Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class at Lusail:
The warm and windy morning in Qatar didn’t leave much room for improvement for the lightweight class but there was still time to be found in the short time attack at the end of FP3. Dennis Foggia was one of the first riders to improve and the Italian led the way for most of the session with a decent advantage. Ayumu Sasaki looked like his only challenger, as he climbed from outside the top 20 at the chequered flag, but some late yellow flags caught him out and his session topping time got cancelled, demoting him back into Q1.
Izan Guevara has topped the timesheets at the end of the first day of the Qatar GP for the Moto3 class. The GasGas Aspar rider pulled out a big lead of over four tenths of a second over John McPhee on the Sterilgarda Husqvarna. Tatsuki Suzuki took the third spot on the Le0pard Honda, a tenth of a second behind McPhee and a few hundredths ahead of a gaggle of riders including Sergio Garcia, Andrea Migno, Jaume Masia, and Carlos Tatay.
The new MotoGP season got its usual soft opening in Qatar, with the lightweight class starting the traditional FP1 cleaning sessions. Although the hierarchy was unlikely to give much of a hint at the contenders come Sunday, Dennis Foggia reminded us of his status as a favourite by claiming the lead early on. Although the Italian was momentarily challenged by the likes of Carlos Tatay and Andrea Migno, in a late and brief time attack, Foggia swiftly resumed control to end the session almost one second quicker than his rivals.
Last week, the Grand Prix Commission changed the red flag rules for all three grand prix classes. Previously, the result of a race that was red flagged was taken from the last lap on which all riders had crossed the finish line before the red flag was shown. But in response to the perceived injustice of that situation, the GPC has changed to bring the result closer to the actual standing at the time the red flag was actually shown.
In the new situation, the final lap before the red flag was shown will determine the outcome. All of the riders on the same lap as the leader will be classified in the order they crossed the line. Any riders not on the same lap as the leader will be classified in the order they crossed the line on the penultimate lap before the red flag.
After three days of testing for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes at Portimão, the 2022 preseason is officially over. It was pretty much over by about 4pm on Monday, with just 10 riders out in the Moto3 class, and even fewer in the Moto2 class. I went for a quick walk around the service road at 5:30pm, and was too late to see the last bike circulate.
That is in itself a sign of how successful this test was for the lightweight and intermediate classes. Three days of outstanding weather, with the wind the biggest issue on the first day, and no disruption for the rest of the test. The teams got pretty much all of the testing done that they needed to.
Unlike a MotoGP test, the amount of technical material to test is limited. In Moto3, engine development is still frozen for another couple of years, although both Honda and KTM had new exhausts obviously aimed at improving engine character. In Moto2, Triumph had brought a new gearbox, which is more race-focused, with a longer first gear and shorter fifth and sixth, making it more of a close-ratio box.
Combined best times over all three days:
Dennis Foggia will leave the Portimão Moto3 test as fastest, the Leopard Honda rider diving under the pole record set at last November's Algarve GP and into the 1'46s. Foggia was quick despite missing the first day and a half of testing with stomach issue. Snipers Rivacold rider Andrea Migno makes it a Honda one-two, five hundredths slower than Foggia.
Izan Guevara is the first of KTM-based machines, the Spanish youngster putting the Aspar GasGas bike into third, ahead of Ayumi Sasaki on the Husqvarna, and David Muñoz on the KTM.
Tatsuki Suzuki continued his control of the Portimão Moto3 test, topping the timesheets on the second day at the Portuguese circuit. Times were over a second faster than yesterday, but Suzuki failed to get under Sergio Garcia's record of 1'47.274. Dennis Foggia, returning to action after a bout of stomach problems, was second fastest, a couple of hundredths behind Suzuki, making it a clean sweep for the Leopard team.
Andrea Migno was third quickest, making it three Hondas at the top of the timesheets, while Carlos Tatay put the CFMOTO - a rebadged KTM - into fourth spot.