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15 days ago
By motogp.com

Aleix Espargaro fastest from Rins in Doha FP1

Four manufacturers sit inside the top four as the Grand Prix of Doha gets going; Morbidelli experiences two mechanical issues

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro set a 1:54.779 at the end of MotoGP™ FP1 at the Tissot Grand Prix of Doha to top the first session of the weekend by just 0.060s. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) finished second with World Championship leader Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) also within a tenth of the top time in P3.

The sun was shining for FP1 but it was far from a bright opening session for Franco Morbidelli. His Petronas Yamaha SRT machine suffered a mechanical issue just 10 minutes into the weekend, which forced the Italian to head back to pitlane on the service road and hop out on his second bike. Then, a couple of minutes later, Qatar podium finisher Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) crashed unhurt at Turn 15 in a dramatic start to proceedings. With 10 minutes to go, Morbidelli then went fastest but the exact same thing then happened again – his bike started spitting smoke and he was forced to pull off the circuit for a second time. A complicated session for Morbidelli to say the least, with both of his bikes encountering issues.  

Rookie Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) impressed to claim P4 in FP1, just 0.240s away from Aleix Espargaro’s best effort, as Morbidelli rounded out the top five despite his mechanical woes.

 

You really don’t want to miss FP2 later on this evening at 20:00 local time (GMT+3), it will more than likely decide who is entering Q2 automatically – and who will have to fight it out in Q1.

Top 10:
1. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) - 1:54.779
2. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.060
3. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.085
4. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.240
5. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.346
6. Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) + 0.484
7. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.524
8. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.570
9. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.614
10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.669

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