until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Pramac 1-2 in first MotoGP practice in Qatar

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

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.

Key moments

  • 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.

Jack Miller, KTM, MotoGP, Qatar

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

PosNameCarBest TimeGap Leader
1Jorge MartinDucati1m56.393s
2Johann ZarcoDucati1m56.565s+0.172s
3Francesco BagnaiaDucati1m56.622s+0.229s
4Raul FernandezAprilia1m56.685s+0.292s
5Franco MorbidelliYamaha1m56.804s+0.411s
6Luca MariniDucati1m56.819s+0.426s
7Aleix EspargaróAprilia1m56.820s+0.427s
8Fabio Di GiannantonioDucati1m56.830s+0.437s
9Pol EspargaróKTM1m56.885s+0.492s
10Brad BinderKTM1m56.894s+0.501s
11Fabio QuartararoYamaha1m56.961s+0.568s
12Maverick ViñalesAprilia1m56.975s+0.582s
13Jack MillerKTM1m57.060s+0.667s
14Augusto FernandezKTM1m57.096s+0.703s
15Miguel OliveiraAprilia1m57.606s+1.213s
16Alex MarquezDucati1m57.835s+1.442s
17Enea BastianiniDucati1m57.982s+1.589s
18Marco BezzecchiDucati1m58.071s+1.678s
19Joan MirHonda1m58.177s+1.784s
20Marc MarquezHonda1m58.193s+1.800s
21Iker LecuonaHonda1m58.344s+1.951s
22Takaaki NakagamiHonda2m00.429s+4.036s
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