The first-ever day of MotoGP™ action at the Buddh International Circuit threw up a treat as the stage is set for a barnstorming weekend of action at the IndianOil Grand Prix of India.
Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) had the bit between his teeth in Practice as he put down a stunning 1:44.782 to lead the field by just 0.008s ahead of the first-ever Grand Prix of India.
Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) was in superlative form with his recent victory fuelling his confidence. The Spaniard finished just short of the top spot in P2 but is very much looking like the favourite going into the racing action on Saturday and Sunday.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) was also looking racey as he kept his name towards the sharp end. The Barcelona victor started his weekend in P3, putting his years of experience to good use as he quickly adapted to the new challenge.
Crunch time in Practice!
With Friday afternoon’s Practice session deciding who goes through to Q2, the riders spent the majority of the session working on their race packages before biting the screen for their late time attacks.
The top 10 go through to Q2, and it was a mad rush as the soft tyres went in with fifteen minutes to go. The times really began to tumble but it was late charge in the final moments that saw Luca Marini crush the hearts of his competitors as he set the benchmark with the fastest time of the weekend so far.
Martin was the man to beat for the majority of the session, and did move the goalposts by half a second ahead of time-attack war, but was denied by Marini with yellow flags out and little time remaining.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was one of those threatening the top spots as well. Red sectors came in from the eight-time champ, but the ask was a little too much for the Repsol Honda man as he took a positive P4. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) was also looking strong after topping Friday morning’s Practice 1, but couldn’t put himself any higher than P5 when the soft rubber went in.
Bagnaia with something up his sleeve…
The reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) was very much in the danger zone as the clock was ticking away in the final 10 minutes. The Championship leader was sat outside of Q2 contention and had some work to do with the pace getting hotter and hotter.
Bagnaia hadn’t been setting the world on fire throughout the day, but with the question asked of the Italian, he bit the screen to bag P7 and an important Q2 spot just behind Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing).
Pecco isn’t often one to excel during Friday practice. The Italian did seem confident on his way back to pitlane however, which leaves us wondering – is the champ struggling or is he keeping his cards close to his chest?
Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) enjoyed a much more positive day onboard his Yamaha M1, despite suffering from two mechanical failures in the morining session. The Frenchman finds himself in an automatic Q2 spot in P8, and is looking confident with the new circuit leveling the playing field that little bit more.
The Frenchman’s compatriot Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) finished just behind in P9, with Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) also returning to Q2 with a much-needed top 10.
Too little too late…
It’s anyone’s guess as to who will take the top two spots in Q1. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) was the first to miss out after finishing Practice in P11.
Yellow flags played a big part in deciding Brad Binder’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) fate at the Grand Prix of India. The South African left it until the last minute to put in his flyer and despite jumping up to P4, the KTM man’s time was cancelled with yellow flags out on the circuit.
Binder will be joined in Q1 by Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), and Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) in Q1, as well as his teammate Jack Miller who failed to make the Q2 cut.
Make sure you don’t miss a single detail as the action unfolds in India with Qualifying and Tissot Sprint coming up on Saturday as well as Free Practice 2 up first at 10:40 local time (GMT +5:30)!
|1||LUCA MARINI (MOONEY VR46 RACING TEAM)||1:44.782|
|2||Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing)||+0.008|
|3||Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing)||+0.051|
|4||Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team)||+0.335|
|5||Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team)||+0.420|
|6||Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing)||+0.431|
|7||Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team)||+0.498|
|8||Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™)||+0.509|
|9||Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing)||+0.523|
|10||Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team)||+0.550|