Qatar MotoGP test: Maverick Vinales leads day one for Yamaha

Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales set the pace on the first day of MotoGP's final 2018 pre-season test in Qatar

Qatar MotoGP test: Maverick Vinales leads day one for Yamaha

Vinales, who went quickest in this test last year before winning the season-opener at the same venue from pole, has endured a troubled run in winter testing at previous venues Sepang and Buriram.

But he was back on top form at the Losail track on Thursday, securing first place courtesy of a 1m55.053s effort that came towards the end of a packed 64-lap programme.

Outside of the top 10 for much of the day, Vinales vaulted to the top spot with just under two hours left on the clock, surpassing Jorge Lorenzo by 0.370 seconds.

Vinales didn't improve on that time, and his advantage shrunk to just 0.051s by the end, as Lorenzo's Ducati team-mate Dovizioso had slotted into the runner-up spot.

Dovizioso's former team-mate Andrea Iannone, now at Suzuki, mounted a late challenge for the day's honours with 30 minutes remaining - but came up 0.003s short of second place.

Tech3 Yamaha's Johann Zarco made up a top four split by just 0.133s, while Lorenzo's earlier pacesetting time left him fifth at the chequered flag.

Yamaha works rider Valentino Rossi had headed the field halfway into the eight-hour session, but ended the day 0.009s behind Lorenzo - with Suzuki's Alex Rins equalling the seven-time premier-class champion's time late on.

Danilo Petrucci, riding a current-spec Ducati Desmosedici for Pramac, was eighth ahead of LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow, who led the marque's works pairing Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa suffered two crashes during the day.

Avintia Ducati's new rider Tito Rabat - 16th-fastest on the day - was also among those to suffer a fall, but led the field in mileage with 69 laps.

Aprilia newcomer Scott Redding, who was off team-mate Aleix Espargaro's pace in the two preceding tests, was the lead RS-GP in the classification this time, finishing nine tenths behind Vinales in 15th.

KTM's efforts were spearheaded by the returning Pol Espargaro, who took 19th, 1.2s off the pace.

Confirmed by Tech3 for the full season after his Sepang test debut, Hafizh Syahrin ended the first day in Qatar 22nd - just 1.7s behind Vinales.

Thursday test times

Pos Rider Team Bike Time Gap Laps
1 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 1m55.053ss 1m55.053s 64
2 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 1m55.104ss 0.051s 48
3 Andrea Iannone Suzuki Suzuki 1m55.107ss 0.054s 58
4 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m55.186ss 0.133s 52
5 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati Ducati 1m55.423ss 0.370s 55
6 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 1m55.432ss 0.379s 67
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 1m55.432ss 0.379s 54
8 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m55.528ss 0.475s 47
9 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 1m55.536ss 0.483s 45
10 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 1m55.545ss 0.492s 47
11 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 1m55.555ss 0.502s 37
12 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m55.688ss 0.635s 44
13 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m55.848ss 0.795s 53
14 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 1m55.853ss 0.800s 64
15 Scott Redding Aprilia Aprilia 1m55.931ss 0.878s 45
16 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m56.029ss 0.976s 69
17 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 1m56.062ss 1.009s 50
18 Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m56.268ss 1.215s 54
19 Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 1m56.275ss 1.222s 56
20 Bradley Smith KTM KTM 1m56.421ss 1.368s 64
21 Franco Morbidelli MVDS Honda Honda 1m56.608ss 1.555s 60
22 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m56.731ss 1.678s 58
23 Thomas Luthi MVDS Honda Honda 1m57.292ss 2.239s 64
24 Xavier Simeon Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m57.713ss 2.660s 47


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Author Valentin Khorounzhiy
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