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Lowes grabs the lead of the Moto2™ field with minutes left

Lowes grabs the lead of the Moto2™ field with minutes left

Having spent most of the test working on race pace, Sam Lowes launched his attack in the final session to set the fastest time in Qatar.

Work continued for the Moto2™ World Championship on their third and final day of testing in Qatar ahead of the opening round of 2016. Several riders saved themselves and their bikes for the final two sessions of the day, conditions less than ideal during their first potential stint on track. Many of the same names remained towards the top of the timing screens as several riders are emerging as favourites for the upcoming Qatar GP, if not the season as a whole.

Saturday leader Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) put in a 1’59.608 during the second session of the day, improving on his best time and provisionally leading the test overall. Until the final ten minutes of the third session it did not appear as though any of the riders in the intermediate class would be able to best the Swiss man’s time. But, with ten minutes to go Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) struck.

The Brit had spent the majority of the test working on his race pace and using used tyres, hovering outside the top three as a result. But with ten minutes of the test remaining the 2015 Qatar GP pole setter unleashed himself to set a best time of 1’59.405 on his 17th lap of 17, the fastest lap of the test and under his own pole time. Unfortunately he did not get a chance to improve as he crashed soon after, sustaining no serious injuries.

Luthi’s time from the second session saw him slot into second on the combined time sheets, 0.044s ahead of Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP). Folger, the 2015 Qatar GP race winner continues to show well at the circuit and will no doubt be in contention come race day on the 20th of March.

Fourth fastest was Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) who was 0.357s back on Lowes’ best time. After a great rookie season where he ended second in the championship, many are expecting big things from the Spaniard in 2016 and his pace in testing suggests he will be able to deliver.

Meanwhile, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) continued to impress many as he was once again inside the top five. The Italian claimed his first World Championship podium in 2015 at the Australian GP and is looking to launch a more consistent campaign in 2016 with several years of Moto2™ experience now under his belt.

Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport), Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) and teammate Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) completed the top ten. All of the top 13 riders were within a second of Lowes’ fastest lap.

Moto3™ World Champion Danny Kent (Leopard Racing) continues to go well on his return to the intermediate class, the Brit ending the three day test in 11th and 0.026s off a top ten finish. Once again Axel Pons (AGR Team) missed the day as he aims to be fully fit for the start of the season.

Racing begins for the Moto2™ World Championship on the 20th of March under the Qatar floodlights.

Full results from all three days of testing are viewable here.

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

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