Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo led the first practice session of the year as the race season begins in Qatar.
The Spaniard was followed by Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Cal Crutchlow and factory Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi. Repsol Honda’s newbie Marc Marquez set the fourth fastest time of the day.
Ducati newcomer Andrea Dovizioso completed the top five, the Italian led GO&FUN Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl. Coming further back than expected was Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa which saw him take eighth. The leading CRT rider was Aleix Espargaro who set the ninth fastest time on his Power Electronic Aspar machine. Rounding out the top ten was the American Nicky Hayden.
The first race weekend of the season sees Qatar celebrating its tenth anniversary of holding a race on the MotoGP calendar. And will see the new qualifying rules put into place, the combination of practice times from across the free practice sessions will help make up the qualifying line-up for Saturday. The fastest ten riders will go head to head to decide who will be on pole, while those outside the top ten will compete for places thirteen onwards. The new separate qualifying system will see the fastest riders run together and then the slowest riders run together. By Laura Turner