Tom Luthi lead the way during the opening night of official 2017 Moto2 action, at Losail in Qatar.

The 2016 Qatar race winner saw his progress slowed in FP2 after a fall at the popular turn two, his CarXpert Interwetten machine taking a fair bit of damage in the crash, but remained top after his smooth riding and quick pace in FP1 gave him an unbeaten lap of 2m 00.422s.

Fellow Kalex rider Taka Nakagami was second in both sessions leading him to hold the same position in the overall table for Idemitsu Honda Team Asia, continuing his strong pre-season form at Losail, just 0.080s off his Swiss rivals pace.

Miguel Oliveira looked assured on his new Red Bull KTM Ajo machine as his early pace remained the third best time on the day.

The EG 0,0 Marc VDS pair of Franco Morbidelli and Alex Marquez were evenly matched for speed, with the Italian just edging ahead for fourth overall, with Marquez fifth.

Francesco Bagnaia was one of a handful of riders able to find improvement in the tricky second session, a skilled run pushing the Sky Racing team rider up to sixth overall, the best placed rookie at the close of day one after topping FP2.

Fellow Italian Mattia Pasini was pushed back to seventh for Italtrans, and only just held off another late fast performance by another Moto2 rookie as Fabio Quartararo quickly found his form for Pons HP40, improving to eighth overall and impressing with a fast time in the gusty conditions.

Axel Pons; now at RW Racing GP; set the ninth best lap, with another strong FP2 performance elevating Luca Marini to a top ten finish on Thursday, his time also kept him ahead of his Forward Racing team mate Lorenzo Baldassarri, who also found extra pace in the second session.

An issue in his opening run, heavily limiting his track time did not stop a driven Danny Kent from putting in some fast laps in the time that he had, though he could not find anything extra in FP2 his late dash from the first practice session was enough to see him sit twelfth overnight for Kiefer Racing.

Iker Lecuona fractured his collarbone in the Jerez test, meaning Julian Simon enjoys a temporary return to Moto2 with the Garage Plus Interwetten outfit. Ricky Cardus also makes a return to grand prix racing in Qatar, replacing newcomer Axel Bassani at Speed Up, they finished the day 26th and 30th respectively.

By Lisa Lewis



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