MotoGP title hopeful Jorge Martin led a Ducati 1-2-3 in the opening premier-class session of the penultimate weekend of the 2023 season, the Qatar Grand Prix.
- Pramac team-mates out front
- KTM debuts new aero
- Honda locks out bottom four
Martin headed Pramac team-mate Johann Zarco and championship rival Pecco Bagnaia after a 45-minute session in which riders battled low-grip conditions at the resurfaced (and refurbished) Lusail venue.
The 1m56.393s that took Martin top - set on a new hard front and new medium rear - was over three and a half seconds off Bagnaia's lap record. In the earlier Moto2 and Moto3 sessions, the pace was, respectively, 4s off and 5s off the relevant class records.
Bagnaia, who leads Martin by 14 points with 74 left up for grabs, was 0.229s off his title adversary, albeit without using new tyres late on.
Raul Fernandez (RNF Aprilia) was best of the non-Ducati riders in fourth, followed by Yamaha's Franco Morbidelli.
Honda target Luca Marini (VR46 Ducati) was on pace with Martin after three sectors on a late lap, but ultimately ended up four tenths down in the final sector and settled for sixth, 0.001s up on Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) and 0.011s up on Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Ducati).
Di Giannantonio had had an impressive session, at one point leading by more than a second after he'd equipped a fresh hard front.
The lead KTM was the Tech3-run Gas Gas-badged machine of Pol Espargaro in ninth, albeit with works KTM rider Brad Binder just 0.009s behind.
Binder's team-mate Jack Miller debuted an extravagant-looking new rear aero device on the seat unit.
Though the session was perhaps of limited value in terms of discerning the competitive order - given the dusty track and the fact it was run in daytime on a weekend where most of the meaningful running will take place under the lights - it was still a somewhat alarming showing for Honda.
Joan Mir was its lead rider, but all the way back in 19th, as the four Honda RC213Vs filled out the bottom four.
There were two crashes at Turn 14 during the session, for Aleix Espargaro and Tech3 Gas Gas rookie Augusto Fernandez, while Gresini Ducati's Alex Marquez had a Turn 4 fall.
Practice 1 Results
|Pos||Name||Car||Best Time||Gap Leader|
|8||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||1m56.830s||+0.437s|