Andrea Dovizioso maintained his position at the top of the timesheets in second practice at the Qatar Grand Prix. The Italian led a Ducati 1-2 ahead of Pramac’s Danilo Petrucci while 2017 race-winner Maverick Vinales failed to make the top ten, leaving him in serious danger of missing out on an automatic Q2 spot.
With darkness having descended over Losail and temperatures dropping, conditions were much more conducive to fast times, as Cal Crutchlow proved when he set the fastest time of the day within ten minutes of the pitlane opening. The Briton remained on top until ten minutes from the end as attentions turned to qualifying up and down the pitlane.
Surprisingly to many, it was Suzuki’s Alex Rins who made the first big move, breaking into the 1:54s for the first time. The Ducati riders showed their strength though four minutes from time with Petrucci knocking half a second off the Spaniard’s time, only to be pipped by Dovizioso on the factory GP18. Ultimately, the two would end the evening on top of the leaderboard with just six thousandths of a second separating them.
Rins held onto third after improving again on his final lap, keeping him ahead of a tight group of riders making up the rest of the top ten. Jorge Lorenzo was fourth, underlining Ducati’s superiority, a hundredth of a second clear of the second Suzuki of Andrea Iannone who kicked off the session with a fiery on-track exchange with Karel Abraham.
Marc Marquez was sixth ahead of fellow Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow while Valentino Rossi led the Yamaha challenge in ninth, the four riders each separated by one thousandth of a second. Johann Zarco was the last rider in the 1:54s in tenth, earning him a potential Q2 spot, and if high temperatures in tomorrow’s daytime FP3 session, Maverick Vinales looks stranded in eleventh.
2018 Grand Prix of Qatar: (Combined Practice Times)
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