Qatar Test wrap: Vinales flexes muscle, Quartararo stars

Maverick Vinales Qatar Testing Top 2019 MotoGP

Yamaha looks set to enter the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar as the strongest team down the pit lane after finishing in the top two across all three days of the final MotoGP™ pre-season test. 

Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales set the pace on Saturday and Monday of the test, also in Qatar, pipped only by Team Suzuki’s Alex Rins on Sunday.

On day one, the Spaniard posted his fastest time late into the Qatar night, once again showing his promising pre-season speed.

Factory Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci followed closely behind, just under six-tenths of a second off the pace.

Reigning world champion Marc Marquez could only manage the 10th quickest time on the first day, completing 34 laps as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery.

Day two saw Rins and Vinales in a battle with 19-year-old rookie Fabio Quartararo from the Petronas Yamaha outfit. Former Moto2™ rider Quartararo covered an impressive 54 laps, coming within three-tenths of the fastest time set by Rins.

Marquez enjoyed a better outing, tallying up 57 laps despite a fall midway through the eight-hour session as he set the fifth quickest time behind Petrucci.

While all six factory teams finished in the top 10 on Sunday, Valentino Rossi ended the day in 19th despite covering a massive 51 laps.

Yamaha stormed back to the top of the timesheets on the final day, Vinales rounding out the three days with the fastest time of a 1:54.208.

Quartararo continued his impressive form, going second quickest, while Marquez put in another 50+ lap outing to finish third.

Rossi also returned to the front end of the pecking order, finishing just ahead of Jorge Lorenzo who was fifth fastest in his new Repsol Honda colours.

The factory Ducati team fell down the timing screens, electing to focus on long runs and set-ups as Petrucci placed ninth followed by Dovizioso in 15th.

Meanwhile, Jack Miller improved his times across all three days, concluding on the final day in 10th.

The Australian closed his pre-season onboard the new Ducati Desmosedici GP19 sixth tenths off the pace. As seen last season, the 24-year-old will push hard for more solid points-paying finishes after crossing the line 10 times in the top 10 during 2018.

The Grand Prix of Qatar opens the 2019 MotoGP™ World Championship on 8-10 March, before the bikes arrive at Phillip Island for the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2019 on 25-27 October.


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