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 (8pm)
1^1Aleix EspargaroITAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)1m 54.687s42/50
2^1Stefan BradlGERRepsol Honda (RC213V)+0.256s45/45
3^9Joan MirSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+0.293s33/33
4=Jack MillerAUSDucati Team (GP21)+0.335s44/45
5˅4Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP21)+0.423s49/54
6=Franco MorbidelliITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.487s47/53
7^10Alex RinsSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+0.511s29/34
8˅3Maverick ViñalesSPAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.572s33/37
9^7Alex MarquezSPALCR Honda (RC213V)+0.591s39/41
10^5Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)+0.780s45/45
11^2Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)+0.848s40/46
12^2Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Team (GP21)+0.885s41/42
13˅3Valentino RossiITAPetronas Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.897s45/49
14˅7Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+1.020s35/56
15˅7Yamaha Test2N/AYamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1)+1.120s15/20
16˅7Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM (RC16)+1.123s29/48
17˅6Pol EspargaroSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+1.191s52/67
18^2Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP21)*+1.460s26/37
19^5Lorenzo SavadoriITAAprilia Gresini (RS-GP)*+1.876s32/34
20˅2Enea BastianiniITAAvintia Esponsorama (GP19)*+1.906s34/44
21^6Yamaha Test1N/AYamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1)+2.020s23/27
22˅3Iker LecuonaSPAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+2.233s50/51
23˅2Danilo PetrucciITAKTM Tech3 (RC16)+2.498s37/54
24˅2Luca MariniITASky VR46 Avintia (GP19)*+2.648s25/48
25˅2Sylvain GuintoliFRASuzuki Test Rider (GSX-RR)+2.773s41/43
26˅1Dani PedrosaSPAKTM Test Rider (RC16)+2.930s14/32
27^1Yamaha Test3N/AYamaha Test Rider (YZR-M1)+4.009s22/23
28˅2Michele PirroITADucati Test Rider (GP21)+4.230s16/16
29=Takuya TsudaJPNSuzuki Test Rider (GSX-RR)+5.006s26/26

* Rookie

^X Rider is X positions higher than previous hour.
= Rider is same position as previous hour.
˅X Rider is X positions lower than previous hour.

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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