MotoGP Indian Grand Prix: Luca Marini clocks fastest time in Practice

MotoGP Indian Grand Prix: VR46 Racing Team’s Luca Marini clocked the fastest time of 1:44:782 in the Practice session on Friday to directly go through to the Qualifying 2 (Q2) session on Saturday.

Published : Sep 22, 2023 19:40 IST , Greater Noida - 3 MINS READ

The Practice session of the inaugural MotoGP Indian Grand Prix concluded on Friday with VR46 Racing Team’s Luca Marini heading the timesheet at the Buddh International Circuit here, clocking the fastest time of 1:44:782 and leading the 10-man rider list to directly advance for the Qualifying 2 (Q2) session on Saturday.

“Positive day for me especially the feeling in the first laps of the day. I was really strong since the beginning,” the 26-year-old Italian said.

We did a good job yesterday during the track familiarisation, trying to analyse the lines and braking points,” he added.

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Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin finished second with a time of 1:44.790 with Aleix Espargaro of Aprilia in third with a time of 1:44.833.

“I was super competitive trying to improve some problems I had. The pace is good. The lap time is great also, so I’m very happy,” said Martin, who is currently second in the Riders Championship.

Repsol Honda rider and six-time World Champion Marc Marquez finished in fourth ahead of VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi and Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales.

Bezzecchi was on top in the first practice session (FP1) earlier in the day, with a time of 1:45.990, beating Marquez by 0.130 seconds.

Brad Binder, who finished third in the FP1 session, missed out on a Q2 spot after finishing twelfth in Practice.

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The South African’s last lap was good enough for fourth place but LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami’s crash in the last lap brought out yellow flags which meant Binder’s lap time was cancelled.

Reigning World Champion Francesco Bagnaia seemed to be in a bit of trouble through the session too, languishing at 18th a few minutes before the end of the session but managed to secure qualification into Q2 after finishing seventh with a time of 1:45.280.

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, the 2021 World Champion, finished eighth ahead of Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco and Repsol Honda’s Joan Mir, who rounded out the top 10.

Quartararo’s top-10 finish came as a relief for Yamaha, which seemed to be in hot water during the FP1 session after the French rider suffered two mechanical failures, managing to complete only 10 laps.

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His teammate Franco Morbidelli was also called in by Yamaha as a precautionary measure in what seemed to be an issue with the gearbox.

The FP1 session also indicated that Turn 1 proved to be quite tricky for the riders after they recurrently missed the braking point and went onto the gravel trap.

Nakagami was the only rider with a serious incident though, as his slide at Turn 1 resulted in severe damage to the front of his bike.

The riders who finished outside the top 10 will now compete in the Qualifying 1 session tomorrow and vie for two more spots in Q2.

Top 10 drivers to directly advance to Q2
1. Luca Marini - Mooney VR Racing Team - 1:44.7820
2. Jorge Martin - Prima Pramac Racing - 1:44.7900
3. Aleix Espargaro - Aprilla Racing - 1:44.8330
4. Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda Team - 1:44.1170
5. Marco Bezzecchi - Mooney VR Racing Team - 1:45.2020
6. Maverick Vinales - Aprilla Racing - 1:45.2130
7. Francesco Bagnaia - Ducati Lenovo Team - 1:45.2800
8. Fabio Quartararo - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - 1:45.2910
9. Johann Zarco - Prima Pramac Racing - 1:45.3050
10. Joan Mir - Repsol Honda Team - 1:45.3320
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