many of the other top riders and has once again found his pace which helped him finish second in the championship in 2015.

Moto2™ World Champion Johann Zarco (Ajo Motosport) was sixth and 0.616s back on Luthi’s best time with Marcel Schrotter (AGR Team), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team), Danny Kent (Leopard Racing) and Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) contesting the top ten.

Speed Up Racing’s Simone Corsi again showed well on the Speed Up frame, the Italian built bike largely the same as when they tested privately in Jerez.

The final day of testing in Qatar begins at 15:00 Local Time on Sunday the 13th of March.

Full results viewable here.

Moto2, 2016, QATAR MOTO2™ - MOTO3™ OFFICIAL TEST, FP, Sam Lowes, Jonas Folger, Thomas Luthi

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