until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Quartararo ends MotoGP’s first 2021 pre-season test on top

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Yamaha’s new works rider Fabio Quartararo ended MotoGP’s first pre-season test in Qatar on top, as Aprilia impressed again.

Saturday’s surprise package, Aprilia’s new RS-GP looked to be headed for a clean sweep of the two-day test when Aleix Espargaro jumped out to first place just as the clock ticked over the five-hour mark.

But Franco Morbidelli of Petronas Yamaha then closed to within 0.001s of Espargaro’s time, before his former team-mate Quartararo uncorked the first sub-1m54s effort of the test.

Quartararo had been just 15th the day prior, admitting he had found it difficult to immediately get back into his rhythm as MotoGP rider, but his late Sunday effort proved enough to keep him top, with only Ducati’s Jack Miller getting close.

Jack Miller Ducati MotoGP Qatar test

Miller lapped 0.077s slower a few minutes after Quartararo’s time, demoting Espargaro to third and Morbidelli to fourth.

Honda test rider Stefan Bradl again spent a significant chunk of the day at the very front, and ended up fifth on the timing screens.

He was followed by Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco – sixth for the second time in two days – and Quartararo’s team-mate Maverick Vinales.

Stefan Bradl Honda MotoGP Qatar test

Reigning champion Joan Mir ended what he described as a “tough” day – in terms of workload rather than performance – eighth, while his Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins was demoted to 10th late on by the second works Ducati of Francesco Bagnaia.

Honda’s new boy Pol Espargaro was just 0.015s behind the table-topping Bradl at the halfway mark and though he was shuffled down the order in the end he completed the test an encouraging 12th.

This placed him 0.015s behind Rins and 0.007s behind his works KTM replacement Miguel Oliveira, as well as right ahead of LCR Honda duo Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Marquez – both of thom had had crashes.

Alex Marquez LCR Honda MotoGP test

Avintia Ducati’s Enea Bastianini, the reigning Moto2 champion, was top of the rookie crop in 16th.

That put him four places up on Petronas Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi, who did not improve on his Saturday time and ended the day narrowly ahead of Tech3 KTM’s new rider Danilo Petrucci.

Danilo Petrucci Tech3 KTM MotoGP

Elsewhere, there were crashes for two of the Yamaha test bikes, while the third one was seemingly parked for the duration of the day.

MotoGP will now take a break before reconvening for another three-day test at the same Losail venue, starting with March 10. Two weeks after that, that very same track will host the first race weekend of the season-opening Qatar MotoGP double-header.

Session results

Pos. Rider Bike Time Gap
1 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1:53.940
2 Jack Miller Ducati 1:54.017 0.077
3 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1:54.152 0.212
4 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1:54.153 0.213
5 Stefan Bradl Honda 1:54.210 0.270
6 Johann Zarco Ducati 1:54.356 0.416
7 Maverick Vinales Yamaha 1:54.395 0.455
8 Joan Mir Suzuki 1:54.515 0.575
9 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1:54.651 0.711
10 Alex Rins Suzuki 1:54.658 0.718
11 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1:54.666 0.726
12 Pol Espargaro Honda 1:54.673 0.733
13 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1:54.690 0.750
14 Alex Marquez Honda 1:54.952 1.012
15 Yamaha test bike 1 1:55.306 1.366
16 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1:55.486 1.546
17 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1:55.570 1.630
18 Luca Marini Ducati 1:55.605 1.665
19 Jorge Martin Ducati 1:55.632 1.692
20 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:55.708 1.768
21 Danilo Petrucci KTM 1:55.795 1.855
22 Yamaha test bike 2 1:55.867 1.927
23 Iker Lecuona KTM 1:55.873 1.933
24 Brad Binder KTM 1:55.944 2.004
25 Dani Pedrosa KTM 1:56.452 2.512
26 Sylvain Guintoli Suzuki 1:56.762 2.822
27 Michele Pirro Ducati 1:57.895 3.955
28 Takuya Tsuda Suzuki 1:58.910 4.970
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