Cortese Springs Surprise In FP3 At Losail


Sandro Cortese was the unlikely pacesetter in Moto2’s final practice session ahead of the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix. The German sneaked in front of Dominique Aegerter in the last minute of FP3 as the intermediate class proved as close as ever, the top twenty covered by just 1.3 seconds.

Takaaki Nakagami had been the pacesetter on Thursday night and the Japanese rider was fastest out of the blocks on Friday too with a 2:01.078. Esteve Rabat was the nearest challenger yesterday and he was hot on his heels again, eventually going a shade faster half an hour from the end. The Spaniard was clearly pushing hard but the aggression came at a cost with a brief trip into the gravel. Rabat recovered and subsequently improved but his quickest time was usurped in the end.

Cortese was the man to do so when the chequered flag came out, setting a 2:00.570, and although it was fractionally slower than Nakagami’s outright best time of the weekend, it did ensure he edged out Aegerter by 0.016s. Rabat slipped to third while Moto3 champion Maverick Vinales took a fantastic fourth ahead of Nakagami and Thomas Luthi.

Xavier Simeon was seventh quickest ahead of the Caterham Suter of Johann Zarco while Mattia Pasini and Mika Kallio completed the top ten. Sam Lowes had an improved session to finish twelfth but Gino Rea unfortunately took a tumble on his way to 26th place.