Andrea Dovizioso set the early pace as the 2018 MotoGP season officially got underway under sunny skies at Losail. Last year’s championship runner-up edged out Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez while Andrea Iannone ensured four different manufacturers ended the first session inside the top four.
Sunday’s race will take place after sunset under the floodlights but due to the revised schedule for 2018, FP1 and FP3 for the premier class will take place during daylight hours. As a result, the conditions weren’t particularly representative of the Grand Prix itself on Sunday with temperatures set to drop considerably later this evening.
Due to the higher temperatures, lap times were significantly slower than the pre-season test here two weeks ago with Dovizioso improving to a 1:55.366, 1.3 seconds slower than Johann Zarco’s testing benchmark. Rossi was a close second after previously hitting the front four minutes from time while Marquez trailed three tenths further back in third.
Iannone, who missed the final day of testing here due to illness, led a close pack of riders in fourth with Jorge Lorenzo fractionally slower in fifth after a strong start to the session. Zarco took sixth ahead of a visibly agitated Cal Crutchlow while Alex Rins, Danilo Petrucci and Tito Rabat rounded out the top ten, although those positions are sure to be shaken up in tonight’s second session.
Of the rookies, Tech 3’s Hafizh Syahrin led the way in an impressive fifteenth while KTM, whose bikes will be run by the French squad next season, suffered a tough start with a crash for Pol Espargaro.
2018 Grand Prix of Qatar (FP1 Result)
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