Honda Moto2 : Lowes Leads At Losail Qatar 2015

Honda Moto2 : Lowes Leads at Losail Qatar 2015The Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar saw Speed Up’s Sam Lowes top both Moto2™ practice session and set a new track record.
Dry track time during the off season has been limited greatly for the Moto2 ™ riders as their official IRTA tests were hit with rain. Despite the tricky conditions, Sam Lowes put strong performances at all the tests. A big change came in the switch from a carbon to aluminium swing arm for his Speed Up Moto2™ machine.

The Moto2™ field was quick to leave pit lane for FP1, wanting to make the most of the track before conditions dropped off later in the evening. With 22 Kalex frames lining up on the Moto2™ grid, many riders continued to learn their new Kalex machines. Both Lowes and Johann Zarco were quick from the start, each putting in several fastest laps of the session.

A 1’59.717s saw Lowes top the time sheets, as well as break Tito Rabat’s previous record of a 2’00.081s around the Losail International Circuit. The former WSS champion has been building confidence since the end of last year and is ready for a more consistent campaign in his second year of Moto2™. FP2 saw Lowes lead again, however he did not improve on his FP1 time.

Johann Zarco and the newly formed Ajo Motorsport Moto2 Team had also shown pace in the wet tests. The French rider finished last year with three podiums in the last six rounds before making the jump to the Kalex machine with Ajo. A 2’00.339s put the Frenchman 0.662s behind Lowes, he was also unable to improve in FP2.

Reigning Moto2 ™ World Champion Tito Rabat put in characteristically long runs in both sessions, completing 20 laps. A 2’00.368s towards the end of his second run in FP2 was good enough for third overall. Towards the end of FP2 a brief rain shower slowed riders in the final ten minutes.

AGR Team’s Axel Pons jumped from 20th to fourth with a lap time of 2’01.043s, 1.326s slower than Lowes. Takaaki Nakagami was 0.080s behind Pons, the Japanese rider finished second at Qatar last year before being disqualified for an illegal air filter. Nakagami will be looking for a return to his 2013 form after struggling for the majority of last season.

Alex Rins of the Paginas Amarillas HP 40 team was the leading rookie in ninth position, over 1.5 seconds from Lowes. Former teammate, and now EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider, Alex Marquez was 18th and 0.7s behind his fellow rookie.

Last years championship runner up, Mika Kallio, was in 19th after switching to the Italtrans Racing Team for 2015.

Luis Salom had a crash at Turn 10 in FP1 after missing the early parts of the session with a technical problem. Florian Alt fell at Turn 4 in FP2, losing the front and then checking for rain. Thitipong Warokorn also fell in the final minutes of FP2.

Moto2™ FP3 takes place in Qatar at 19:55 local time on Friday.