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Thanks to an impressive Friday showing, Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s Sam Lowes remains the rider to beat ahead of Moto2™ qualifying at the Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar. The British rider holds a 0.104s advantage on the combined standings which remained unchanged as a scorching Losail International Circuit greeted the riders for FP3. Second fastest Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) and third best Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) sit as Lowes’ closest challengers after Free Practice.
It was Inde Aspar Team’s Aron Canet who set the pace in FP3 but his 2:00.335 was a long way off Lowes’ best time – a 1:58.959 – from Friday evening, with none of the riders able to improve their times in the soaring afternoon desert heat. This means the top 14 and automatic Q2 candidates remain the same as FP2, with Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) rounding out the top five behind the aforementioned trio.
Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) crashed very early in the session but was thankfully perfectly ok, the Dutch rider continues to impress on the Kalex chassis and sits P6 ahead of qualifying. Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), fastest rookie Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) – another unhurt crasher in FP3 – and Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) complete the top 10 after three Free Practices in Qatar.
Liqui Moly Intact GP duo Marcel Schrötter and 2020 Moto3™ runner-up Tony Arbolino sail straight into Q2 in P11 and P12 respectively, the experienced Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and FP3 pacesetter Canet squeeze into the all-important top 14, as big names such as Lorenzo Baldassarri (MV Agusta Forward Racing) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) miss out.
Barry Baltus (NTS RW Racing GP) suffered a nasty highside towards the closing stages of FP3. The Moto2™ rookie was taken to the medical centre for a check-up, with it later being confirmed the Belgian suffered a left wrist fracture and is declared unfit for the rest of the weekend.
Tune into Moto2™ qualifying at 18:25 local time (GMT+3)!
Top 10 combined:
1. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) – 1:58.959
2. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.104
3. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.313
4. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.337
5. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.361
6. Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) + 0.463
7. Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) + 0.484
8. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.522
9. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.587
10. Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) + 0.597
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