Maverick Vinales gave Movistar Yamaha a timely boost by topping the timesheets on day one of the final pre-season test at Losail. The team endured a tough test in Thailand two weeks ago but Vinales showed a return of the form that saw him win in Qatar at the start of last season, edging out Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Many riders waited for the sun to set before carrying out any meaningful running with the season opener at the same venue scheduled to take place under floodlights. Once darkness had descended, the times quickly began to tumble with Valentino Rossi breaking into the 1:55s to lead his team-mate Vinales. Around the halfway mark, Jorge Lorenzo hit the front for Ducati, but Vinales would ultimately lead the session aboard a Yamaha sporting new aerodynamic upgrades.
Ducati maintained second spot at a circuit that has suited them in the past, although it was Andrea Dovizioso who ended the night as Vinales’ nearest challenger. Andrea Iannone took a superb third as Suzuki look to finalise their package for the season and avoid the errors that plagued them throughout 2017 once their machine was homologated.
Johann Zarco was just 0.133s off the pace in fourth ahead of Lorenzo and Alex Rins on the second Suzuki while Valentino Rossi slipped to seventh, just ahead of Danilo Petrucci and a trio of Hondas, with Cal Crutchlow, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa ninth, tenth and eleventh respectively.
2018 MotoGP Pre-Season Testing: Losail (Day One)
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