Johann Zarco lapped at near-record pace to finish the final day of winter testing on top at Losail. The Tech 3 rider was just a tenth of a second shy of the unofficial circuit record on Saturday evening as he led a Yamaha 1-2, a quarter of a second clear of factory rider Valentino Rossi.
Friday’s running had seen Andrea Iannone emerge as the surprise pacesetter for Suzuki but a stomach virus ruled the Italian out of the final day. In his absence, Zarco took over at the top with a sensational 1:54.029 that moved him four tenths clear of the competition, only for Rossi to close the gap with a time attack half an hour before the end of the night. The Doctor had earlier tumbled at turn 14 but escaped any injury.
Andrea Dovizioso also climbed up the leaderboard late on, taking third for Ducati, while Cal Crutchlow rounded off an exceptional winter for LCR Honda by finishing fourth. Thursday pacesetter Maverick Vinales was fifth overall, with Iannone’s Friday time enough to keep him sixth on combined times.
On Saturday alone, reigning champion Marc Marquez completed the top six ahead of the lone remaining Suzuki of Alex Rins with a trio of Suzukis rounding out the top ten, Danilo Petrucci edging out Jorge Lorenzo and Jack Miller.
The evening also saw wet-weather testing in Qatar as the riders explored the possibility of a night race taking place in the event of rain on March 18. Other than a near-highside for Marquez, the experiment appeared to pass off without cause for concern.
2018 MotoGP Pre-Season Testing: Losail (Day Three)
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