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Antonelli on top as Moto3™ riders assault circuit record

Antonelli on top as Moto3™ riders assault circuit record

Testing for the Moto3™ World Championship came to a close in Qatar with Niccolo Antonelli just hanging onto the top spot as times tumble.

It was another slow start to proceedings for the lightweight class in Qatar, high temperatures once again forcing all but eight riders to sit out the first session of the day. The riders who did go out for this first session continued to assess the hard rear tyre option Dunlop, the official tyre supplier of the Moto3™ World Championship, are looking to use in Argentina. Once track conditions improved, riders eagerly headed out to try and refine their set up before racing begins in a week’s time.

The final session of the final test for the Moto3™ class became an all out time attack during the final session with five other riders going better than Livio Loi’s (RW Racing GP) Saturday best and thus under the circuit record. Fastest of them all was Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) with a 2’05.444, almost half a second under Alexis Masbou’s 2014 circuit record. Although he has looked strong in several tests, Antonelli had been having issues with his collarbone, which was injured during the off-season. The injury appeared to be no issue as he soared to the top of the test.

0.217s behind the Italian was Saturday leader Livio Loi, the Belgian rider proving his fast lap was not a one off and able to improve to a 2’05.661 in the closing stages. This in turn placed him 0.056s ahead of Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing), the French rider steadily building his speed over the testing period.

Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) were both under the circuit record on the final day to complete a top five split by 0.361s. Based on these times, Qualifying in Qatar looks certain to be a sensational session, especially with a slipstream down the straight offering half a second’s advantage.

Also under the circuit record was rookie Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46), the rookie continuing his incredible step up to the world stage. Just behind him, although 0.436s back, was fellow former CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship contender Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), the pair demonstrating the incredible level of rider the championship is able to produce.

Philipp Oettl (Schedl GP Racing), Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) and Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) completed the top ten on combined times across the three days. Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate) in 23rd was the only rider not able to improve their time in the final session.

Practice for the first race of the year begins at 18:00 Local Time on Thursday the 17th of March for the Moto3™ World Championship.

Full results from all three days of testing can be viewed here.

Moto3, 2016, QATAR MOTO2™ - MOTO3™ OFFICIAL TEST, FP, Niccolò Antonelli, Fabio Quartararo, Livio Loi

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