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13 days ago
By motogp.com

Moto2™ head for the floodlights of Qatar

Intermediate class ready for final preseason test in 2017

Last time out at the first Official Test in Jerez, it was an EG0,0 Marc VDS invasion at the top of the timesheets as 2014 Moto3™ World Champion Alex Marquez set a stunning 1:41.989 to go fastest on the 2017 Kalex, just ahead of teammate Franco Morbidelli.

Now, it’s almost time for the final few days of action before Moto2™ get racing in Qatar and the same venue - Losail International Circuit - hosts the grid for the test from the 17th to 19th March.

So what’s new?

- Rookies

Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was still recovering from injury in Jerez, and the South African should be further up to speed in Qatar. Another two high profile debutants are Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) - the final man under the pole lap record in Jerez in P5 – and Fabio Quartararo in P8. Not forgetting…

- Sky Racing Team VR46

No, we haven’t made a mistake. The Valentino Rossi-backed squad expand this year to include the intermediate class – and it’s Moto3™ race winner Francesco Bagnaia and compatriot Stefano Manzi charged with the challenge. Bagnaia was just over a second off Marquez in Jerez, with Manzi still recovering from injury.

- KTM

The Austrian factory are now the only manufacturer present in every class following the debut of both their Moto2™ chassis and the premier class Red Bull KTM Factory Racing project. And it’s looking good: Miguel Oliveira put the new Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2™ machine in third in Jerez!

- Suter

It’s not a debut, but it’s a bigger presence from the Swiss constructor as Kiefer Racing and Dynavolt Intact GP step out with Suter in 2017. Moto2™ race winner Dominique Aegerter led the charge in Jerez as fourth quickest overall as he joins Kiefer this year - now back on the bike he rode to glory.

- Julian Simon?

The former 125 World Champion replaces injured Iker Lecuona at GaragePlus Interwetten in the Qatar GP, so the Spaniard could well be out on track to test.

See how the final hand of preseason shuffles from the 17th -19th March at Losail International Circuit – with track action for both Moto2™ and Moto3™ throughout the evening.