Danny Kent made a bright start to a potentially career-defining season by topping the opening free practice session of the Qatar Grand Prix weekend at Losail. The Briton made good use of a slipstream in the dying seconds to edge out Miguel Oliveira who had dominated for much of the evening.
Oliveira, another rider with no shortage of pressure on his shoulders in 2015 having inherited the Red Bull KTM Ajo seat vacated by Jack Miller, looked racy immediately with a 2:07.246 taking him ahead of Kent fifteen minutes into the session. From there, the only likely challenge to that benchmark looked to come from Miguel himself, the 20 year old later breaking into the 2:06s.
Kent would have the last word though and on his very last lap of the session, the Leopard Racing rider snatched top spot for Honda. Three quarters of the way through a lap likely to take second spot, Kent encountered the Sky Racing VR46 KTM of Romano Fenati in the last sector and the slipstream created down the pit straight proved just enough to drag Kent to a 2:06.601, 0.098s quicker than Oliveira. Niccolo Antonelli rose to third late in the session ahead of Isaac Vinales on the leading Husqvarna and Brad Binder on the second Red Bull Ajo KTM.
After all the pre-season talk of star rookie Fabio Quartararo, his teammate Jorge Navarro upstaged him with a 2:07.784 to claim fifth ahead of Alexis Masbou while fellow newcomers Jorge Martin and Hiroki Ono also impressed to finish eighth and tenth. Quartararo’s start was hardly sluggish though in fourteenth but Daryn Binder’s Moto3 career made a bumpy start with a crash in the opening fifteen minutes.