Augusto Fernandez made a statement of intent by topping both Friday Moto2 practice sessions as the early heat made way for a temperature drop in Qatar.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider came out on top in the dusty, slower FP1, demoting Jake Dixon to second late in the session.

Building on that, he once again slipped past the British rider to top the second session. Everyone taking part improved in FP2, with the Spaniard’s best lap a 1m 59.112s.

Pedro Acosta, once again a rookie after his stellar Moto3 championship win saw him move straight up to Moto2, arrived fastest in testing at Portimao - suggesting he would adapt easily.

Now running number 51, the teenager didn’t disappoint. Building to a run just 0.160s slower than Fernandez and bringing the team another session 1-2, picking up from where they left off last season.

Marcel Schrotter saw his Portimao test end early after fracturing his hand, but he looked race ready on arrival in Qatar and used his last run to pick up a place for third overall with Liqui Moly Intact GP, just four thousandths off of Acosta’s time.

Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) put in plenty of laps as he chipped away at his best and climbed to fourth as the floodlights brought an atmospheric finish to the time on track.

Aron Canet lead briefly on his way to fifth for Flexbox HP40, with Ai Ogura just behind on the timesheets in sixth for Idemitsu Honda Team Asia.

Filip Salac looked to have gotten to grips with his move up to Moto2 with Gresini, setting the seventh best time overall.

Somkiat Chantra ensured both Idemistu bikes finished Friday inside the top eight, with Cameron Beaubier looking to have adjusted well ahead of his second season in the class in ninth for American Racing.

Long term FP2 leader Jake Dixon fell with four minutes of the session remaining, the bike flicking him off at turn one. The Inde GasGas Aspar rider could only watch as his time was bettered, his earlier effort just enough to stay inside the top ten overnight.

The remaining provisional top fourteen places went to Elf Marc VDS Racing’s Tony Arbolino in eleventh, just ahead of his team-mate Sam Lowes, who suffered with tendinitis issues in his hands on his way to twelfth.

Albet Arenas placed the second Aspar bike in 13th, with rookie Manuel Gonzalez 14th for the Yamaha Master Camp team as he makes the transition from World SSP.

Fermin Aldeguer was the first non-Kalex rider, just missing out after pushing hard in 15th on a Boscoscuro with MB Conveyors Speed Up.

Italtrans rider Lorenzo Dalla Porta brought out the yellow flag in FP1 with a bike issue, then fell in FP2 at turn four, leaving him down in 24th.

Romano Fenati returns to the Intermediate class to start his first full season since his ban while taking part in the class back in 2018 . On the second Boscoscuro entry he finished Friday one place higher in 23rd.