The Martinator dominates before a late tumble, Bagnaia through to Q2, Aprilia fast on a Friday of tiny margins.
Day 1 of the OR Thailand Grand Prix was seriously close. Despite the tiny margins, however, Prima Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin took to the top of the pile once more, fastest in both sessions on Friday and that despite a late tumble too. His stunning 1:28.826 is just two-tenths shy of the all-time lap record. The Aprilia Racing duo are looking very strong as well, with Maverick Viñales finishing the day just 0.098s from Martin and Aleix Espargaro only another 0.062s back. The top three were split by just 0.160s.
Glory to gravel
With Friday afternoon’s Practice session deciding who goes through to Q2, the riders spent the majority of the session working on their race packages before engaging in full time-attack mode.
Martin got his flyer in right in the closing stages and demoted the Aprilias down a spot each. The Spaniard then went from hero to zero just after, however, after a Turn 3 mistake saw his Prima Pramac machine skating through the gravel trap.
Martin’s teammate was another who improved right at the end. Fresh from finally tasting victory in the premier class, Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) showed good promise as he finished just 0.020s shy of the top three.
Three tenths covering the top 10
Next up was the Mooney VR46 Racing Team duo of Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi. Both still recovering from injury, both riders picked up automatic Q2 positions in 5th and 6th respectively.
Reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) looked like he could be under a little pressure, but the #1 ultimately finished the day in seventh. it’s not the top of the timesheets, but it’s the first time in three Grands Prix that the Championship leader will be going directly into Q2 as he ensures himself a sligtly less stressful Saturday morning.
The Yamahas also showed decent potential in Thailand. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) consistently kept himself within the top ten and finished the day in P8, saying a good qualifying could see him fight for the podium, ahead of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and rookie Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3).
The Q1 battle
Q1 is set to be a tense affair as always with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) being the first rider to miss out on Q2. The number 93 also go caught out by a rogue wing from Martin’s machine – check out the video below.
The eight-time Champion will have to battle it out with Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), recent form Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), and Pol Espargaro (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) to decide who will take the final two Q2 spots. The whole grid is split by just 1.2 seconds!
Despite that late crash, it’s advantage Martin as they head into Saturday. Can Bagnaia do anything about the Spaniard’s pace? Make sure you don’t miss a single detail as the action unfolds in Thailand!
The stage is set for Qualifying and the Tissot Sprint! Make sure you tune in:
MotoGP™ FP2: 10:10
MotoGP™ Q1: 10:50
MotoGP™ Q2: 11:15
MotoGP™ Sprint: 15:00
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