Raul Fernandez has ended the first day of Moto3 action in Qatar at the top of the timing sheets.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider hit the top with only a couple of minutes remaining, posting a lap-time of 2:04.577. This time is only +0.016s off the all-time lap record at the Losail International Circuit, currently held by Aron Canet.
In typical Moto3 style the majority of the field went out for a four-minute shootout at the end of the session. Times in this afternoon’s Free Practice Two session are likely to go a long way to determining who goes straight into Q2 tomorrow afternoon.
Before Fernandez took the lead away from him, Darryn Binder had the quickest lap-time at the circuit so far in 2020 after an inch-perfect slipstream lap that Moto3 fans have become accustomed to.
Sergio Garcia completed the top three on the Estrella Galicia 0,0, making him the quickest Honda on the opening day.
Up until the final shootout Ai Ogura had been leading the way after continuing the impressive form he showcased during pre-season testing. Ogura ended up in fourth, just ahead of fellow Japanese rider Kaito Toba.
Last season’s runner-up Tony Arbolino was sixth, with SKY Racing Team VR46’s Andrea Migno in seventh spot. Jaume Masia, Romano Fenati and Deniz Öncü rounded out the top 10.
John McPhee lost out in the closing stages and ended up 11th overall for the Petronas Sprinta Racing outfit. Celestino Vietti, Yuki Kunil and Carlos Tatay complete the top 14 and are the final riders, at this stage, to be within the automatic Q2 spots. You can see the full results from day one below.