After Friday's Qatar Shakedown - featuring test riders, rookies and riders from Concession manufacturer Aprilia - the Official test, open to all riders, began at 2pm on Saturday.

With the Sepang test cancelled, today is the first time most riders have been on a MotoGP bike since the chequered flag waved at Portimao last November.

Joan Mir and Suzuki are starting their title defence, while Saturday marks the debut of Pol Espargaro at Repsol Honda and Danilo Petrucci at Tech3 KTM, who were the first full-time riders on track today.

Other riders changing teams but not machines include Fabio Quartararo at Monster Yamaha, Valentino Rossi at Petronas Yamaha, Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia at Ducati Team, Johann Zarco at Pramac Ducati, Alex Marquez at LCR Honda and Miguel Oliveira at Red Bull KTM.

The MotoGP regulars are joined by Factory test riders, including Shakedown pace setter Stefan Bradl (Honda) - also substituting for the injured Marc Marquez - new Yamaha signing Cal Crutchlow and 31-time MotoGP race winner Dani Pedrosa (KTM).

Crutchlow is sharing M1s with Yamaha's Japanese test riders Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Kohta Nozane. The three bikes, which appear to include both the 2019 (A-Spec) and 2020 (Factory-Spec) models, are labelled '#T1', '#T2' and '#T3'. Official timing only lists the bike, not the rider.

Testing takes place from 2pm to 9pm on Saturday and Sunday, followed by ten minutes reserved for practice starts, but conditions are again very blustery...

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2021 Qatar MotoGP test times - Saturday (4pm)
 RiderNatTeamTimeLap
1Aleix EspargaroITAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)1m 56.605s5/5
2Franco MorbidelliITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.198s8/8
3Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM (RC16)+0.375s15/16
4Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)+0.533s19/19
5Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP21)+0.621s6/9
6Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Team (GP21)+0.634s12/12
7Pol EspargaroSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+0.746s20/20
8Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.923s6/7
9Alex MarquezSPALCR Honda (RC213V)+1.096s7/7
10Iker LecuonaSPAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+1.096s15/18
11Valentino RossiITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+1.181s4/4
12Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)+1.771s6/6
13Danilo PetrucciITAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+1.791s19/21
14Dani PedrosaSPAKTM Test Rider (RC16)+2.210s8/8
15Michele PirroITADucati Test Rider (GP21)+2.312s16/16
16Luca MariniITASky VR46 Avintia (GP19)*+2.315s8/8
17Yamaha Test1N/AYamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1)+2.505s15/15
18Yamaha Test3N/AYamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1)+2.688s10/11
19Takuya TsudaJPNSuzuki Test Rider (GSX-RR)+3.088s26/26
20Lorenzo SavadoriITAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)*+3.106s3/5
21Enea BastianiniITAAvintia Esponsorama (GP19)*+3.204s7/8

* Rookie

2021 Qatar Shakedown Test:
Best lap:
Stefan Bradl GER Honda 1m 55.614s
Official Qatar MotoGP records:
Best lap:
Marc Marquez SPA Honda 1m 53.380s (2019)
Fastest race lap:
Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 1m 54.927s (2016)

By Peter McLaren

 

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