As the sun set at the desert track the pace began to heat up and a flurry of late movement saw Izan Guevara rise to the top, finishing fastest on Friday after practice for the Moto3 Qatar Grand Prix.

The Gaviota GasGas Aspar rider found himself well positioned in a large group as the clock ticked down to zero, moving from the back of the pack and using the drag to the line to post a best of 2m 04.920s.

It had been John McPhee leading the way for his new team - Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max Racing. The British rider set a lap just 0.424s slower, holding on to second.

Dennis Foggia came into the opening weekend as season favourite following his performance in the final rounds of 2021, which he backed up by topping testing for the lightweight class in Portimao with a record lap.

The Leopard rider, however, had a 2021 to forget in the Qatar desert - leaving Lusail without a point in his account.

In FP1 the Honda rider answered every attack on his top time by chipping away to a final 2m 05.414, already closing in on the lap record and with a 0.9s gap over the rest of the field. FP2 was a different story. With his best lap cancelled he finished the session eighth and needed to rely on his morning pace to keep him third in the combined standings - the only rider not to improve.

Just behind was fellow Leopard rider Tatsuki Suzuki in fourth.

Sergio Garcia looked at home on his Aspar , putting the second of the GasGas machines inside the top five.

Andrea Migno also carried on his strong display from the official test (where he finished second) to finish day one sixth for Rivacold Snipers.

A lack of track time in Qatar, with no testing at the circuit, also saw those with previous success fare well. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who won the opening race of 2021, rose to seventh as Moto3 drew to a close.

CFMOTO PruestelGP had a strong first day with Carlos Tatay just ahead of Xavier Artigas, in eighth and ninth respectively.

Riccarco Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) rounded out the top ten, with the remaining provisional top fourteen places going to 2019 race winner Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) in eleventh, and compatriot Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets -MSI) in twelfth.

 Joel Kelso was the top rookie in 13th for CIP Green Power ahead of Deniz Oncu (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) who claimed 14th overall despite a trip through the gravel in FP1 and an out of his seat, both wheels off the tarmac moment in FP2 . The Turkish rider is on crutches in the paddock following his testing tumble, so was unable to yet show his full potential on Friday. 

At the other end of the timesheets there is a return to Moto3 for the first female motorcycle racing world champion, Ana Carrasco in 28th for BOE SKX.
Looking to make an impression following her success in World SSP in 2018, the Spaniard returns to the Moto3 paddock where she last lined up on the grid back in 2015. 

Michael Laverty’s new VisionTrack Racing Team set about tacking their learning curve over the first two sessions. Scott Ogden dropped several seconds off his morning best to place 20th while team-mate Joshua Whatley was 29th.

Japanese rookie Taiyo Furusato misses the first race weekend of the season following his testing crash. 

Gerrard Riu Male (27th) will keep David Munoz’s seat warm at BOE SKX - he is unable to take his ride at the team until he turns sixteen later in the year.