until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Ducati 1-2-3-4 as MotoGP finale kicks off, Bagnaia 13th

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

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Pramac Ducati rider Johann Zarco led the opening practice session of MotoGP's final round of 2023 in Valencia, as Jorge Martin wound up 10 places ahead of title rival Pecco Bagnaia.

Key moments:

  • Ducati 1-2-3-4
  • Bagnaia with another quiet start
  • Crashes for Honda duo and Alex Marquez

Zarco, who bolted on a fresh medium front and rear for his final run, jumped ahead of long-time session leader Fabio Di Giannantonio at the chequered flag, having spent the lap in the tow of title-contending team-mate Martin.

Di Giannantonio's showing continued his race-winning form from the Qatar weekend, as he vies to remain on the premier-class grid for 2024.

Martin himself wound up third, running a fresh medium rear, while VR46 Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi completed an all-Ducati top four split by three tenths.

Martin's fastest lap was chalked off for yellow flags, but this would've only moved him up one spot in the final classification. He trails Bagnaia by 21 points heading into the final race.

Aprilia's MotoGP contingent was led by Maverick Vinales in fifth, with top Yamaha representative Fabio Quartararo, top Honda representative Marc Marquez and top KTM rider Augusto Fernandez (on his Tech3-run, Gas Gas-badged RC16) close behind, all within just 0.023s of Vinales.

Marquez, in his Honda farewell weekend before joining Gresini in the Ducati stable, had a brief stint leading the session.

Championship leader Bagnaia was only 13th and seventh-fastest among the eight Ducati riders - but this should be of little concern to the Italian, who has repeatedly parlayed quiet starts to weekends into strong points hauls this season.

Vinales' Aprilia team-mate Aleix Espargaro was 20th, 1.323s off.

Espargaro, who retired due to injury in the Qatar Grand Prix, said he would decide after opening practice today whether he would continue with the rest of the weekend or sit out in favour of being as fit as possible for the post-season test on Tuesday.

Lorenzo Savadori, standing in for Miguel Oliveira, whose season concluded early after the same crash that injured Quartararo, was 22nd and last, 1.806s. The Aprilia tester is doing test work this weekend, running development parts on Oliveira's 2022-spec Aprilia.

There were three crashes during the session - one for Di Giannantonio's Gresini team-mate Alex Marquez at Turn 1 and two rapid ones for Honda pair Joan Mir and Takaaki Nakagami at Turn 8.

Mir had a particularly painful roll through the gravel and headed to the medical centre for check-ups, his session limited to just five laps.

Practice 1 Results

PosNameCarBest TimeGap Leader
1Johann ZarcoDucati1m30.191s
2Fabio Di GiannantonioDucati1m30.378s+0.187s
3Jorge MartinDucati1m30.450s+0.259s
4Marco BezzecchiDucati1m30.490s+0.299s
5Maverick ViñalesAprilia1m30.534s+0.343s
6Fabio QuartararoYamaha1m30.556s+0.365s
7Marc MarquezHonda1m30.564s+0.373s
8Augusto FernandezKTM1m30.567s+0.376s
9Enea BastianiniDucati1m30.811s+0.620s
10Alex MarquezDucati1m30.857s+0.666s
11Pol EspargaróKTM1m30.901s+0.710s
12Francesco BagnaiaDucati1m30.969s+0.778s
13Jack MillerKTM1m30.974s+0.783s
14Raul FernandezAprilia1m31.046s+0.855s
15Franco MorbidelliYamaha1m31.112s+0.921s
16Brad BinderKTM1m31.252s+1.061s
17Luca MariniDucati1m31.297s+1.106s
18Takaaki NakagamiHonda1m31.443s+1.252s
19Alex RinsHonda1m31.488s+1.297s
20Aleix EspargaróAprilia1m31.514s+1.323s
21Joan MirHonda1m31.553s+1.362s
22Lorenzo SavadoriAprilia1m31.997s+1.806s
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