MotoGP bikes roared back into action today as the Losail International Circuit played host to the first test of the year, with HRC test rider Stefan Bradl on top of the timesheets.
MotoGP action kicked off today in Qatar for the first of six-days of track action at the Losail International Circuit. The first of six days was the standard Shakedown test, where test riders, rookies and those teams with concessions (Aprilia) shakedown their latest machinery ready for the full-time riders to jump on.
Track conditions were less than ideal, with strong winds and a sandy surface for the riders to contend with; however, it didn’t take long for the riders to get up to speed as the sunset over Doha.
HRC rider Stefan Bradl jumped straight to the top of the timesheets, domination the opening day of proceedings. Bradl’s best effort of a 1:55.614 set on lap 55 of 60 was +1.236s quicker than Yamaha’s new-recruit, the returning Cal Crutchlow, who enjoyed his first day back aboard the M1.
The Iwata manufacturer had three test bikes, Franco Morbidelli’s bike, 2020 and 2021 and was ridden by Katsuyuki Nakasuga Cal Crutchlow and Kohta Nozane.
MotoGP rookie Enea Bastianini also had a positive first day, ending the shakedown test as top Ducati, +0.005s clear of test rider Michelle Pirro.
The third Yamaha test bike was sixth on the timesheets ahead of Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori, who secured his full-time slot on the MotoGP grid. The Italian led countryman Luca Marini who made his MotoGP debut with the SKY VR46 Avintia Racing Ducati team. Marini’s best time of a 1:58.376 was +2.762s slower than Bradl’s pacesetter.
Suzuki’s leading test rider came in the form of Sylvain Guintoli; the experienced Frenchman placed ninth on the overall timesheets as the reigning champions embark on a season without Davide Brivio.
Jorge Martin ended his first day as a MotoGP rider in tenth ahead of KTM’s Dani Pedrosa and Suzuki’s second test rider Takuya Tsunoda. Aleix Espargaro was down on the timesheets to test but didn’t set a lap time, instead handing his RS-GP to team-mate Savadori.
MotoGP returns to action tomorrow morning (11am GMT) for our first look at the 2021 grid in action.
Featured image: Repsol Honda Team