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MotoGP, Yamaha fights back in Qatar: Zarco 1st, Rossi 2nd

THE TIMES. Dovizioso is 3rd, Crutchlow (4th) and Petrucci (8th) showed the strongest pace. Vinales 5th ahead of Marquez

MotoGP: Yamaha fights back in Qatar: Zarco 1st, Rossi 2nd

The tests have officially concluded and the countdown to race one begins, set to take place in two weeks' time at the Losail test, the scene of these latest winter tests. A final day that was all about Yamaha, with Zarco dominating and Rossi and Vinales making a surprise appearance in the final hours. The three M1s are all in the top five.

Johann was the quickest throughout the day, the only man on track to duck under 1’55” on 7 occasions and also for 3 consecutive laps. The French Tech3 rider set a best of 1’54”029, which means he lapped around a tenth from the best lap set by Lorenzo at Losail in 2008, when riders still used qualifying tyres (1'53"927).

While Zarco created sparks, the two factory riders were running mid-pack, even placing behind rookie Syharin at one stage. Towards the end of the session, Valentino (who had crashed earlier in the day) seemed to get to the heart of the matter. First with a convincing long run (9 laps, all in the low 1’55”s) and then with a time of 1’54”276 that placed him second. The fact that it is a satellite M1 up ahead of him is not a great sign, but the situation has at least stabilised.

Vinales also slowly climbed the timesheets, as far as 5th place in the final stages, 0”442 behind the Frenchman. Ahead of the Spaniard are Dovizioso (0”302 from Zarco) and Crutchlow (a 0”428), while he is followed by Marquez, Rins, Petrucci, Lorenzo and Miller, who rounds out the top ten.

So far we've only talked about the flying lap (Iannone closes 6th thanks to yesterday's time, having not ridden today due a stomach problem). As for pace, things look very different and Ducati, with Dovizioso and Petrucci, sees its stock rise.

Let's start with Danilo, who carried out the longest run of all with 21 laps completed. The Pramac rider was in the 1'55"s for 18 of these, showing real consistency. Andrea limited his long run to 9 laps, 7 of which in 1’55”. The impression is that Dovi has it all under control and was waiting for race conditions before revealing some of his cards, but not all.

In this sense, Zarco was not at the level of the two Italians, Johann completed a 17-lap simulation in the final stages but never got below 1’56”. The opposite of Crutchlow, the best of the Honda bunch with a 12-lap run, one of which in 1’54” and 10 in 1’55”. Marquez wasn't able to do any better than the Brit, with 10 laps of which 7 in 1’55”.

Looking at the long runs of Lorenzo and Vinales, there is not the same consistency as their rivals are demonstrating. Rins on the other hand looks solid with the Suzuki, completing a 14-lap run, 12 of which in 1’55”.

Back to the standings and Pedrosa closes outside the top ten while Franco Morbidelli is growing in 11th place. Behind Franco is Smith who places 13th with the KTM ahead of Aleix Espargarò on the Aprilia. A surprising 15th for Syaharin (who also crashed), 1”244 from his team-mate and ahead of more experienced riders such as Abraham, Bautista, Rabat and Pol Espargarò, back on the bike after sitting out yesterday's session.

A disappointing 20th place for Redding ahead of Nakagami, Simeon and Luthi.


Translated by Heather Watson

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