until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


What went on in sole MotoGP Friday practice at Motegi

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Jack Miller led a Ducati 1-2 in the sole Friday practice session as the MotoGP grid took on the Motegi track for the first time since 2019.

Key moments:

> Miller fastest despite compromised lap

> Title-contending trio all in top 10

> Bastianini stymied by crash

> Zarco and younger Binder also down

With the Friday MotoGP programme having been condensed to make for a slightly more palatable freight turnaround from last weekend’s Aragon race, the afternoon session was extended to 75 minutes instead of the usual 45 in the absence of morning running.

And due to widespread expectations that Saturday will be rain-affected, potentially all throughout, it turned the last 30 minutes of this FP1 into effectively a mock qualifying session as riders bid to secure likely passage into Q2.

Miller came out on top in that portion with a 1m44.509s, although his laptime would’ve likely been quicker had he not come up behind Suzuki tester Takuya Tsuda on his fastest lap.

His title-contending team-mate Francesco Bagnaia was 0.028s behind in second, while under-pressure championship leader Fabio Quartararo completed the top three just a further 0.021s down, having led most of the session.

Aleix Espargaro salvaged a comfortable top-1o spot late on, running in the tow of Aprilia team-mate Maverick Vinales to set the fourth-fastest time.

VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini was fifth, followed by Marc Marquez on the second weekend of his MotoGP comeback – the Spaniard amusingly getting his sleeve caught on a camera mounted on the seat unit of his RC213V while dismounting in the pitlane – and Marquez’s factory Honda team-mate Pol Espargaro.

KTM’s Brad Binder, a standout at Aragon, looked in difficulty for much of the session – making his first MotoGP appearance at Motegi despite having debuted in the premier class back in 2020 – but ultimately pulled out an eighth place, followed by team-mate Miguel Oliveira, with Vinales completing the top 10.

Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco and Gresini Ducati’s Enea Bastianini had their top-1o bids compromised by late crashes, at Turns 7 and 5 respectively, while RNF Yamaha’s Darryn Binder also fell.

Fresh off surgery on two fingers of his right hand after his Aragon crash with Marquez, LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami went into FP1 with doubts over whether he’d be able to do any other session past that. He completed a substantial 28 laps and was 12th fastest.

Suzuki’s Alex Rins ran new curled winglets on his seat unit and was up front for most of the session, but ultimately could only manage 13th.

And it was a similar story for the non-Quartararo part of the Yamaha contingent, which in the end was led by Franco Morbidelli in a lowly 16th place.

Honda’s wildcard debutant Tetsuta Nagashima was a competitive 22nd, 1.336s off the pace.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Team Bike Gap Next Gap Leader Best Time
1 Jack Miller Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1m44.509s
2 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.028s +0.028s 1m44.537s
3 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.021s +0.049s 1m44.558s
4 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia +0.019s +0.068s 1m44.577s
5 Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +0.068s +0.136s 1m44.645s
6 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.011s +0.147s 1m44.656s
7 Pol Espargaró Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.022s +0.169s 1m44.678s
8 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.057s +0.226s 1m44.735s
9 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.008s +0.234s 1m44.743s
10 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia +0.054s +0.288s 1m44.797s
11 Johann Zarco Pramac Racing Ducati +0.001s +0.289s 1m44.798s
12 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +0.088s +0.377s 1m44.886s
13 Alex Rins Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +0.027s +0.404s 1m44.913s
14 Enea Bastianini Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +0.065s +0.469s 1m44.978s
15 Jorge Martin Pramac Racing Ducati +0.031s +0.5s 1m45.009s
16 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.056s +0.556s 1m45.065s
17 Cal Crutchlow WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha +0.122s +0.678s 1m45.187s
18 Darryn Binder WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha +0.179s +0.857s 1m45.366s
19 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +0.06s +0.917s 1m45.426s
20 Alex Marquez LCR Honda Castrol Honda +0.174s +1.091s 1m45.6s
21 Raul Fernandez Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.139s +1.23s 1m45.739s
22 Tetsuta Nagashima HRC Team Honda +0.106s +1.336s 1m45.845s
23 Remy Gardner Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.146s +1.482s 1m45.991s
24 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +0.374s +1.856s 1m46.365s
25 Takuya Tsuda Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +0.353s +2.209s 1m46.718s
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