Qatar MotoGP test: Johann Zarco leads Valentino Rossi on final day

Tech3 Yamaha rider Johann Zarco got within a tenth of a second of the Losail lap record as he led the final MotoGP pre-season test day ahead of Valentino Rossi

Zarco moved into first place at the Qatar Grand Prix venue with exactly two hours left on the clock, holding a lead of half a tenth over LCR Honda man Cal Crutchlow with his 1m54.429s effort at that point.

Frenchman Zarco then improved on two more occasions half an hour later, stretching his gap to over four tenths with a time of 1m54.029s, just 0.102s slower than Jorge Lorenzo's lap record from 2008.

While Crutchlow did not lower his own benchmark for the rest of the session, he held second until the final hour when first Andrea Dovizioso and then Rossi demoted him.

Rossi, who recovered from a crash at the Turn 14 right-hander towards the end of the lap three hours into the session, was 0.247s slower than Yamaha stablemate Zarco.

Works Ducati rider Dovizioso took third, just half a tenth slower than Rossi, with Crutchlow ending up the fastest Honda rider in fourth.

Rossi's team-mate Maverick Vinales was as low as 20th at the start of the final hour but gained 15 positions to end up fifth.

Reigning champion Marc Marquez was sixth on the best of the works Hondas, followed by Alex Rins, Suzuki's only rider as Friday pacesetter Andrea Iannone sat out the session with a stomach bug.

Rins beat Ducati trio Danilo Petrucci, who led for an hour in the middle of the session, Jorge Lorenzo and Jack Miller by less than a tenth.

Dani Pedrosa was 11th on the second factory Honda ahead of Marc VDS Honda's Franco Morbidelli, who was the fastest rookie in 12th.

Hafizh Syahrin was just a tenth and three positions behind the Moto2 champion, the Malaysian completing his only second MotoGP test 1.2s adrift his Tech3 team-mate Zarco.

Bradley Smith and Aleix Espargaro led KTM's and Aprilia's efforts in 13th and 14th respectively, Espargaro briefly holding third during the day.

Pol Espargaro, who did not ride on Friday as he is still recovering from injuries sustained at the Sepang test in January, was back in action on Saturday but could only manage 19th.

After seven hours of dry running, riders will be required to take part in a half-hour wet session later on Saturday aimed at assessing whether it would be possible to host a wet race in Qatar under the floodlights.

Saturday test times

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m54.029s - 53
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 1m54.276s 0.247s 49
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 1m54.331s 0.302s 50
4 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 1m54.457s 0.428s 57
5 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 1m54.471s 0.442s 40
6 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 1m54.591s 0.562s 75
7 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 1m54.650s 0.621s 48
8 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m54.659s 0.630s 56
9 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati Ducati 1m54.692s 0.663s 63
10 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m54.749s 0.720s 56
11 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 1m54.774s 0.745s 44
12 Franco Morbidelli MVDS Honda Honda 1m55.132s 1.103s 54
13 Bradley Smith KTM KTM 1m55.179s 1.150s 47
14 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 1m55.232s 1.203s 60
15 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m55.273s 1.244s 44
16 Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m55.300s 1.271s 50
17 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m55.347s 1.318s 58
18 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m55.465s 1.436s 56
19 Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 1m55.489s 1.460s 47
20 Scott Redding Aprilia Aprilia 1m55.595s 1.566s 54
21 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 1m55.763s 1.734s 40
22 Xavier Simeon Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m55.943s 1.914s 51
23 Thomas Luthi MVDS Honda Honda 1m56.122s 2.093s 59


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