Qatar MotoGP: Miller leads tight FP2, Honda's Espargaro crashes again

Jack Miller led a Ducati 1-2 in second practice for the MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix, while Honda rookie Pol Espargaro registered his second crash of the day.

Qatar MotoGP: Miller leads tight FP2, Honda's Espargaro crashes again

Aleix Espargaro set the early pace as FP2 got underway with a 1m55.204s, before Francesco Bagnaia dropped into the 1m54s with a 1m54.625s to take over top spot moments later.

This lap stood for just a few seconds, as his factory Ducati team-mate Miller edged ahead with a 1m54.571s before the session was red-flagged briefly for debris having fallen on track on the main straight.

When proceedings restarted, Miller bettered his lap to a 1m54.557s, but Espargaro dug deep on his Aprilia and really spread the field with a 1m53.789s on just his sixth lap of the session.

It took 15 minutes for Espargaro’s lap to come under threat, MotoGP’s qualifying specialist Fabio Quartararo on the factory Yamaha getting to within 0.077 seconds on the opening lap of a run.

On his follow-up tour, Quartararo deposed Espargaro with a 1m53.697s, before Bagnaia produced a 1m53.422s a few minutes later to take over top spot.

A flurry of fast laps filled the closing stages of FP2 as the field made their bids for a provisional place in Q2 with conditions in FP3 set to be windier than they were on Friday.

With just over two minutes remaining, Miller reclaimed top spot from his team-mate with a 1m53.387s, and this would go unchallenged through to the chequered flag.

 

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Several riders came close on their last laps to pipping Miller, with Bagnaia the closest at just 0.035s adrift having been forced to abort his final effort due to Pol Espargaro’s late crash.

The Honda rider was tailing LCR counterpart Alex Marquez and slid off at the fast Turn 15 left-hander, though he held onto a provisional Q2 place in 10th.

Quartararo completed the top three on his Yamaha ahead of Johann Zarco on the Pramac Ducati, with Alex Rins showing an encouraging turn of single-lap pace for Suzuki in fifth and just 0.236s off Miller’s lap.

His world champion team-mate did not fare as well; though only 0.527s off the pace, Joan Mir was shuffled out of the Q2 places into 11th.

Maverick Vinales rounded out the top six on the sister works team Yamaha ahead of FP1 pacesetter Franco Morbidelli on the Petronas SRT M1, while Aleix Espargaro slid down the order to eighth.

Splitting the Espargaro brothers was Valentino Rossi on the sister SRT Yamaha, while Jorge Martin led the rookie crop in an impressive 13th on the Pramac Ducati.

KTM’s Qatar woes continued into FP2, with Brad Binder the leading RC16 rider in 16th and 0.984s off the pace, while team-mate Miguel Oliveira headed Tech3 KTM duo Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona in 19th.

Cla Rider Bike Laps Time Gap
1 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 17 1'53.387  
2 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 16 1'53.422 0.035
3 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 17 1'53.575 0.188
4 France Johann Zarco Ducati 18 1'53.586 0.199
5 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 19 1'53.623 0.236
6 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 18 1'53.639 0.252
7 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 19 1'53.676 0.289
8 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 16 1'53.727 0.340
9 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha 19 1'53.874 0.487
10 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 18 1'53.901 0.514
11 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 18 1'53.914 0.527
12 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 17 1'54.115 0.728
13 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 17 1'54.178 0.791
14 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 16 1'54.199 0.812
15 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 17 1'54.228 0.841
16 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 15 1'54.371 0.984
17 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 17 1'54.432 1.045
18 Germany Stefan Bradl Honda 18 1'54.634 1.247
19 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 17 1'54.756 1.369
20 Italy Danilo Petrucci KTM 16 1'54.774 1.387
21 Spain Iker Lecuona KTM 16 1'55.098 1.711
22 Italy Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 18 1'55.674 2.287
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