MotoGP: Alex Rins Tops the First Friday of the Season with One Second separating the Top 15 at Qatar
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Alex Rins leads Day One ahead of Marc Marquez at the Lusail International Circuit
Alex Rins looks to be a strong contender for the podium and race win on Sunday, spending the majority of the Free Practice Two session inside the top six and ultimately topping the session. Suzuki seem to still have great race pace with Joan Mir being inside the top three in the first half of the session before the time attacks proceeded. The 2020 World Champion ended the session in third and has most likely secured his place in Q2.
Marc Marquez and the new Honda seem to have clicked well at the Qatari track with the Spaniard mostly in the top five and showing great qualifying and race pace for the next two days. Pol Espargaro managed to make it into the top ten, half a second off Rins. The new RC213V looks to be a transformed machine.
Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin was the top GP22 Ducati for the whole session, with his team-mate Johann Zarco and the Factory Ducati’s of Pecco Bagnaia and Jack Miller struggling outside the top ten. The Martinator was able to end the session in fourth, Miller and Bagnaia were able to pull laps out of the bag to get into the top ten; Frenchman Johann Zarco was down in 18th and will most likely have to go through Q1 tomorrow.
Monster Energy Yamaha have got inside the top ten with Franco Morbidelli being the quickest of the two, just over half a tenth faster than his team-mate Fabio Quartararo. The reigning World Champion explained his frustrations in testing, but his pace looks strong for the race. It will be vital for the Yamaha’s to get a good qualifying tomorrow.
Aleix Espargaro made it five different manufacturers in the top ten, Aleix repeated his form from pre-season testing and topped the session early on before the time attacks. His team-mate Maverick Vinales is down 17th, not where last year’s Qatar Grand Prix winner would be hoping to be.
The only manufacturer to not feature in the top ten is KTM. Despite Brad Binder topping the Free Practice One session, he could only manage 15th in the second session. Miguel Oliveira ultimately ended the session top KTM in 13th, with the two rookies on the Tech 3’s finished 19th and 21st with Raul Fernandez ahead of Remy Gardner.
Enea Bastianini as always showed great race pace in the session, however his time attack wasn’t strong enough top be in the top ten and will have to pray for good weather and track conditions for tomorrow’s Free Practice Three session. He should be the favourite to make it through Q1 into Q2 where he can hopefully take a place on the front two rows as the Italian can be in-shout of a podium.
Featured Image: MotoGP.com, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR