MotoGP finished the final day of pre-season in Losail under floodlights today, with Aleix Espargaro and NGM Mobile Forward Racing taking the final laurels before the field returns next month for the season opening race.
Espargaro also posted the fastest time on Friday, with top factory teams Ducati, Yamaha and Repsol Honda all absent and World Champion Marc Marquez continuing to recover from a broken leg sustained in a quadbike accident last month. Espargaro and his brother Pol, racing in his debut season in the premier class for Herve Poncheral’s Yamaha Tech 3 squad, sandwiched the younger Espargaro brother’s team-mate Bradley Smith who represented British interest some 0.2 behind Aleix. Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl came in in 5th and 6th position, both trialling settings from Sepang before moving to more optimal setups for day two.
Both men made improvements on day two and claimed the top two spots, the Spaniard beating the German by 0.3 seconds. Aleix Espargaro continued his strong showing and was the fastest Yamaha on track once again in 3rd while Smith again split him from younger brother Pol. Yonny Hernandez provided some action when he lost the front end of his bike and crashed late on, fortunately without injury.
Day three brought spills for more riders, with Bautista, Smith and Hector Barbera all going down. Bradl came off worse with two falls, thankfully avoiding harm. The Espargaro brothers again lead the way for much of the day and into the final hour, Aleix ahead of Pol by 0.333 and Bradley Smith sitting a further 0.153 back in 3rd. And, once again, it was Aleix who concluded the day at the head of the rankings, leading his brother to a 1-2 finish with just 0.033 separating them. Britain’s Scott Redding, MotoGP rookie for 2014, finished his solid weekend’s running in 11th.