Jonas Folger began his pursuit of back-to-back victories in Qatar by setting the pace in Thursday’s practice sessions at Losail. The German claimed his maiden Moto2 win under the floodlights last year and while that owed a little to luck, the Dynavolt Intact GP rider looks set to be in contention on outright pace this year.
Thomas Luthi was the dominant force in the evening’s opening session but as the Swiss rider failed to improve in FP2, Folger took over at the top of the timesheets. Jonas dropped beneath the two minute barrier with just seven minutes gone and although his quickest time, a 1:59.566, was set with over half an hour still to go, that would remain unbeaten.
Sam Lowes looked the rider most likely to usurp him but the Briton had an eventful night on board the Federal Oil Gresini Kalex. Although he set a 1:59.910 good enough for second in FP1, Lowes’ session ended with a high speed crash at the penultimate corner and the second session didn’t start any better, the front end of the Kalex giving way at turn seven.
Lowes recovered from his second spill to finish second overall ahead of Alex Rins while Luthi fell to fourth, just ahead of defending champion Johann Zarco. Franco Morbidelli was sixth for Marc VDS ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri while Takaaki Nakagami, Simone Corsi and Alex Marquez completed the top ten.