Gresini rider Alex Marquez recorded the fastest laptime of MotoGP's Friday practice for the third-to-last championship round at Sepang, as both of the title protagonists made it to Q2.
- Ducati 1-2, KTM 3-4
- Bagnaia eighth but eases into Q2
- Three crashes for Espargaro
But while Jorge Martin was again towards the top of the timesheets throughout the second, hour-long session, championship leader Pecco Bagnaia completed a traditionally-muted Friday run in eighth, with a two-tenths buffer to 11th place.
Marquez had produced the first sub-1m58s laptime of the weekend in the early going, before Martin usurped him at the top of the timesheets.
But as riders went ahead with their qualifying simulations, using the medium rear tyre that is the softest available compound this weekend, it was Martin who first broke the sub-1m58s barrier, only for Marquez to go even faster.
The Gresini man's 1m57.823s, set on his final lap in the session, was just over three hundredths short of the MotoGP lap record at the venue held by Martin.
Jack Miller and Brad Binder made it three KTMs in the top four, followed by the Aprilia of Maverick Vinales. The Aprilia RS-GP features a new cooling solution this weekend after its riders were left incensed by how much hot air the bike was pumping into their faces in Thailand.
Luca Marini lifted himself to sixth place at the last moment, with he and ninth-placed VR46 Ducati team-mate Marco Bezzecchi split by Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) and Bagnaia.
Franco Morbidelli was the fastest of those to miss out, and was the target of a late-session outburst from Quartararo - who felt he was impeded by his fellow Yamaha after Morbidelli backed out of a push lap following a near-crash.
No Hondas were even particularly close to making Q2, despite Marc Marquez, Joan Mir and Iker Lecuona latching onto the back of Martin late on - as Martin ultimately managed to shake them off for his best lap.
Aleix Espargaro crashed his various Aprilias three separate times - at Turns 1, 9 and 5 - and though he did return to the track late on, he ended up no higher than 20th. Fellow Aprilia rider Raul Fernandez (RNF) also had a fall late on.
Ducati wildcard Alvaro Bautista continued his relatively subdued return so far, the World Superbike champion ending up 22nd, 2.547s off the pace but eight hundredths clear of LCR stand-in Lecuona.
Practice 1 Results
|Pos||Name||Car||Best Time||Gap Leader|
|14||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||1m58.709s||+0.886s|