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Zarco ens the Qatar test on top ahead of Rossi

Written by  Mar 03, 2018

Johann Zarco leaves the Qatar Test as the fastest man on track, with the Frenchman just over a tenth over Jorge Lorenzo’s 10-year-old pole lap record to top the test with a 1:54.029.

Valentino Rossi hot back up into the higher echelons on Day 2 to get closest to the Frenchman as he was 0.247 further back – with Andrea Dovizioso completing the top three as he was once again a constant presence to be reckoned with.

Lorenzo’s record that Zarco was hunting down is a 1:53.927, set in 2008 when the now five-time World Champion debuted – a longstanding mark of pace at the venue to add some extra lustre to the Tech 3 rider’s laptime. Behind that show of outright pace from the Frenchman’s Yamaha, Rossi’s two and a half tenth deficit was nevertheless enough to put the Italian into P2 despite a crash earlier in the day – and Dovizioso was just 0.055 off his compatriot.

In fourth, Cal Crutchlow  was the fastest Honda with a 1:54.457 – continuing his fantastic preseason form – after putting in 57 laps, which was the most of the top five. It was incredibly close between the Brit and the third Yamaha Maverick Viñales, however, with the Spaniard – fastest in testing at the venue last season and the race winner – just 0.014 off after he made a late attack.

The top five were the same as the combined times on Day 3, but the man who leaves the desert sixth overall set his best laptime on Day 2 – Andrea Iannone. The Italian, whose 1:54.586 was the fastest lap on Friday, was sidelined on the third and final day of the third and final preseason test, suffering with illness.

Slotting behind the ‘Maniac’ and his Day 2 assault, Marc Marquez was seventh overall as he guns for his seventh title – and by another tiny margin, with only 0.005 in it. The reigning Champion also showed impressive pace on a long run, and did the most laps of anyone as he racked up 75. He ended the day sandwiched between the Team Suzuki Ecstar machines, as Alex Rins took P8 and ended preseason on form and fully healthy ahead of his sophomore season.

source: motogp.com

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