Quartararo back on top while Zarco stands out

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Fabio Quartararo took a short break from topping the winter testing times on day one in Qatar, bur normal service was resumed on the second day of running. 

The Frenchman went a second quicker than day one where he finished eighth, to lead Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales

A lap time of 1:54.038s was just over a tenth quicker than that of day one pace setter Rins, while Vinales consolidated his favorite status heading into round one in two weeks time with yet more supreme race pace. 

So far, testing has been all about the Yamaha and Suzuki factories, with the new tyres brought forward by Michelin suiting the smooth high-speed cornering bikes. 

With Qatar being on of the most well suited circuits on the calendar for that particular style, testing results could become a very real possibility come race weekend. 

Quartararo put in 65 laps over the course of the day, which was topped by Vinales on 68. Rins meanwhile completed 53 and set his fastest time on his penultimate lap. 

Fourth was the second Petronas SRT Yamaha of Franco Morbidelli +0.443s down on his teammate. 

Fifth was Francesco Bagnaia, who had one of his better testing day’s for Pramac and consequently was the top Ducati. However, he was only one spot ahead of Johann Zarco on the Reale Avintia Ducati

It was a superb day for Zarco, who is showing just why the hierarchy at Ducati made sure to get their man in the off-season. 

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Considering this is the 29 year-old’s fourth different manufacutrer in the last 14 months, his adaptation has been nothing short of brilliant. 

Seventh was Joan Mir, who also continues to impress on the Suzuki. Mir was on course for the top time in the closing stages but had a small fall.

Eighth was Andrea Dovizioso who finished in the top ten for the first time during testing this season. 

Dovizioso was just ahead of fellow Italian Valentino Rossi. The Yamaha rider was very consistent with his pace during the day, and like Vinales tried out the new holeshot device on several practice start occasions. 

Tenth and top Honda was Takaaki Nakagami for LCR. While he completed the lowest number of laps by any rider in the top ten, Nakagami will be boosted by the pace he was able to show. 

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Aleix Espargaro was 11th for Aprilia. The Spaniard admitted it was a day of ‘two half’s’ as he struggled in the morning, but made several steps forward as the conditions approached what will be race time. 

The second factory Ducati of Danilo Petrucci was 12th, and like teammate Dovizioso was happy with the progress made from Sepang. 

Next up on the timingsheets in 13th was the KTM of Pol Espargaro with defending champion Marc Marquez one place back. 

Qatar has not been the best venue for KTM as they look to find a better setup for one of their weaker circuits. 

For Marquez, it was tough day’s work, as another crash resulted in a completely wrecked machine, but thankfully he was fine. 

It wasn’t just Marc who struggled as Alex Marquez was 19th and Cal Crutchlow in a surprising 21st position. With only one day left of testing, it will be an important one for all the Honda riders. 

Jack Miller was 15th on the day, as the Australian never attempted a time-attack. The last of the Ducati’s was 16th in the shape of Tito Rabat, who finished nearly a second down on Zarco. 

Miguel Oliveira then led a Tech 3 KTM double as he completed 53 laps, the same number as teammate Iker Lecuona, with both men still recovering from injuries. 

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Finally we have Brad Binder, who concluded the penultimate testing day in 20th place. The Moto2 runner up posted his fastest lap very early on, so there should be more pace to come from Binder. 

Rounding up the classification was Bradley Smith, who was +2.360s down on the top time. As of now Smith is riding with the belief that he could be alongside Aleix for round one, unless the team get a decision on Andrea Iannone’s future. 

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