Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales topped topped the final day of MotoGP pre-season testing at Qatar, as Marc Marquez’s switch to a 2019 Honda continued to dominate the headlines.
Franco Morbidelli’s Petronas SRT team-mate Fabio Quartararo had topped Sunday’s test and was one of the first out on track on Monday, setting a strong early benchmark.
But a succession of improvements late in the session went the way of Vinales, who pumped in a 1m53.858s, 0.033s faster than Morbidelli.
Quartararo – who suffered a technical issue on track at one stage – was bumped down out of the podium spots late-on after a strong day for Suzuki, backed up by Alex Rins. He delivered a lap 0.210s shy of the best time late on, with his team-mate Joan Mir in sixth.
Between Quartararo and Mir, Jack Miller was top Ducati in fifth, setting an impressive single lap time for the Pramac satelite team, but down on race pace.
The situation was quite the opposite in the factory squad, with Andrea Dovizioso’s 10th and Danilo Petrucci’s 16th, not reflecting their one-lap speed. Petrucci used to test to trial different fairings on his bike, while the squad has brought a ride-height innovation for this test.
Marquez struggled to seventh on a hybrid 2019/2020 bike as he continues to battle an unruly Honda, leaving the team close to crisis point.
Satellite rider Taka Nakagami was ninth on last year’s machine, while fellow Honda riders Cal Crutchlow (LCR) and works rider Alex Marquez were forced to settle for 18th and 21st.
Brad Binder was the surprise performance of the day in ninth, with the KTM rookie outshining veteran team-mate Pol Espargaro, who finished up in 15th in the order.
Vinales team-mate Valentino Rossi had a strong day in terms of running, but did fall from his works Yamaha bike. He ended the day 12th overall.
Aprilia has had a promising start to its 2020 season with its pace being talked up. Aleix Espargaro was its top rider in 13th.