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Qatar MotoGP test: Johann Zarco leads Valentino Rossi on final day

Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha Losail MotoGP test 2018

Tech3 Yamaha rider Johann Zarco got within a tenth of a second of the Losail lap record as he led the final MotoGP pre-season test day ahead of Valentino Rossi.

Zarco moved into first place at the Qatar Grand Prix venue with exactly two hours left on the clock, holding a lead of half a tenth over LCR Honda man Cal Crutchlow with his 1m54.429s effort at that point.

Frenchman Zarco then improved on two more occasions half an hour later, stretching his gap to over four tenths with a time of 1m54.029s, just 0.102s slower than Jorge Lorenzo's lap record from 2008.

While Crutchlow did not lower his own benchmark for the rest of the session, he held second until the final hour when first Andrea Dovizioso and then Rossi demoted him.

Rossi, who recovered from a crash at the Turn 14 right-hander towards the end of the lap three hours into the session, was 0.247s slower than Yamaha stablemate Zarco.

Works Ducati rider Dovizioso took third, just half a tenth slower than Rossi, with Crutchlow ending up the fastest Honda rider in fourth.

Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Losail MotoGP test 2018

Rossi's team-mate Maverick Vinales was as low as 20th at the start of the final hour but gained 15 positions to end up fifth.

Reigning champion Marc Marquez was sixth on the best of the works Hondas, followed by Alex Rins, Suzuki's only rider as Friday pacesetter Andrea Iannone sat out the session with a stomach bug.

Rins beat Ducati trio Danilo Petrucci, who led for an hour in the middle of the session, Jorge Lorenzo and Jack Miller by less than a tenth.

Dani Pedrosa was 11th on the second factory Honda ahead of Marc VDS Honda's Franco Morbidelli, who was the fastest rookie in 12th.

Hafizh Syahrin was just a tenth and three positions behind the Moto2 champion, the Malaysian completing his only second MotoGP test 1.2s adrift his Tech3 team-mate Zarco.

Bradley Smith and Aleix Espargaro led KTM's and Aprilia's efforts in 13th and 14th respectively, Espargaro briefly holding third during the day.

Pol Espargaro, who did not ride on Friday as he is still recovering from injuries sustained at the Sepang test in January, was back in action on Saturday but could only manage 19th.

After seven hours of dry running, riders will be required to take part in a half-hour wet session later on Saturday aimed at assessing whether it would be possible to host a wet race in Qatar under the floodlights.

Saturday test times

1Johann ZarcoTech3 YamahaYamaha1m54.029s-53
2Valentino RossiYamahaYamaha1m54.276s0.247s49
3Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati1m54.331s0.302s50
4Cal CrutchlowLCR HondaHonda1m54.457s0.428s57
5Maverick VinalesYamahaYamaha1m54.471s0.442s40
6Marc MarquezHondaHonda1m54.591s0.562s75
7Alex RinsSuzukiSuzuki1m54.650s0.621s48
8Danilo PetrucciPramac DucatiDucati1m54.659s0.630s56
9Jorge LorenzoDucatiDucati1m54.692s0.663s63
10Jack MillerPramac DucatiDucati1m54.749s0.720s56
11Dani PedrosaHondaHonda1m54.774s0.745s44
12Franco MorbidelliMVDS HondaHonda1m55.132s1.103s54
13Bradley SmithKTMKTM1m55.179s1.150s47
14Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia1m55.232s1.203s60
15Hafizh SyahrinTech3 YamahaYamaha1m55.273s1.244s44
16Karel AbrahamAspar DucatiDucati1m55.300s1.271s50
17Alvaro BautistaAspar DucatiDucati1m55.347s1.318s58
18Tito RabatAvintia DucatiDucati1m55.465s1.436s56
19Pol EspargaroKTMKTM1m55.489s1.460s47
20Scott ReddingApriliaAprilia1m55.595s1.566s54
21Takaaki NakagamiLCR HondaHonda1m55.763s1.734s40
22Xavier SimeonAvintia DucatiDucati1m55.943s1.914s51
23Thomas LuthiMVDS HondaHonda1m56.122s2.093s59

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