Andrea Dovizioso returned Ducati to the top of the testing timesheets with the fastest time on the opening night at Losail. The Italian, who was finished second in Qatar in each of the last two seasons, went faster than the current lap record to set the pace, putting Ducati at the top of the standings for the first time since day one at Sepang.
Although their machine boasted no apparent upgrades since Phillip Island, the Ducati looked at home on a circuit notorious for suiting the Desmosedici GP. At one stage, the Bologna squad enjoyed a 1-2 with Dovizioso eight tenths clear of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo but Maverick Vinales, the star of testing so far, halved the Italian’s advantage late in the evening to snatch second.
Cal Crutchlow also improved in the closing stages to take third but the Briton was the exception to the rule on a night where the Honda riders struggled, none more so than reigning champion Marc Marquez. The Spaniard debuted a new aerodynamic fairing on his RC213V but the experiment was cut short by a crash, one of two on the day for the no.93 who ended up twelfth fastest.
Karel Abraham sprung the day’s big surprise by taking fourth on the Aspar Ducati GP15 with Lorenzo relegated to fifth on the 2017 prototype. Jonas Folger produced another eye-catching performance to go sixth quickest while Valentino Rossi showed signs of improvement after a problematic test in Australia, finishing seventh. Dani Pedrosa was eighth on the leading Repsol Honda while Johann Zarco and Andrea Iannone completed the top ten, the latter suffering a crash on his Suzuki.
2017 MotoGP Official Pre-Season Test: Losail (Day One)
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