until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Acosta steals the show in Martin-led first MotoGP practice of 2024

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

MotoGP 2023 runner-up Jorge Martin led the way in the first practice session of the championship's 2024 season in Qatar - but it was rookie Pedro Acosta who stole the show.

Key moments:

  • Martin leads friend Espargaro
  • Acosta impresses in third
  • Marquez fourth in first practice with Ducati
  • Morbidelli playing catch-up

The young Spaniard, a champion in Moto2 and Moto3, was towards the front of the session all throughout, and took the lead in the final minutes before being shuffled down to third place.

And TV cameras captured many a shot of the rookie 'dancing' on the bike and saving crashes, including an exceptionally lairy slide through Turn 1.

At a track which is likely less dusty than it usually is for first practice - given the MotoGP pre-season test here last month and the World Endurance Championship opener last weekend - Martin ended up topping the session on a 1m52.624s.

His nearest rival was Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro, half a tenth off and a quarter of a tenth up on Acosta.

Marc Marquez, in his first MotoGP race weekend session not in Honda colours, put his Gresini-run Ducati into fourth place, making it an all-Spanish top four split by 0.177s.

Brad Binder was next up on the works KTM, followed by a late improver in LCR Honda's new recruit Johann Zarco, as comfortably the best of the Honda RC213V riders (aided by being the only rider to equip a fresh rear tyre for the final minutes).

Enea Bastianini (Ducati) led much of the session but ultimately ended up seventh, followed by VR46 Ducati signing Fabio Di Giannantonio and KTM's Jack Miller.

Bastianini's team-mate - reigning champion and pre-season favourite Pecco Bagnaia - was towards the bottom of the timesheets for most of the 45-minute running, but lifted himself up into 10th late on.

MotoGP's new team Trackhouse, which took over from RNF as Aprilia's satellite team in the off-season, placed 12th with Miguel Oliveira on the 2024 Aprilia RS-GP and 14th with Raul Fernandez on the 2023 RS-GP.

The only marque not represented in the top 10 was Yamaha, which had Alex Rins as its lead rider in 15th.

Pramac Ducati's Franco Morbidelli, absent for the entire pre-season, got his first laps in with a Ducati MotoGP bike since last year's one-day Valencia test, and had to settle for 22nd and last, 2.1s off the pace.

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