Champion Mir struggles to qualify for Qatar round

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Champion Mir struggles to qualify for Qatar round


Doha (AFP)

Defending champion Joan Mir failed to make the top 10 on Saturday after the third free practice session at Qatar MotoGP and faced an additional qualifying round to open the season.

In the baking temperatures of the Losail International Circuit, the top 10 spots for the season’s first Grand Prix remained unchanged from Friday.

Although Mir, a Spaniard who rides for Suzuki, was sixth in the final practice race, he couldn’t improve on his best time from the day before, which left him 11th as he struggled for overcome difficulties in adjusting the electrical systems of his motorcycle.

Only the 10 best players from the first three practice qualifies directly for the second and final qualifying round in which pole position is up for grabs.

Mir will try to rejoin the leading peloton in the first qualifying round from 17:00 GMT.

Official Ducati riders Australian Jack Miller and Italian Francesco Bagnaia dominated Friday’s second round. They were followed by the French Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) and Johann Zarco (Ducati-Pramac) and the Spaniard Alex Rins (Suzuki).

The top 10 was completed by Spaniard Maverick Vinales on a Yamaha, Italian Franco Morbidelli who was fastest on Saturday on his Yamaha-SRT, Spaniard Aleix Espargaro for Aprilia, Italian Valentino Rossi from Yamaha- SRT and Spaniard Pol Espargaro, Honda’s new recruit.

Spaniard Marc Marquez (Honda), whose four-title streak ended after breaking an arm in a fall in the opening race last season, is still out and will miss at least both first MotoGP of 2021.

The best combined times of the first three practice sessions in Qatar MotoGP:

1. Jack Miller (AUS / Ducati) 1min 53.387sec, 2. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA / Ducati) 1: 53.422, 3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA / Yamaha) 1: 53.575, 4. Johann Zarco (FRA / Ducati-Pramac) 1: 53.586, 5. Alex Rins (ESP / Suzuki) 1: 53.623, 6. Maverick Vinales (ESP / Yamaha) 1: 53.639, 7. Franco Morbidelli (ITA / Yamaha-SRT) 1: 53.676, 8. Aleix Espargaro ( ESP / Aprilia) 1: 53.727, 9. Valentino Rossi (ITA / Yamaha-SRT) 1: 53.874.10. Pol Espargaro (ESP / Honda) 1: 53.901

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