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Practice report
MotoGP Qatar GP

MotoGP Qatar GP: Fernandez tops second practice after late yellow flag chaos

RNF Aprilia’s Raul Fernandez topped second practice for the MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix, as yellow flag chaos at the end of the session led to numerous lap time deletions.

Raul Fernandez, RNF MotoGP Racing

The only night practice of the Qatar weekend proved to be a tight affair, as Fernandez on his year-old Aprilia edged ahead of Gresini Ducati’s Fabio Di Giannantonio by 0.049 seconds after an hour of running.

Maverick Vinales had been set to end second practice fastest of all with a new lap record, but the Aprilia rider had his 1m52.652s deleted due to setting it under yellow flags after several late crashes.

A number of riders got caught out by the late yellow flags, with Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo slumping from eighth to 21st as a result.

Both title challengers Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin made it through to Q2 for Saturday’s qualifying, with the latter edging ahead in seventh despite a scrappy session as he battled a lack of grip.

Di Giannantonio set the early pace in second practice on Friday evening with a 1m55.338s, before Raul Fernandez moved clear with a 1m55.093s inside the first five minutes of running.

Pol Espargaro dipped into the 1m54s with a 1m54.567s a few moments later, before Fernandez found a 1m54.309s.

A 1m54.148s from Vinales on his factory Aprilia ended the initial salvo of session-topping laps just over 13 minutes in.

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Gresini Racing

Miguel Oliveira on the sister RNF Aprilia would finally depose Vinales with a 1m54.005s with just over half an hour to go, before the latter popped in a 1m53.340s on a new soft rear tyre.

Vinales’ first soft tyre run didn’t quite bring about a sudden flurry of time attacks, but 10 minutes later the rest of the field would follow suit.

Di Giannantonio got the ball rolling with a 1m52.892s to get close to Bagnaia’s 2021 lap record of 1m52.772s, with Fernandez finding 0.049s with 12 minutes to go to take over top spot.

Vinales would fire in a 1m52.652s to break the lap record with just under two minutes until the chequered flag, but would be demoted to third as he set this under yellow flag conditions.

This was for a crash for Pol Espargaro at the final corner while the Tech3 rider was on a good lap, and it would cause problems for a number of riders – namely Bagnaia.

Bagnaia at the same time had posted a lap good enough for fourth, with Honda’s Marc Marquez in tow to jump up the order with the Ducati rider.

They would be shoved back to the outer reaches of the top 10 for their final laps.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Both were lucky to avoid a yellow flag zone for Jack Miller’s second crash of the night, with Bagnaia going eighth fastest ahead of Tech3’s Augusto Fernandez and Marquez on the Honda.

Brad Binder would end the session fourth on the leading KTM from Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, while Luca Marini leapt up to sixth on his VR46 Ducati.

Martin was seventh having been last at the halfway point of the session, as grip issues forced him to abandon his number one Pramac Ducati for his second bike.

Miller’s crash left the KTM rider out of the Q2 places in 11th, with the KTM rider heading Gresini’s Alex Marquez and Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli behind.

Pol Espargaro was 14th after his crash, with Marco Bezzecchi losing a lap time to yellow flags in 15th on his VR46 Ducati.

Malaysian GP winner Enea Bastianini could only manage 18th on his factory Ducati behind Honda’s Joan Mir, with Oliveira slipping down to 19th due to yellow flags.

LCR Honda’s Iker Lecuona headed Quartararo after his yellow flag-caused lap deletion, with the sister LCR Honda of Takaaki Nakagami completing the field.

MotoGP Qatar GP FP2 results

 
 
         
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Speed Trap
1 Spain R. Fernández RNF Racing 25 Aprilia 20

1'52.843

  171.636  
2 Italy F. Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing 49 Ducati 18

+0.049

1'52.892

0.049 171.562  
3 Spain M. Viñales Aprilia Racing Team 12 Aprilia 19

+0.093

1'52.936

0.044 171.495  
4 South Africa B. Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 33 KTM 20

+0.112

1'52.955

0.019 171.466  
5 Spain A. Espargaro Aprilia Racing Team 41 Aprilia 19

+0.190

1'53.033

0.078 171.348  
6 Italy L. Marini Team VR46 10 Ducati 26

+0.251

1'53.094

0.061 171.255  
7 Spain J. Martin Pramac Racing 89 Ducati 21

+0.352

1'53.195

0.101 171.102  
8 Italy F. Bagnaia Ducati Team 1 Ducati 19

+0.359

1'53.202

0.007 171.092  
9 Spain A. Fernandez Tech 3 37 KTM 21

+0.446

1'53.289

0.087 170.960  
10 Spain M. Marquez Repsol Honda Team 93 Honda 20

+0.480

1'53.323

0.034 170.909  
11 Australia J. Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 KTM 18

+0.494

1'53.337

0.014 170.888  
12 Spain A. Marquez Gresini Racing 73 Ducati 20

+0.718

1'53.561

0.224 170.551  
13 Italy F. Morbidelli Yamaha Factory Racing 21 Yamaha 18

+0.721

1'53.564

0.003 170.547  
14 Spain P. Espargaro Tech 3 44 KTM 14

+0.853

1'53.696

0.132 170.349  
15 Italy M. Bezzecchi Team VR46 72 Ducati 23

+0.861

1'53.704

0.008 170.337  
16 France J. Zarco Pramac Racing 5 Ducati 16

+0.935

1'53.778

0.074 170.226  
17 Spain J. Mir Repsol Honda Team 36 Honda 16

+1.078

1'53.921

0.143 170.012  
18 Italy E. Bastianini Ducati Team 23 Ducati 22

+1.094

1'53.937

0.016 169.988  
19 Portugal M. Oliveira RNF Racing 88 Aprilia 20

+1.162

1'54.005

0.068 169.887  
20 Spain I. Lecuona Team LCR 27 Honda 22

+1.411

1'54.254

0.249 169.517  
21 France F. Quartararo Yamaha Factory Racing 20 Yamaha 20

+1.417

1'54.260

0.006 169.508  
22 Japan T. Nakagami Team LCR 30 Honda 22

+1.598

1'54.441

0.181 169.240  

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