The 2021 MotoGP season is underway, starting with the shakedown test, exclusively for rookies, test riders and riders of Concession manufacturers (Aprilia).
HRC test rider Stefan Bradl came out on top in the first MotoGP session of 2021, after a day of tricky conditions in Qatar.
It was a slow start to the day for all riders, as heavy winds disrupted the majority of the opening hours of testing, the fastest lap time early on being four seconds off the pace of Maverick Vinales’ time in last season’s pre-season tests.
All riders in the session were seen on track, apart from Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.
Bradl set a lap time of 1:55.614s, over a second ahead of Yamaha’s Test2 and Test1 bikes, who finished in second and third.
Fastest of the rookies was Enea Bastianini, who was an impressive fourth in the standings at the chequered flag on his Esponsorama Ducati, finishing ahead of Michele Pirro and Yamaha’s Test3 bike.
In seventh was Aprilia’s newly announced rider Lorenzo Savadori, who set a 1:58.273s lap time, ahead of second rookie Luca Marini.
Suzuki were next on the leaderboard, their test rider Sylvain Guintoli finished in ninth place ahead of the final rookie in the session, Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin.
The final two riders to set a lap time were KTM rider Dani Pedrosa, and Suzuki’s Takuya Tsuda, who ended the session 2.3s off the pace.
With the first session of 2021 now complete, it will be interesting to see how the teams progress over the next week as testing resumes.
As is usually the case at the beginning of testing, a lot of teams will be trying out a number of different developments, so as we get through the next sessions, it’s likely a clearer picture will be given on which teams are faster than others.
Pre-season testing will resume tomorrow, with teams’ official riders taking to the Losail track for the first time in 2021.