#IndianGP Friday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
The first ever day of MotoGP™ action at Buddh International Circuit threw up a treat, with the timesheets incredibly tight at the top. The stage is certainly set for a barnstorming IndianOil Grand Prix of India as Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) put down a stunning 1:44.782 to lead Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) by just 0.008s, and the gap didn’t get much bigger down to third either as Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) started his weekend in P3 just 0.051 off Marini.
Crunch time in Practice!
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 tucking in for their late time attacks.
The top 10 go through to Q2, and it was a mad rush as the soft tyres went in with fifteen minutes to go. The times really began to tumble but it was late charge in the final moments that saw Marini set the benchmark with the fastest time of the weekend so far.
Martin was the man to beat for the majority of the session though, and did move the goalposts by half a second ahead of time-attack war before just being denied by Marini at the end, with yellow flags out and little time remaining.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was one of those threatening the top spots as well. Red sectors came in from the eight-time champ, but the ask was a little too much for the Repsol Honda to take over on top. Still, he took a positive P4. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) was also looking strong after topping Friday morning’s Practice 1, but couldn’t put himself any higher than P5 in Practice.
Bagnaia with something up his sleeve?
Reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) was very much in the danger zone as the clock was ticking away in the final 10 minutes. The Championship leader was sat outside of Q2 contention and had some work to do, with the pace getting hotter and hotter. Bagnaia hadn’t been setting the world on fire throughout the day, but with the question asked of the Italian, he got the hammer down to bag P7 and an important Q2 spot just behind Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing). Is the champ struggling or keeping his cards close to his chest?
Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) enjoyed a fairly positive day onboard his Yamaha M1. The Frenchman finds himself in an automatic Q2 spot in P8, and is looking confident with the new circuit leveling the playing field that little bit more. He suffered two mechanical issues in FP1 butstill took that all-important place in Q2.
The Frenchman’s compatriot Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) finished just behind in P9, with Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) also returning to Q2 with a much-needed top 10. It was close there though, with yellow flags out in the final few minutes and that causing both Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) to have their best laps scrubbed off, both of which would have easily seen them sail into Q2.
A packed house in Q1
Behind Mir, it’s Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) the first to miss out after finishing Practice in P11 following those lap cancellations.
Diggia, Binder and Augusto Fernandez will be joined in Q1 by the likes of Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) and Jack Miller(Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) in a hotly-contested session on Saturday morning too.
Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) is back with a vengeance! The Italian topped the timesheets on Day 1 of the IndianOil Grand Prix of India as his 1:52.105 saw him snatch the top spot right at the chequered flag. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) heads the chasing pack after falling just 0.018s short of his title rival’s time, with his flying lap coming in just seconds after Arbolino’s. Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) is looking strong at the Buddh International Circuit and ends day 1 in P3.
Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing) recovered from a difficult Practice 1 session to go over 2s quicker in Practice 2 as he took 4th place on the combined timing sheets. Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia), who topped P1, went a tenth quicker in P2 to round out the top five, with Manuel Gonzalez (Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 Mastercamp) slotting in just behind in P6.
Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) put down some red sectors in the closing stages but lacked pace in the middle of the lap and ultimately took P7. Filip Salac(QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2™) then took P8 with Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) and Marcos Ramirez (OnlyFans American Racing) rounding out the top 10.
Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) found an extra gear in the second session of action at the IndianOil Grand Prix of India as he went top to lead the way with a 1:59.566. The Dutch rookie was the first rider to break the 2-minute barrier and put in consistent laps on his own to chip away at the benchmark time. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) was looking as strong as ever as he joined the Dutchman as the only other rider in the 1:59 club though, just +0186s shy of the top, with Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) rounded out the top three after keeping himself consistently in the top half of the timing sheets.
Despite taking a tumble, David Alonso (GASGAS Aspar Team) had another strong showing to take P4 on day 1, and having taken three wins in the last four races, you can bet the rookie will be a force to be reckoned with come Sunday. Riccardo Rossi(SIC58 Squadra Corse) rounded out the top five ahead of the Brazilian Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets-MSI).
Second in the Championship, Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) bagged P7 to kick off day 1 of the flyaway run, with rookie Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team), and title contender Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) rounding out the top 10.
It was a tougher start to the weekend for the Championship leader Daniel Holgado(Red Bull KTM Tech3). The Spaniard suffered an off towards the end of the session and finished the day in P13 with the all-important Q2 spots up for grabs on Saturday…