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Practice report
MotoGP Indian GP

MotoGP Indian GP: Bezzecchi leads Marquez in first practice

VR46 rider Marco Bezzecchi set the pace in the opening practice session for the inaugural MotoGP Indian Grand Prix, leading the way from Honda’s Marc Marquez.

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Jorge Martin and Luca Marini traded the top spot in the timesheets for much of the extended 70-minute session at the Buddh International Circuit, each enjoying long stints at the front on their respective Ducatis.

Pramac rider Martin was the first among the two to break the 1m50s barrier as he set a lap time of 1m49.358s in the first 10 minutes of practice, with his VR46 rival Marini’s response falling 0.017s short of the Spaniard’s benchmark.

But Marini struck back next time around, improving by nearly two seconds to post a 1m47.880s flier as the lap times continued to tumble at the 4.9km circuit.

The duopoly of Marini and Martin was ended by Aleix Espargaro 15 minutes into the session, the Aprilia rider improving to a 1m47.611s on a track that is expected to suit the Noale outfit.

Espargaro’s time remained unbeaten around halfway into practice, when the next big rounds of improvements were seen as riders laid fresh rubber on to the asphalt and improved the overall grip.

The biggest gainer was Martin, who reinstated the status quo with a blistering time of 1m46.817s after dropping as far down as sixth in the order.

Marini managed to reduce the gap to Martin to just 0.023s when he returned to the track, before finding more pace in the final 20 minutes, improving to a 1m46.516s to claim the top spot again.

However, there would be a major shuffling of order at the death end of the session, which would push Marini down to seventh in the final order - not helped by a lap deletion that left him with a 1m46.610s as his best effort.

Ending the day on top would be Bezzecchi, who was the only rider to dip into the 1m45s bracket after a blistering lap in the final five minutes of practice.

Bezzecchi’s final effort of 1m45.990s left him just over a tenth clear of Marc Marquez, who likewise made a late improvement - to a 1m46.129s - to end up a surprise second in the final order.

Brad Binder ended the session third on the factory KTM despite being the first rider to suffer a crash in the session, the South African going deep into Turn 1 and falling off his bike as he ran over the gravel run-off.

Fourth-fastest was RNF Aprilia rider Raul Fernandez with a time of 1m46.371s, with Aleix Espargaro ending up just over a tenth behind on the factory Aprilia in fifth.

Johann Zarco managed to leap to sixth with a late 1m46.576s flier, just ahead of Marini and the sister Pramac bike of Martin.

Fabio di Giannantonio was ninth on the Gresini Ducati, while Joan Mir rounded out a strong morning for the factory Honda team in 10th.

Track and paddock

Track and paddock

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

While five Ducati bikes finished inside the top 10, championship leader Francesco Bagnaia could only muster 15th on the factory-entered GP23 in what was a low-key session for the Italian.

His time of 1m47.050s left him just over a second off the pace of title rival Bezzecchi.

Yamaha had a tough start to the Indian GP weekend, with Fabio Quartararo stopping twice on track due to mechanical issues.

With just 10 laps on board, he was classified 19th in the session, two spots ahead of team-mate Franco Morbidelli, whose sessions also ended early.

However, both Quartararo was able to try some practice starts following the end of the session.

A number of incidents were noted in FP1 in the opening right-hander, with LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami’s crash the biggest of all as his Honda slid into gravel at high speed. Nakagami was reportedly okay after the fall.

Tech3’s Pol Espargaro went down twice in FP1, while Enea Bastianini's Ducati stand-in Michele Pirro registered the first crash of the day on his out-lap at the start of the session.

MotoGP Indian GP FP1 results

 
 
         
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Speed Trap
1 Italy M. Bezzecchi Team VR46 72 Ducati 26 1'45.990   170.166  
2 Spain M. Marquez Repsol Honda Team 93 Honda 25 +0.139 0.139 169.944  
3 South Africa B. Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 33 KTM 25 +0.320 0.181 169.654  
4 Spain R. Fernández RNF Racing 25 Aprilia 24 +0.381 0.061 169.557  
5 Spain M. Viñales Aprilia Racing Team 12 Aprilia 25 +0.488 0.107 169.387  
6 France J. Zarco Pramac Racing 5 Ducati 24 +0.586 0.098 169.231  
7 Italy L. Marini Team VR46 10 Ducati 23 +0.619 0.033 169.178  
8 Spain J. Martin Pramac Racing 89 Ducati 24 +0.447   169.452  
9 Italy F. Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing 49 Ducati 23 +0.788 0.341 168.911  
10 Spain J. Mir Repsol Honda Team 36 Honda 24 +0.815 0.027 168.868  
11 Spain A. Fernandez Tech 3 37 KTM 26 +0.837 0.022 168.833  
12 Japan T. Nakagami Team LCR 30 Honda 24 +0.976 0.139 168.614  
13 Spain A. Espargaro Aprilia Racing Team 41 Aprilia 24 +0.984 0.008 168.601  
14 Spain A. Marquez Gresini Racing 73 Ducati 26 +1.027 0.043 168.533  
15 Italy F. Bagnaia Ducati Team 1 Ducati 24 +1.060 0.033 168.482  
16 Australia J. Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 KTM 25 +1.381 0.321 167.978  
17 Portugal M. Oliveira RNF Racing 88 Aprilia 23 +1.429 0.048 167.903  
18 Spain P. Espargaro Tech 3 44 KTM 21 +1.490 0.061 167.807  
19 France F. Quartararo Yamaha Factory Racing 20 Yamaha 10 +1.524 0.034 167.754  
20 Italy M. Pirro Ducati Team 51 Ducati 23 +2.038 0.514 166.956  
21 Italy F. Morbidelli Yamaha Factory Racing 21 Yamaha 17 +2.115 0.077 166.837  
22 Germany S. Bradl Team LCR 6 Honda 26 +2.755 0.640 165.855  

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