Aron Canet found an amazing burst of pace to slash the lap record and lead the way at the end of day one of the season-opening Qatar Moto3 Grand Prix weekend.

Practice is more crucial than ever with all classes now following the MotoGP qualifying format and the favourable conditions under the floodlights in the evening when it is cooler, cleaner and grippier meant the session was expected to produce the best times.

The Spaniard, riding for Max Biaggi’s new team - Sterilgarda Max Racing Team - wasted no time in showing his pace, leading the way as the first rider to dip into the 2m 04s at the track on his KTM with a best of 2m 04.561s.

His closest rival was Romano Fenati, who finished nearly six tenths behind.

The Snipers Team rider did his best to put to bed his controversial 2018 season by kicking off the new one as first to show record pace aboard the Honda to head the FP1standings, building on his dominant performance in the final Qatar test on his way to second.

Nico Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) had the dubious honour of being the first to crash this season after an early turn nine tumble during the opening session, but rallied for third in the FP2 with a much improved performance where he too briefly lead the way. The Italian has a good recent qualifying record at the desert track, having sat on pole for the opening race of 2018.

Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) secured fourth at the close of the session with a late fast lap.

Gabriel Rodrigo (Gresini) finished fifth - an amazing feat given he was only declared fit to ride in the morning after breaking his collarbone in testing and having recently had a plate fitted. Last season he missed the opening race - after fracturing his collarbone in FP1.

Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) claimed the sixth best time, Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard) - a pre-season favourite after last years championship leaders moved on-finished the day seventh, while Tony Arbolino on the second Snipers entry climbed to eighth.

Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) had pace strong enough for ninth while Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team) did enough to complete the top ten.

Valencia winner Can Oncu was the best of the new rookie charges, his track knowledge gained from his time in the Asia Talent Cup helping the Turkish rising star to thirteenth for Red Bull KTM Ajo.

John McPhee had a disaster - the Petronas Sprinta Racing rider spent most of his time outside the provisional Q2 qualifying places, jumped up to 14th with a final push, only to get swallowed and shuffled back to 16th at the chequered flag.

Fellow Briton Tom Booth-Amos (CIP- Green Power) still has progress to make, ending his day in 27th.

Moto3 return to track on Saturday for their first experience of the new qualifying format.

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