Aleix Espargaro was the fastest rider during the first session of the brand new season of MotoGP in Qatar aboard his Forward Yamaha.
Espargaro led Alvaro Bautista and Bradley Smith who were second and third respectively as he laid down a marker for the season, and showcased exactly what the brand new Open Class can do aboard his Forward Yamaha as he posted a 1’55.201, 0.466 ahead of second place Bautista, and 0.6 seconds ahead of Bradley Smith.
Andrea Iannone was the fastest Ducati in fourth position, on his Pramac machine, whilst the patched up rookie Pol Espargaro rounded out the top also in top five on his Tech 3 machine.
Dani Pedrosa was the fastest full Factory bike, and he was in sixth place, with Valentino Rossi just behind him in seventh position, but was over 1.3 seconds off the pace of Espargaro as the Qatar test appears to have been hugely beneficial to the non factory riders. Colin Edwards was eighth, just ahead of Jorge Lorenzo who’s testing start to the season continued as he continues to struggle to get his new M1 to work with the new Bridgestone’s. 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden was the fastest production Honda as he rounded out the top 10, just 0.005s behind Lorenzo in what was an encouraging day for the Kentucky Kid.
2013 World Champion Marc Marquez finished the session in 11th as he looks to make up for lost time after missing the second tests due to his pre season training accident. Marquez struggled with fitness, and was troubled more by his lef than he thought he would be. Yonny Hernandez was the first crash of the year, and had to make a short trip to the medical centre after a crash in the final corner. Thankfully for the Columbian there wasn’t a fracture and he hopes to be back on track tomorrow.