until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Binder and KTM smash long-time Motegi MotoGP lap record

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Brad Binder put KTM on top at the end of Friday MotoGP practice at Motegi, with the likes of Marc Marquez and Pecco Bagnaia headed to Q1.

Binder delivered a 1m43.489s - the new lap record at Motegi, comfortably surpassing Jorge Lorenzo's previous record from all the way back in 2015 - to lead the session by 0.029s over championship leader Pecco Bagnaia.

Bagnaia, who has been battling braking trouble as of late and has seen his championship lead dwindle to just 13 points, looked in strife for much of the session yet gathered himself for a superb final run to put automatic passage into Q2 beyond any doubt.

But his championship rivals Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati) and Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati) also made it through, the duo completing the top five behind Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro.

Fabio Di Giannantonio - the sole Gresini Ducati representative in Alex Marquez's absence through injury (with VR46 Ducati's Luca Marini also sidelined) - was an impressive sixth, while Pramac's Johann Zarco made it five Ducatis in the top seven.

The final automatic spots in Q2 went to Maverick Vinales (Aprilia), Pol Espargaro (Tech3 Gas Gas) and Jack Miller (KTM) - who, like team-mate Binder, has KTM's new carbon chassis that had been so impressive in wildcard Dani Pedrosa's hands in Misano for use here.

Miller, who at one point crashed at the end of the back straight, was fortunate to avoid Q1 given Honda rider Marquez had a Q2-worthy time wiped off the board due to yellow flags for Raul Fernandez crashing at the hairpin-like Turn 10, in what was already his second crash at that spot during the session.

After the lap deletion, Marquez himself crashed at Turn 1 to consign himself to Q1 participation.

Quartararo looked in the mix, too, for Yamaha, but was hampered by a crash of his own while preparing to tip in for the fast 130R corner - he limped away from the site of the accident but was soon back out on track.

Yamaha wildcard Cal Crutchlow was a credible 16th to conclude his first Friday of the season.

Over at LCR, the returning Alex Rins was limited to just six laps in the afternoon after a much busier morning.

This was presumably due to pain - as shortly after the session his team announced Rins was declared unfit to continue.

Directly to Q2:

KTM: Binder, P. Espargaro, Miller
Ducati: Bagnaia, Martin, Bezzecchi, Di Giannantonio, Zarco
Aprilia: A. Espargaro, Vinales

Set for Q1:

KTM: A. Fernandez
Ducati: Pirro
Aprilia: Oliveira, R. Fernandez
Honda: Mir, Marquez, Nakagami, Rins
Yamaha: Quartararo, Morbidelli, Crutchlow

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