Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) – the old master only got in after 2 p.m., but immediately set one of the fastest times and was in fourth place after an hour and a half (© MotoGP).

First MotoGP test day of the year on March 6th in Losail

After the Shakedown Test was definitely not a time hunt, hardly anything will change on the first day with all the stars of the premier class. After all, there have already been time improvements compared to the first day and at the end of the first stint it will be interesting to see how the rookies do. For these and the test drivers, Saturday is already the second day of testing and all of these pilots took it easy on Friday. In the first hour and a half on Saturday, of the established drivers, only Pol Espargaró, Johann Zarco and Petrux were on the track. From shortly before 2 p.m. the next of the more experienced did their rounds.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) – the only samurai in the premier class wants to achieve his first podium this season, but he would prefer a win (© MotoGP).

Intermediate result of the top 10 at 4:10 p.m. – Zarco the fastest

Since the times are still around 1.5 seconds above the reference value from Maverick Viñales 2 years ago, their informative value is still relatively low. We had already pointed out in the preliminary report that the pilots would hardly risk their heads and necks for a best time until the first of two consecutive weekends in Losail. In this respect, the times with a slight improvement compared to the shakedown on Friday reflect exactly this. Nevertheless, improvements can still be expected in the course of the day. We had already predicted in advance that Johan Zarco would feel very comfortable on the Ducati GP-21 early on.

15J. ZARCO1:55.163
241A. ESPARGARO+0.096
36S. BRADL+0.199
421F. MORBIDELLI+0.388
512M. VIÑALES+0.528
620F. QUARTARARO+0.544
788M. OLIVEIRA+0.647
846V. ROSSI+0.730
933B. BINDER+1.009
1044P. ESPARGARO+1.138

Top Ten at 5:30 p.m. – Aleix with the first 1:54 time

Aleix Espargaró is always to be expected on a fast lap. The brother of Honda’s newcomer Pol clearly demonstrated this again in Losail. The Catalan undercut Johann Zarco’s previous best time by almost half a second and was the first to stay below 1:55 this year. But that’s still a good second missing from the best time of Yamaha Ass Viñales.

141A. ESPARGARO1:54.687
25J. ZARCO+0.476
312M. VIÑALES+0.572
442A. RINS+0.623
56S. BRADL+0.675
643J. MILLER+0.714
733B. BINDER+0.848
821F. MORBIDELLI+0.864
920F. QUARTARARO+1.020
1082Yamaha TEST2+1.120
Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Ecstar) – as a test pilot, the WorldSBK top driver and world champion from 2014 is one of the cornerstones of the success of the Japanese brand from Hamamatsu (© MotoGP).

Top Ten at 6:00 p.m. – where are the KTM riders?

In the meantime, four drivers have already set a faster time than Zarco, who set the first top time in the afternoon. Although all KTM pilots were on the track shortly after 12 noon from the start, not a single one of them is now represented in the top 10. Quartararo is also holding back rather discreetly for the time being, but the young man from Nice can of course shake a best time off his sleeve at any time. His weakness is currently at most not being among the best when it is wet. However, rain is very rare in Qatar and therefore it is often very dusty and extremely dry there. Up to this point the fastest rookie was Jorge Martin in 18th place, 1.48 seconds behind Aleix’s previous record.

141A. ESPARGARO1:54.687
26S. BRADL+0.256
336J. MIR+0.293
443J. MILLER+0.335
55J. ZARCO+0.423
621F. MORBIDELLI+0.487
742A. RINS+0.511
812M. VIÑALES+0.572
973A. MARQUEZ+0.591
1030T. NAKAGAMI+0.780
Yamaha test driver Cal Crutchlow – a familiar face who will probably only be seen on the grid if a driver is injured (© MotoGP).

The final timesheet for the first test day in Losail in 2021

With just over a second of the best time from 2 years ago, Aleix Espargaró remained the fastest driver on the Aprilia in the end. All brands are represented at the front, but the significance of the strength ratios for the season opener is close to zero. At least Stefan Bradl can no longer claim that the Honda is not competitive and that he has too few test kilometers when he continues to represent the permanently injured Marc Marquez. On the contrary, he and Aleix will be the driver with the most kilometers in the first Grand Prix of the year on March 28th. There were no surprises, with the exception of the modest times of some drivers who were on the track from the start. Including Brad Binder, as well as the two veterans Pol Espargaró and Danilo Petrucci. The second day of testing on the Losail International Circuit continues on Sunday.

The test drivers in italics, which is a fraudulent label for Stefan Bradl. The rookies are listed in bold.
Luca Marini (Ducati) – Valentino Rossi’s half-brother, like the other rookies, took it easy on the first day of testing in Qatar. Therefore, the distances between the newcomers and the top were of secondary importance and of minor importance for the time being.

The moment of truth will not strike before March 26

Even if many writers like to try to portray it differently, the sausage will only be about 3 weeks away. On March 26, 2021, the season will be launched with the FP1. Any driver who risked too much beforehand could endanger his season opener with an injury. Therefore, the informative value of the first test drives of this season is of little value. It is also to be expected that not all drivers will reveal their cards before the first GP weekend. Above all, it’s a shame that the senseless postponement of the start of the season to Qatar means that the fans have to forego live broadcasts of the training sessions. Even the buyers of the MotoGP subscription were fooled into this. Only abridged summaries of the day are shown there.

Fabio Quartararo in the new colors of the Monster Energy Yamaha factory team – will the Frenchman live up to expectations this season and deliver a consistent season? (© MotoGP).