MotoGP: More From Practice Friday In Thailand

MotoGP: More From Practice Friday In Thailand

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

“Never seen it so close”: Martin fastest before a crash, Aprilia on the chase

The Martinator dominates before a late tumble, Bagnaia through to Q2, Aprilia fast on a Friday of tiny margins

Friday, 27 October 2023

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.

 

Maverick Vinales (12). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Maverick Vinales (12). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

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.  

 

Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

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.

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!

Pedro Acosta (37). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Pedro Acosta (37). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 
Acosta edges out Ramirez and Aldeguer on Day 1

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Pedro Acosta made his intentions known on Day 1 of the OR Thailand Grand Prix as he sets his sights on wrapping up the 2023 Moto2™ title. After topping Practice 1, the Spaniard went even quicker in Practice 2 as his 1:35.985 saw him snatch the top spot once more, but by just 0.014s. Marcos Ramirez (OnlyFans American Racing) was the closest to the Championship leader. The Spaniard put in an impressive Day 1 performance as he joined Acosta in the 1:35 club to finish P2 ahead of Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools SpeedUp).

 

Somkiat Chantra (35). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Somkiat Chantra (35). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) is looking determined as he runs a special livery on his Triumph-powered Moto2™ machine at his home Grand Prix (see below!). The Thai rider bagged P4 on Day 1 as he sits just 0.189s away from the top spot.
Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) rounded out the top five ahead of Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) who had a positive start to his weekend in P6. Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) was 0.029s back from the Brit in P7 with Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team) taking 8th. Dennis Foggia (Italtrans Racing Team) put in an impressive time to finish 3rd in Practice 1, and although the Italian failed to improve in Practice 2 his time held strong as he bagged P9 ahead of compatriot and Championship challenger Tony Arbolino (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team), who rounded out the top ten.

Moto2™ will be back in action on Saturday for Practice 3 at 9:25 and qualifying at 13:45 local (GMT +7)! 

Jaume Masia (5). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jaume Masia (5). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 
Moto3™: Masia reignites his charge with a clean sweep on Friday

Championship leader Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) put in an impressive day’s work to open the weekend’s Moto3™ action at the OR Thailand Grand Prix. The Spaniard’s 1:42.318 saw him improve his Practice 1 time by just 0.001s, but was more than enough to secure him top honours on Day 1. David Alonso (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) was also looking very strong and made a big step in Practice 2, putting himself into P2 as he got to grips with Buriram. Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI), winner in Indonesia, bounced back from a tough Australian GP as he secured a top three on Day 1 in Thailand.

Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) had another strong showing as the rookie found himself just 0.073s away from the top three in P4. Ryusei Yamanaka (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) has looked strong from the off too, and the Japanese rider rounded out the top five with Australian GP winner Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and first time podium finisher at Phillip Island, Joel Kelso (CFMOTO Racing PrüstelGP), slotting in just behind in 6th and 7th. 

Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) had a solid day at the office as he took P8. The Spaniard was 0.602s slower than his title rival Masia, but does currently have 0.140s over another key rival, Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP), who finished in P10 just behind Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse).

Moto3™ action continues on Saturday, make sure not to miss any of the action with Practice 3 at 08:40 and qualifying at 12:50 local time (GMT +7)!

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