Sandro Cortese put Red Bull KTM on top of the timesheets during Friday's final practice session for the inaugural Moto3 grand prix in Qatar.

The German, sixth on Thursday, emerged ahead after a tense end to the session that saw Luis Salom, Maverick Vinales and rookie Raman Fenati all take turns at the front.

Cortese best lap time was set on his twelfth and final lap, after which he impressively saved a lowside fall by lifting the bike back up with his knee. Not so lucky were Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Hector Faubel, who both few as the chequered flag was waved.

Fenati, who had signaled his speed in the final pre-season test, was just 0.034sec slower than Cortese after Team Italia's late switch to FTR-Honda machinery, with Luis Salom completing a top three covered by 0.1sec on his Kalex KTM.

Double Thursday practice leader Vinales dropped to fourth for Avintia Blusens, but was only 0.135sec from Cortese and the Spaniard's FP2 lap remained unbeaten. A 0.4sec gap then separated Vinales from Miguel Oliveira, the top Honda (chassis) rider.

The first ever Moto3 qualifying session will be held on Saturday evening.

Moto3, which features 250cc four-stroke machinery, has replaced the 125cc two-stroke class which ran from 1949-2011. The machinery change is instantly clear, with the deep four-stroke rumble replacing the two-stroke 'zing'.

Last year's 125cc pole time was a 2min 6.605sec. As in Moto2, Dunlop is the exclusive Moto3 tyre supplier. Unlike in Moto2, open engine competition is allowed.

Friday practice:

1. Sandro Cortese (FTR Honda) 2m 8.342s
2. Romano Fenati (KTM) 2m 8.376s
3. Luis Salom (KTM) 2m 8.443s
4. Maverick Vi?ales (Honda) 2m 8.477s
5. Miguel Oliveira (Honda) 2m 8.904s
6. Danny Kent (KTM) 2m 9.025s
7. Alex Rins (Kalex KTM) 2m 9.303s
8. Hector Faubel (FTR Honda) 2m 9.448s
9. Alexis Masbou (Kalex KTM) 2m 9.688s
10. Niccolo Antonelli (Honda) 2m 9.696s


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