By Lisa Lewis

Friday's Moto2 FP3 turned into a session-long duel to lead the timesheets with Sam Lowes coming out on top, setting a new fastest ever lap of the Losail track in the process.

The Speed Up rider started his session confidently with a wheelie out of the pits, but it soon became clear that his Ajo Motosport riding rival was intent on giving him a run for his money, with Johann Zarco the second rider to set a lap under the two minute benchmark on his Kalex.

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Lowes pushed hard to better the Frenchman's lap every time he was beaten and finished Friday with the new best ever lap of 1m 59.541s.

Behind the lead pair defending champion Tito Rabat was quietly putting laps under his belt aboard the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS bike and also set a sub-two minute time towards the close of the session, the only other rider to do so.

Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) improved on day two and moved up to fourth, while Axel Pons finished in fifth but suffered a light crash after the chequered flag had been waved.

The fast times at the top meant that all the riders fifth and below were over a second off the pace, a rare sight in Moto2.

Pons' AGR team-mate Jonas Folger spent some time trailing Lowes in his hunt for speed as he moved up to sixth on the timesheets, Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans) sits in seventh and Tom Luthi (Derendinger Racing Interwetten) eighth as he continues to adapt successfully in his first season riding a Kalex.

Alex Rins won the battle to remain top rookie on Friday, the Paginas Amarillas rider setting the ninth best time; his rival Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was closer than yesterday as his personal best pushed him up to 11th. Belgian rider Xavier Simeon completed the top ten for Federal Oil Gresini.

Taka Nakagami found himself off the pace, with his Thursday time still his best effort in 17th.

Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter improved by nearly a second but still has some work to do in 24th at the end of day two.