Iannone quickest in Qatar


Andrea Iannone shone brightest under the floodlights to top the timesheets after Friday's two practice sessions at the first MotoGP round of the season in Qatar.

Defending champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) are expected to be the leading contenders for the title again this season, but Ducati's Iannone laid down a marker in the desert.

The Italian was quickest in the first practice session and left it late to clock one minute 54.639 seconds in FP3 to finish 0.137secs quicker than second-placed Lorenzo at the Losail International Circuit.

Marquez was third-quickest and 0.195secs off the pace on the outskirts of Doha, while Rossi was down in seventh on Friday as he attempts to make up for the disappointment of missing out on the title last year.

Iannone also recorded the fastest speed of the session when he hit 348.1 kilometres per hour, while his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was fourth-fastest at the end of practice on Friday.

Bradley Smith, Jack Miller and Scott Redding were unscathed after coming off their bikes.