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Lorenzo Leads Day 1 in Qatar, Vinales Is Right Behind Him

We may be witnesses to a new MotoGP star rising, as Maverick Vinales picked up in Qatar where he left off at Phillip Island. Jorge Lorenzo set a 1'55.452 lap time, which is a good second and a half from the 2015 lap time, but things are expected to improve as the riders spend more time on the Losail track.
Lorenz, Qatar test day 1,2016. 35 photos
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The big surprise of the day comes from Suzuki Ecstar's Maverick Vinales, whose best lap time was only 0.428 slower than Lorenzo's, showing once more that he is feeling increasingly confident in his capabilities, while the 2016 bike is performing significantly better than the previous machine.

Rossi took a fall early in the session, with a low-speed drift of the bike sending him to the ground at Turn 10. The Yamaha rider was unscathed and returned to the track to put in a 1'55.894 lap for the third-fastest time of the day. The top three riders were the only ones to get into the 1'55s, but we just have to see what Honda and Ducati have up their sleeves.

No less than four Ducati bikes followed, with the fastest of them being Iannone's factory machine, 0.667s slower than Lorenzo. He was trailed by satellite rider Scott Redding and Hector Barbera, again very fast on his Avintia customer Ducati.

Dovizioso put his Ducati seventh on the day's time sheets ahead of Cal Crutchlow, with Smith and Marc Marquez rounding the top ten. The Espargaro brothers Aleix and Pol were 11th and 12th, respectively, while Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa was only 13th.

Of the three factory test riders, Michele Pirro was the fastest, 17th aboard the satellite Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati bike, substituting for injured Danilo Petrucci. HRC's Hiroshi Aoyama and Suzuki's Takuya Tsuda were 21st and 23rd, respectively.Honda joins Yamaha and Ducati in testing aerodynamic winglets
Aerodynamic winglets could be observed on the lab bike HRC rider Hiroshi Aoyama took on the track in Qatar. Honda's bodywork add-ons are significantly smaller and more discrete than what both Iwata and Bologna used until now, and appear to be mounted at a different angle.

This makes us believe that Honda is trying to correct other types of unwanted behavior in their 2016 RC213V machines, or improve certain aspects that require such an approach. It is hard to say if and when these winglets might become permanent as in the case of Ducati, whose motorcycles exhibit them in an almost ostentatious way.

The final IRTA test ahead of the March 20 season opener continues tonight, with the first bikes allowed on the Losail Circuit at 16:00 Local Time.

 
 
 
 
 

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