As the final day of pre-season testing kicked off, some might be forgiven for having a sense of deja vu. However, the previous fastest lap times were smashed as riders seek to make a statement ahead of the first race.
Sam Lowes and his Federal Oil Gresini bike enjoyed another day at the top of the timing sheets after his fastest lap time on Saturday. Sunday saw him beat this with a 1:58.439, putting him firmly at the head of the pack ahead of the first race of the season.
Just 0.224s behind the Brit was Tom Lüthi on the Dynavolt Intact GP bike, who also hit a test quickest on the final day in Qatar.
Remy Gardner and Augusto Fernandez, in third and fourth respectively, were split by a mere 0.002s. Marcel Schrötter was just another 0.030s behind the pair, taking fifth quickest for the day.
Three Spaniards followed in sixth, seventh and eighth places. These were Xavi Vierge on the Marc VDS machine, ahead of Jorge Navarroand Vierge’s team-mate, Alex Marquez.
Sunday’s top ten all set their quickest laps across the combined testing sessions, showing the desire to lay down the gauntlet ahead of the season opener at the Losail track in Qatar.
With much of the grid eager to lay down a fast lap, the day was certainly full of action. All riders, except Gabriel Rodrigo, managed to better their previous lap times on the final day of testing. Rodrigo is still recovering after his Saturday crash left him with a broken collar bone.
But it was team-mates, Romano Fenati and Tony Arbolino, who topped the timesheets for the final day in Qatar. Fenati set a time of 2:05.285 to pip his teammate to the top spot by 0.230s. The pair have been at the top for every day of testing in Qatar.
Aron Canet came in 0.368s behind the pair in third, with Leopard Racing’s Lorenzo Dalla Porta in fourth. Niccolo Antonelli rounded out the top five, who were all covered by just over half a second.
Briton, John McPhee set a time of 2.05.899 to secure himself sixth, just 0.131s ahead of Marcos Ramirez in seventh. Tatsuki Suzuki, Dennis Foggia and his rookie team-mate, Celestino Vietti came in eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.
With all testing now complete, we have just seven days to wait until they set off on their first race of the season. This will take place at the Losail track in Qatar on the 10th of March.
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP.com
Posted on 3rd March, 2019 for The Checkered Flag
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