Sam Lowes finishes Day 3 of the Moto2 Qatar test in P1 as Cameron Beaubier shows what he’s made of.
Sam Lowes is gunning for the Moto2 title this year after narrowly missing out in 2020, he is proving this during testing taking P1 on Day 3 with a time of 1’58.655 which is still 0.500 from the lap record set by Joe Roberts in 2020 proving there is still lots more room for improvement as we head into the first race week of 2021, he finished just 0.013 ahead of Marco Bezzecchi in P2, the Italian also eyeing championship glory following from a P4 overall behind Lowes in 2020, the duo are two of the biggest title favourites but you cannot count out about 10 more riders given how unbelievably close Moto2 is.
Speaking of title contenders, Remy Gardner is also a huge favourite – the son of 1987 500cc champion Wayne Gardner moves into the Red Bull KTM Ajo set up after being on the KTM radar for some time now, even denying a factory RC16 to replace Zarco back in 2019. Gardner took P3 overall only 0.048 from Sam Lowes and has looked incredibly strong with the Ajo set up, the team are well known for breeding MotoGP riders and world champions and Gardner is no exception to this.
The Petronas Moto2 boys once again put in an incredibly solid shift in Qatar taking P4 and P5, the duo are eyeing the team’s world championship as well as the rider titles and based upon their testing performance this is truly within reach for the duo. Jake Dixon seems to have reinvented himself and come back 10x stronger after missing the final three races of the 2020 season after breaking his wrist, more motivated than ever he placed in P4 and has been incredibly consistent during testing and remains one of the few riders able to set a lap time in the 1:58 mark. His teammate Xavi Vierge is also a rider pushing to do well with the team after some solid results in 2020 with a pole position to his name also, the Spaniard has previously raced for some top tier teams including IntactGP and Marc VDS and will be looking to stamp his name into the Moto2 history books in 2021.
Bo Bendsneyder is a rider who was not expecting to be on the Moto2 grid this year, despite some incredibly impressive performances in 2020 on the NTS chassis he found himself without a ride in 2021 and even signed a deal to race in World Supersport, however, a rebranded SAG Racing Team came to him in the eleventh hour to ride for them for the 2021 Moto2 season under the ‘Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team’ banner, the team won the final race of the season in 2020 with Remy Gardner and this is the first year which Bo will race the preferred Kalex chassis, proving already he likes the feeling of them finishing Day 3 in the 1:58’s with a time of 1’58.904 only 0.249 from P1, he finished ahead of Niccolo Bulega in P7 who is the final rider in the 1:58 bracket.
Rookie Raul Fernandez has really impressed in Moto2 testing.
Raul Fernandez took P8 overall and is another rookie in the class who has been extremely impressive, the Spanish rider taking the Kalex chassis by the horns and finishing in the top 10 for many of the testing sessions using his height and extra weight to his advantage to extract the most out of his Kalex. He leads an Aspar Boscoscuro duo of Albert Arenas and Aron Canet in P9 and P10 respectively.
Ai Ogura was another rookie who put in a solid shift, the Asia Team Asia rider placing in P12 and showing lots of progress in the team he nearly won the Moto3 title for in 2020. The USA is making a comeback to Grand Prix Racing and they are doing it in style! Cameron Beaubier was the fastest American on track today being his compatriot Joe Roberts by a mere 0.011 as the duo place P13 and P14 with Beaubier being only 0.695 away from Lowes in P1, he has shown significant promise and has adapted to the Moto2 way of life much quicker than expected following his life in the USA picking up 5 Superbike titles in the MotoAmerica series, he is looking to prove to many that a move from MotoAmerica straight into the world championship can be done following from some less than favourable attempts from riders in the past, he is racing for the American Racing Team who’s sole aim is to bring American’s to Moto2.
As we look further down the order at the rookies we can see Celestino Vietti in P25, the Italian learning the ropes of the class following from two outstanding seasons in the lightweight class, he finishes ahead of CEV Moto2 champion Yari Montella in P27 and Barry Baltus in P29 who beat his teammate Hafizh Syahrin who finished in last place.
Featured image – Marc VDS