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29 days ago
By motogp.com

Moto3™: Binder strikes late to top Day 1 at Losail

The South African heads teammate McPhee as Petronas Sprinta Racing take the desert by storm

Day 1 of the Official Moto2™ and Moto3™ Qatar Test at Losail International Circuit saw Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) go fastest in the lightweight category, putting in a best of 2:05.750 on the combined timesheets. It was incredibly close though, with the South African hitting back late on against teammate John McPhee as the Scot was forced to settle for second but only 0.026 back. Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) completes a top three on the Day 1 timesheets split by an infinitesimal 0.040, and a lot of the gaps don’t get bigger from there.

Rider round-up: Moto3™ Top 3 after Day 1 in Qatar

It was a warm but fairly calm day to begin proceedings in the desert, although many didn’t head out to turn laps in anger until the second session of the day. The first Moto3™ session also saw a Red Flag at the end due to an oil spill from Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Moto3), but the clean-up was a quick one. Each class had three stints each on Friday, and the laptimes – somewhat predictably – only got quicker. From 2:09s in session 1 to Binder’s best of 2:05.750, it was a good day’s work for most as they got back down to the business of testing and, for a good few on the grid, settling into their new teams.

Binder certainly seems to have managed that early enough. The South African’s switch to Honda machinery is off to an impressive start, and at the end of the day he and teammate McPhee ruled the roost, as well as doing a few laps together. Salač continues the Honda domination in third, another late to hit the higher echelons of the timesheets, with Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) slotting into fourth just 0.002 off Salač. Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) completed an all-Honda top five, the Argentinean 0.112 off Binder’s best lap.

Jaume Masia is another veteran switching machinery in 2021 and he slotted into sixth overall as he settles in at Red Bull KTM Ajo, and the Spaniard was still only 0.114 off the top as the timesheets tightened considerably late on. Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) was next up after a day bothering the top of the timesheets fairly consistently, with compatriot Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) putting Husqvarna into P8 overall.

Ninth place goes the way of GasGas Gaviota Aspar’s Izan Guevara as he and GasGas make their 2021 debut in the top ten. The rookie impressed immensely on Day 1 and early signs show his stratospheric rise is likely far from over as he takes on Moto3™ fresh from winning the European Talent Cup in 2019 and then the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship in 2020. Guevera was just 0.376 from the top and bookended a second group on the timesheets, with tenth placed Niccolo Antonelli next up but ending his first day with Avintia Esponsorama Moto3 0.245 in further arrears.

2020 Moto3™ Rookie of the Year Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) ends day one of his sophomore year in P11 but only half a tenth off Antonelli, with another rookie on his tail: Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo). The 2020 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup winner put his KTM in P12 to impress, having been the fastest rookie on track for a while on Day 1, until Guevara’s late strike for glory.

Sergio Garcia (GasGas Gaviota Aspar), Riccardo Rossi (BOE Owlride) and Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) complete the fastest fifteen after our first official glimpse of 2021 – how will the timesheets shuffle on Day 2? Find out as Moto3™ head back out for three more sessions, with plenty of coverage across motogp.com and, as ever, our social media channels!

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