Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) – the “old man” is slowly feeling like a driver again, he said in an interview on Wednesday. After initial difficulties, especially on the second day of the test, things went much better for him afterwards (© MotoGP).

The penultimate day of Losail testing – 2 weeks before the 1st GP

Two weeks from now there will be the first press conference before a Grand Prix race in the desert state of Qatar. If you dream of the participation of the Repsol Honda driver with the number 93, please do not be disappointed if it is not there. As long as Marquez has taken a close look at the tests, and we assume so, regardless of the judgment of his doctors, realists do not believe in a return before the start of the European season. But even without him there is a lot of tension, and at the latest since March 10th there is also a lot of hope for the Repsol Honda Team. With Pol Espargró, HRC boss Alberto Puig should have made the right move to strengthen the team. Unless he falls, he has been a podium candidate for the first GP of the season since Wednesday.

Cal Crutchlow – the new Yamaha test rider is doing a lot better than last year Jorge Lorenzo. As you can see here, he was also looking for the limit and found it obvious. Let’s hope Marque’s doctors don’t see this picture before assessing his condition (© MotoGP).

What will happen to KTM?

At the moment, their results are proof of the skeptics who had announced a relapse into the third class. Without their test advantage, the KTM last year thanks to their concession status, the new Michelin tires and their early and sometimes exclusive tests like in Brno and Spielberg last year, their magic has apparently evaporated. If their drivers do not manage to create attractive times by Friday, there is a risk of embarrassment. The loss of Pol Espargró could turn into a disaster for the oranges. By March 28th after the first race at the latest, it will become clear whether KTM will have to eke out a shadowy existence as a backbench team again.

Miguel Oliveira (KTM) – Everything currently indicates that he is the only hope for the orange brand from Austria. Team-mate Binder has already had 4 falls in his bones and the two Tech 3 riders seem to stumble in the pursuit of good times (© MotoGP).

The first reference times at 3:30 p.m.

As always before, the test drivers were on the track first. Then Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales joined them. Later Marini and Lecuona and gradually the rest of the pilots came to their first laps. What has stood out so far is a cautious Stefan Bradl, who did not do 10 laps on Thursday until 3:30 p.m. after his crash yesterday. On the other hand, many Yamaha riders shine with regular and good times. Only world champion Joan Mir has not yet been on the track. The fastest laps so far were around 1.5 seconds above the new absolute best time of Ducati Hope Jack Miller on March 10th. In the middle of the afternoon it looks like long runs for most of the drivers and not the hunt for a record lap. That’s why Valentino Rossi’s fourth-best time should give the fans courage.

120F. QUARTARARO1:54.548
221F. MORBIDELLI+0.040
341A. ESPARGARO+0.173
446V. ROSSI+0.292
544P. ESPARGARO+0.442
663F. BAGNAIA+0.443
75J. ZARCO+0.444
812M. VIÑALES+0.542
943J. MILLER+0.571
106S. BRADL+0.776
Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) before the reigning Moto2 world champion Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama Ducati) – the former best rookie and co-favorite to win the first GP of the year before the most convincing rookie so far (© MotoGP).

At 3:45 p.m. – with Luca Marini, the first rookie in the top ten

While the best times are slowly approaching the 1:54 limit, Luca Marini gave a premiere. For the first time, a rookie made it into the top ten at 3:45 p.m. After all, his half-brother Valentino Rossi was still a tad faster than the Ducati newcomer. But apparently equipped with tips from their mother, Luca seems inspired to go to work on the fourth day. Joan Mir was the last driver on the track, but immediately set the seventh best time. By the evening the best times should drop significantly and possibly even the 1:53 will be cracked on March 11th.

144P. ESPARGARO1:54.103
220F. QUARTARARO+0.445
321F. MORBIDELLI+0.485
441A. ESPARGARO+0.618
563F. BAGNAIA+0.648
636J. MIR+0.653
788M. OLIVEIRA+0.668
846V. ROSSI+0.737
95J. ZARCO+0.889
1010L. MARINI+0.919
Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia Ducati) – best rookie standing shortly before 4 p.m. and also the first ever in the top ten since the beginning of the year (© MotoGP).

