Dovizioso was right when he said yesterday that it seemed it was easy for everyone to make a good lap at Losail. Just look at the standings and you'll see 13 riders within a second of each other.
So everyone's quick but if you're called Andrea, even more so it seems. Iannone and Dovizioso topped today's timesheets. 20 minutes before the end of the session, the Suzuki rider set a best of 1’54”586, just moving ahead of the Ducatista, by 0.041 of a second.
Suzuki (having brought an evolution of the new fairing already seen in Thailand) appears to be on the right track and not only when it comes to the time attack. Andrea, as well as finding the confidence he was lacking on new tyres, was also consistent. He didn't complete a long run, but showed good pace throughout his brief exits.
While Iannone surprises, Dovi has flexed his muscles in Qatar. The Italian wasn't just fast on the flying lap but also demonstrated impressive pace. The exit during which he set his fastest time comprised 11 laps, of which two in 1’54” and the rest in 1’55”. The tests are not worth points of course but Dovizioso was clearly the strongest on track today.
His number one rival for the title, Marc Marquez, finished behind him, setting a 1’54”753 30 minutes before the flag. The Spaniard recorded his time following a crash at turn 2 (without physical consequences), while he was testing the new Honda 'winged' fairing. A good time for Marquez, but he wasn't as convincing as Dovi in terms of pace.
In fourth a Yamaha, the fastest M1 today was that of Zarco with the two factory bikes struggling more than they did yesterday. Vinales (6th) was unable to duck under 1’55” (1’55”051 his best), while set a 1’55”316 to close 11th, after finishing 7th yesterday.
Johann completed a long run of 12 laps in the early afternoon, lapping consistently in 1’56”. In this sense, Maverick was more convincing, completing a 7 lap run, 5 of which in 1’55”. Valentino made briefer exits, and seems to be missing a few tenths in terms of pace.
The final riders to duck under 1’55” were Rins and Crutchlow, 5tha dn 6th respectively. Both the Spaniard and the Englishman were quick in terms of the flying lap but their pace is not at the level of the fastest guys.
Following Vinales in 7th were the two Pramac men Petrucci and Miller, 8th and 9th.They also suffered a 'synchronised' crash at turn one, which also involved Zarco and led to a red flag.
rounding out the top ten was Dani Pedrosa, who improved in the final stages after a tough start to the day. His pace is not a match for the fastest guys though.
Aprilia takes a step forward, Aleix Espargarò 12th (0”874) and Redding 15th (1”122) Day one wasn't the easiest for the Noale team but things seem to be on the up.
Then comes the more painful news with Lorenzo in 14th place behind rookie Nakagami. Jorge was the first on track this morning, testing the Desmosedici both with the standard fairing and with the wings, but the times tell us that the problems haven't been resolved, the Majorcan closing 9 tenths behind his team-mate. He and Bautista were the only riders not to improve on their best times set yesterday.
So Nakagami was the quickest rookie, while Franco Morbidelli closed 19th (1"488). As for the other rookies, Syahrin lies 21st, Luthi 22nd and Simeon 23rd.