until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


MotoGP pre-season testing ends with monster Bagnaia lap

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia demolished the lap record at Qatar's Lusail circuit as MotoGP pre-season testing concluded for 2024.

Key moments:

- Bagnaia leads Ducati 1-2

- Ducati and Aprilia dominate top 10

- Marquez improves a lot, but suffers first crash

It meant a clean sweep of the two days in Qatar for Bagnaia, who had also been quickest at the previous test at Sepang. His 1m50.952s, posted with two hours left of the day's seven-hour session, was an eight-tenths of a second improvement on Luca Marini's pole record from last year.

Track conditions were clearly optimal, as evidenced by 10 other riders going below said lap record. But only one of them got particularly close to Bagnaia, and it was his works Ducati team-mate Enea Bastianini, a tenth off to cap off a pre-season in which he looked much improved compared to his rough 2023.

Over at Aprilia, Aleix Espargaro again led the way in third - despite a crash that caused a brief red flag - with fellow RS-GP riders Raul Fernandez and Maverick Vinales close behind in fifth and sixth.

Fernandez, who missed virtually the entire Sepang test after an early crash left him with pelvis and hip fractures, is initially riding a 2023-spec Aprilia for its new satellite team Trackhouse this season, but may get an upgrade later on.

Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez made a huge step forward in single-lap pace, clocking the fastest lap on a 2023-spec Ducati to end up fourth-fastest - between Espargaro and his Aprilia peers.

Ultimately 0.383s off the pace, Marquez rounded out the day by having his first crash on a Ducati - returning to his pit box with scuffed leathers on the right side but in good spirits after a Turn 4 fall.

Three more Ducatis - Jorge Martin (Pramac), Fabio Di Giannantonio and Marco Bezzecchi (both VR46) slotted into the top 10.

It meant the top 10 was made up almost entirely of Italian bikes, save for a single 'interloper' - a late-improving Brad Binder in ninth place for KTM.

Fabio Quartararo was the quickest Yamaha representative, a tenth up on team-mate Alex Rins, but only 14th overall, just over a second down on Bagnaia.

It strongly suggested Yamaha's single-lap woes continue.

The M1s were quicker than any of the Honda RC213Vs, but Honda's programme was compromised as factory riders Joan Mir and Luca Marini both battled illness, with Mir mileage-limited as a result.

He went down on what looked like a personal best lap late on - and the same was also the case for LCR Honda's Johann Zarco, who still wound up as the top Honda representative.

The MotoGP season will kick off at the same Lusail venue in early March, with a sprint race on March 9 and the grand prix race on March 10.

Tuesday test times

1 Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) 1m50.952s
2 Enea Bastianini (Ducati) +0.120s
3 Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.308s
4 Marc Marquez (Gresini Ducati) +0.383s
5 Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Aprilia) +0.389s
6 Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) +0.435s
7 Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati) +0.514s
8 Fabio di Giannantonio (VR46 Ducati) +0.537s
9 Brad Binder (KTM) +0.631s
10 Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati) +0.726s
11 Jack Miller (KTM) +0.768s
12 Miguel Oliveira (Trackhouse Aprilia) +0.884s
13 Alex Marquez (Gresini Ducati) +0.992s
14 Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) +1.013s
15 Pedro Acosta (Tech3 GasGas) +1.094s
16 Alex Rins (Yamaha) +1.151s
17 Johann Zarco (LCR Honda) +1.210s
18 Taka Nakagami (LCR Honda) +1.432s
19 Joan Mir (Honda) +1.505s
20 Luca Marini (Honda) +1.725
21 Augusto Fernandez (Tech3 GasGas) +1.818s
22 Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) +2.060s
23 Michele Pirro (Pramac Ducati) +2.703s
24 Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) +10.448s

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