until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Who looks good after COTA MotoGP Friday

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Stunning laps from Jorge Martin and Maverick Vinales were the headline items in MotoGP's second Friday practice at the Circuit of the Americas.

Key moments:

- Martin obliterates lap record, Vinales right there with him
- Marquez and Bagnaia there or thereabout
- Acosta salvages KTM's day
- Morbidelli back on form
- Yamaha and Honda uncompetitive again

Championship leader Martin uncorked a spectacular 2m01.397s - the new lap record by almost half a second - during the customary late-session qualifying simulations, immediately guaranteeing himself a spot in Q2 tomorrow and making himself the pole favourite.

But while that laptime had taken the Pramac Ducati rider over six tenths clear of the chasing pack and looked unassailable, Aprilia rider Vinales - continuing his strong form from opening practice - came up just 0.076s short of overhauling Martin at the very end.

Behind them, COTA master Marc Marquez placed his 2023-spec Gresini Ducati into the top three. He very briefly looked in danger of missing out on the all-important Q1 when former Honda team-mate Joan Mir crashed ahead of him at the final corner and brought out yellow flags, but then gathered himself to move up the order at the last attempt, albeit four tenths down on Martin.

Reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia was another rider who seemed to be flirting with the prospect of an unwanted Q1 berth before swiftly erasing such a possibility.

He was 0.002s slower than Marquez and towed Tech3 Gas Gas rookie Pedro Acosta along in the process of setting his best laptime.

Acosta, who overtook Alex Marquez while tussling for track position on that lap, ended up fifth and was the only KTM RC16 rider to secure an automatic Q2 spot. The next-best RC16 was that of works KTM rider Brad Binder in 14th place.

Aleix Espargaro made it two works Aprilias in the top six, having fortuitously tucked in behind Martin on his record lap, while the resurgent Franco Morbidelli (Pramac) and works rider Enea Bastianini made it four 2024-spec Ducatis in the top eight.

Two more Ducatis, albeit 2023 Ducatis, followed as VR46 duo Fabio Di Giannantonio and Marco Bezzecchi completed the top 10.

Miguel Oliveira, representing the local Trackhouse Aprilia team, was the quickest of those to miss out, denied by Morbidelli's late improvement.

It was another deeply underwhelming showing for MotoGP's Japanese contingent, the two Yamahas and four Hondas slotting in neatly into the bottom six spots.

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