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Moto2™ riders settled into the rhythm of a race weekend with Jonas Folger leading the first day from Lowes and Rins.
Track conditions continued to improve as the Moto2™ World Championship headed out on track for Free Practice 2, their final session of the opening Thursday at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar. Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) set the bar at a 1’59.731 during Free Practice 1, but his fellow competitors made sure that time was quickly pushed to the limit.
Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) was on of the first to improve when he dropped down to s 1’59.566, improving his time from FP1 by over half a second to lead both FP2 and the day overall. The German won the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar in 2015 and if his early pace is anything to go by, he could very well repeat victory in 2016.
Despite a fall at Turn 7, Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was able to recover and set the second fastest time of the day with a 1’59.657s in the final minutes of practice. Even with his off the Brit managed to complete 18 laps, amongst the most of any rider.
The third and final rider to go under Luthi’s time was Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) thanks to a 1’59.678. Many are expecting the former Moto3™ front-runner to challenge for the Moto2™ title in 2016 after his great debut back in 2015, solid points in the opening round would be ideal.
Luthi was unable to improve on his FP1 time, the only rider inside the top ten failing to do so. Despite this the Swiss rider nestled into fourth, ahead of Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport). The French rider continued to progress well throughout both sessions and is looking much stronger than in testing.
The top ten were completed by Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team), Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) and Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) all within an incredible half a second of each other. All of the top 20 riders were within a second of Folger, Moto2™ looking closer than ever in 2016.
There was also a heavy off for Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) at Turn 1 but the Italian walked away unhurt.
Full times from Free Practice 2 can be viewed here.
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