Under floodlights, Jack Miller prevailed in FP2 of the Qatar GP, three Ducati landed in the top 4. Valentino Rossi made it into the top 10, Márquez substitute Stefan Bradl landed in 18th place.
“From FP2 we will all be so close together,” predicted Pramac newcomer Johann Zarco. “We’ll be as quick as possible to make it into Q2.” As a reminder: Only the top 10 of the combined timesheet from the three free practice sessions save the detour via Q1.
It all started at 8:00 p.m. local time (MotoGP start time on Sunday) with an air temperature of 25 degrees and asphalt temperature 26 degrees – and the MotoGP aces couldn’t be asked for long: Miller, Bagnaia, Aleix Espargaró, Rins, Zarco and Viñales six drivers under 1:55 min.
As a reminder: Petronas Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli’s best time in FP1 was 1: 54.921 min.Ducati factory rider Jack Miller missed the Qatar test in 1: 53.183 min under Marc Marquez’s all-time lap record the year 2019 (1: 53.380 min).
Less than eight minutes had passed when FP2 was interrupted with a red flag because the start-finish straight had to be cleared of debris that had apparently fallen from the tower of the pit area. 37 minutes and 37 seconds were still on the clock when it went on after a five-minute break, Miller was at the top of the timesheet with a 1: 54.571 min.
Miller and Co. attacked again immediately: The Australian on the factory Ducati screwed his best time down to a 1: 54.557 min. Behind Bagnaia, Zarco moved into third place – three Ducati’s were in front.
But then it was Aprilia works driver Aleix Espargaró who was the first of the weekend to stay under 1:54 min, with a 1: 53.789 min he was almost eight tenths faster than Miller. Half an hour before the end he was 0.478 seconds ahead of Alex Rins and 0.614 seconds ahead of Pecco Bagnaia.
Five minutes later, Miller moved up to second place, but was 0.436 seconds slower than Aleix Espargaró. Repsol Honda newcomer Pol Espargaró then made a jump to 5th place.
The top 10 at halftime of FP2: Aleix Espargaró, Miller, Rins, Bagnaia, Pol Espargaró, Mir, Zarco, Quartararo, Viñales, Morbidelli. Rossi on P13, Bradl on P18.
When the clock was still 18 minutes, Oliveira moved into the top 10 in ninth place, Alex Márquez followed suit and took seventh place. In his LCR box, Honda’s MotoGP project manager Takeo Yokoyama was temporarily replacing his crew chief “Beefy” in action, which is still in quarantine after an unclear and a negative PCR test result.
Rookie Enea Bastianini made it into the top 10 for a short time, before Quartararo was second of the day under 1:54 minutes and took second place. But that’s not all: “El Diablo” took the lead in 1: 53.697 minutes. Rins and Rossi had recently made it into the top five.
Twelve minutes were still on the clock – and one personal best followed another: Zarco moved up to 5, Viñales to 3 – and rookie Martin to 9.
Then Bagnaia turned up – new best time in 1: 53.422 min.Morbidelli, his friend from the VR46 Riders Academy, followed suit and jumped from 17th place to 5th place (+ 0.591 sec).
The final five minutes promised sheer excitement, when everyone went hunting for times on soft tires again – and turned the classification upside down: Miller was just 0.035 seconds faster than his teammate in 1: 53.387 minutes and moved up to first place Zarco completed the top 3 for Ducati.
At the last minute, Quartararo snatched third place away from his compatriot. Morbidelli was still on the best time course in the third sector, but then came in 7th. Bagnaia was also on the attack, but broke off the lap. Because Pol Espargaró had his second crash of the day in turn 15.
Nonetheless, the Spaniard stayed in the top 10 on the Repsol Honda in tenth, which defending champion Joan Mir missed in eleventh. The Suzuki works driver only lost 0.527 seconds on the fastest time. The top 15 were also only in 0.841 seconds.
The Losail International Circuit once again proved to be a difficult place for KTM: The first RC16 with Brad Binder was in 16th place.
Stefan Bradl finished Friday in 18th place (+ 1.247 sec).
Qatar GP, MotoGP, FP2, March 26th:
1. Miller, Ducati, 1: 53,387 min
2. Bagnaia, Ducati, + 0.035 sec
3. Quartararo, Yamaha, + 0.188
4. Zarco, Ducati, + 0.199
5. Rins, Suzuki, + 0,236
6. Viñales, Yamaha, + 0,252
7. Morbidelli, Yamaha, + 0.289
8. Aleix Espargaró, Aprilia, + 0.340
9.Rossi, Yamaha, + 0.487
10. Pol Espargaró, Honda, + 0.514
11. Mir, Suzuki, + 0.527
12. Alex Marquez, Honda, + 0.728
13. Martin, Ducati, +0,791
14. Nakagami, Honda, + 0,812
15. Bastianini, Ducati, + 0.841
16. Binder, KTM, + 0.984
17. Marini, Ducati, + 1.045
18.Bradl, Honda, +1,247
19. Oliveira, KTM, + 1,369
20. Petrucci, KTM, + 1.387
21. Lecuona, KTM, + 1,711
22. Savadori, Aprilia, + 2,287
Katar-GP, MotoGP, FP1:
1. Morbidelli, Yamaha, 1: 54,921 min
2. Aleix Espargaró, Aprilia, + 0.125 sec
3. Miller, Ducati, + 0,191
4. Quartararo, Yamaha, + 0.292
5. Mir, Suzuki, + 0.334
6. Viñales, Yamaha, + 0,388
7. Rins, Suzuki, + 0,432
8. Bagnaia, Ducati, + 0.444
9.Rossi, Yamaha, + 0.498
10. Oliveira, KTM, + 0.824
11. Alex Marquez, Honda, + 0.827
12. Nakagami, Honda, + 0,833
13. Zarco, Ducati, + 0.950
14. Bradl, Honda, + 1,021
15. Pol Espargaró, Honda, + 1,125
16. Binder, KTM, + 1,136
17. Marini, Ducati, + 1.148
18. Bastianini, Ducati, + 1,277
19. Petrucci, KTM, + 1.309
20. Martin, Ducati, + 1,620
21. Savadori, Aprilia, + 1,638
22. Lecuona, KTM, +2,022