The result was 4:30 p.m. – the asparagus brothers in front

As on the day before, it is again Aleix and Pol with the asparagus in their name, who top the table with the best times at 4:30 p.m. With Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama Ducati), with the sixth fastest time at this point, a rookie is now even further ahead than Luca Marini. To Honda’s relief, Alex Marquez finally made it to the top ten. After a fall in the first week of testing, the brother of the multiple world champion clearly seems to be on the up. There should still be room for improvement, even if Aleix Espargaró was the first to set a 1:53 time.

141A. ESPARGARO1:53.869
244P. ESPARGARO+0.234
342A. RINS+0.261
412M. VIÑALES+0.441
520F. QUARTARARO+0.533
623E. BASTIANINI+0.636
721F. MORBIDELLI+0.719
873A. MARQUEZ+0.823
95J. ZARCO+0.837
1063F. BAGNAIA+0.882

163F. BAGNAIA1:53.444
241A. ESPARGARO+0.196
336J. MIR+0.383
444P. ESPARGARO+0.659
542A. RINS+0.686
612M. VIÑALES+0.866
720F. QUARTARARO+0.958
889J. MARTIN+1.039
923E. BASTIANINI+1.061
1021F. MORBIDELLI+1.144

The intermediate result shortly after 5:00 p.m. – the rookie attack

After Luca Marini and Enea Bastianini, Pramac Ducati newcomer Jorge Martin also made it into the top ten shortly before 5 p.m. With a time a tiny 22 thousandths faster than “La Bestia”, the Spaniard was the fastest rookie since the start of the test in Losail. Aprilia ace Aleix Espargaró was replaced as the fastest driver on the track by Francesco Bagnaia shortly after 5:00 p.m. With 1:53.444 the Italian set the provisional best time of the day on the factory Ducati. The record lap of his team-mate Jack Miller remained untouched. With Joan Mir and Alex Rins, both Suzuki drivers were in the top five at this point.

163F. BAGNAIA1:53.444
241A. ESPARGARO+0.196
336J. MIR+0.383
444P. ESPARGARO+0.659
542A. RINS+0.686
612M. VIÑALES+0.866
720F. QUARTARARO+0.958
889J. MARTIN+1.039
923E. BASTIANINI+1.061
1021F. MORBIDELLI+1.144
Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia – on the 4th of 5 test days, the name of the Ducati works driver was at the top of the timetable for the first time. Based on the experiences of the last few days, it is to be expected that the time of the 24-year-old from Turin in northern Italy will be topped until 7 p.m. (© MotoGP).

Final score at 7:00 p.m. – Viñales best time and Marquez Crash

It was reassuring for the Rossi fans from about an hour before the end of the session. The old master drove consistently fast laps with the fourth-best time of all drivers up to 6:20 p.m. At that point the Petronas Yamaha SRT rider was the best Yamaha rider. Twenty minutes before the end of the fourth of 5 days of testing, this was his predecessor, Fabio Quartararo, on the Yamaha customer team. The young Frenchman set a provisional best time of the day, which was topped by one and a half tenths eight minutes before the end of teammate Viñales with 1: 53.244. Thursday ended with a crash for Alex Marquez, anything but as desired. When he came out of the medical center, we saw his right lower leg and foot in a cast. It doesn’t look like the Catalans will be back on his Honda on Friday.

112M. VIÑALES1:53.244
221F. MORBIDELLI+0.079
320F. QUARTARARO+0.154
463F. BAGNAIA+0.200
541A. ESPARGARO+0.396
636J. MIR+0.583
742A. RINS+0.616
846V. ROSSI+0.749
95J. ZARCO+0.812
1044P. ESPARGARO+0.859

The KTM dilemma continued
The KTM riders behaved very discreetly again. Only occasionally represented in the top ten with Oliveira, the fastest was usually around a second or more. In the end, Brad Binder was only sixteenth as the best of the oranges, 1.447 seconds behind the fastest time of Monster Energy Yamaha rider Viñales. In positions 18 and 19 were Oliveira and Petrucci. At the moment there is little to suggest that KTM will catch up before the two-week break before the first Grand Prix follows.