Lowes Stays on Top in FP3 as Zarco Closes Gap

Sam Lowes completed a clean sweep of the Moto2 practice sessions after edging out Johann Zarco in a closely contested FP3 in Qatar. The Briton stuck with the harder tyre throughout in preparation for Sunday’s race but that didn’t stop him beating his own record from Thursday night, setting another fastest ever lap of Losail.

The two riders who traded quickest times throughout testing continued their private duel on Friday with Lowes setting the initial pace on a 2:00.321 before proceeding to lower his own benchmark time on consecutive laps afterwards, demonstrating the Speed Up’s strong race pace.

With twenty minutes remaining, Zarco edged ahead with a 2:00.080 and although Lowes was the first rider on the day to break the two minute barrier, the Frenchman would sneak past Sam’s overall best from FP2 with a 1:59.677. Lowes maintained his consistency though and with seconds remaining, the Speed Up rider improved to a 1:59.541 to take the honours, although the pair look set for a thrilling pole position battle on Saturday.

Reigning champion Tito Rabat sneaked under the two minute barrier on his final lap to consolidate third ahead of Sandro Cortese while the AGR Kalex teammates completed the top ten, Axel Pons shrugging off a crash to pip Jonas Folger. Franco Morbidelli and Thomas Luthi followed in seventh and eighth with Alex Rins the leading rookie in ninth but Alex Marquez’s improvement was one of the stories of the session with the Moto3 champion climbing to eleventh.