Viñales leads the second night in Qatar
Maverick Viñales was the fastest man under the floodlights in Qatar, posting a lap time half a second quicker than the race lap record in the process.
The Spaniard who has cemented his credentials as the pre-season favourite with impressive displays in Sepang and Philip Island further reaffirmed his status with a blistering lap time of 1:54.455 which was half a second faster than Jorge Lorenzo’s lap record. Should Viñales’ lap times not get beaten tomorrow, the Spaniard will’ve ended all four tests with the fastest laptime.
Despite a small crash, Valentino Rossi was second fastest and ended the second evening 0.277 seconds behind Viñales as he appears to have found something that was badly missing on the opening evening of the test.
Jonas Folger built on his strong first evening and rounded out a Yamaha 1-2-3 on the second evening by being the third rider to lap in the 1:54’s on the second night. The rookie continues to earn fans with his work on the satellite M1.
Cal Crutchlow once again ended the evening as the top Honda and despite a late crash of his own, the Brit will be happy with the work he produced as he continues to build up to the season opener.
Aleix Espargaro was a very impressive fifth fastest on his Aprilia and he ended the night 0.7 seconds ahead of the reigning World Champion who was sixth fastest.
Alvaro Bautista was the top Ducati in seventh place and he was just ahead of factory Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo and Pramac Ducati’s Scott Redding. Despite only finishing in eighth position, the new Ducati aero fairing was the big news of the second evening. The Italian factory bought their own new fairing as all teams hunt for the optimum feel after the winglet ban came into effect in 2017.
French rookie Johann Zarco rounded out the top ten and finished just 0.9 seconds behind Viñales’ best time.
Eleventh place was Karel Abraham who led Andrea Iannone, who in turn was follow by a flock of Ducati’s with of first night leader Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci, and Loris Baz finished in thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth respectively.
Dani Pedrosa struggled to sixteenth position, just ahead of rookie Alex Rins and the Marc VDS duo of Tito Rabat and Jack Miller. Whilst Sam Lowes was 20th ahead of the KTM trio of Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith and Mika Kalio.
Tomorrow night is the final evening of pre-season testing for the MotoGP riders ahead of the season opener in just a shade over two weeks time.
Photo via Michelin Motorsport