MotoGP’s return to Qatar for 2023 has come later within the yr than regular, after the occasion was shifted from its conventional season-opener slot on account of main monitor works.
As such, lap instances on the finish of a largely unrepresentative FP1 had been some 4 seconds off the outright file of 1m52.772s set in 2021 by Bagnaia.
With simply 14 factors splitting Bagnaia and Martin within the standings, this weekend affords the latter an opportunity to wrap up the world championship if he can rating 23 extra factors than his rival.
Martin drew first blood at Losail, topping FP1 by 0.172 seconds from Pramac team-mate Johann Zarco, as Bagnaia accomplished the highest three – 0.229s off the tempo.
RNF Aprilia’s Raul Fernandez was fourth and set the early tempo in the beginning of the 45-minute session, posting a mild 1m59.140s because the riders started working cleansing up the brand new asphalt.
Martin took his first journey to the highest of the order with simply over seven minutes into the session, the Pramac rider going quickest with a 1m58.626s.
He would enhance to a 1m58.235s on his subsequent tour, earlier than Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio – who faces an unsure future because the manufacturing facility Honda seat for 2024 now seems to be unlikely to go his method – went barely faster with a 1m58.019s.
This was short-lived, as Malaysian GP winner – and final yr’s Qatar victor – Enea Bastianini took over high spot with a 1m57.982s, earlier than manufacturing facility Ducati team-mate Bagnaia edged forward with a 1m57.936s with half an hour to go.
This stood because the benchmark for the following quarter-hour till Di Giannantonio went on a run that culminated in a 1m56.830s.
With just below six minutes to go, Martin fired in a 1m56.393s on a contemporary medium rear tyre, which might see him to the chequered flag because the pacesetter of FP1.
Zarco put in a 1m56.565s to finish a Pramac 1-2, whereas Bagnaia set his 1m56.622s on the tougher rear tyre.
Behind fourth-placed Fernandez got here Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli and VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini, who advised media on Thursday that there had been no motion on his potential change to Honda subsequent yr.
Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro was seventh regardless of a crash at Flip 14 early on, with Di Giannantonio, Tech3’s Pol Espargaro and KTM’s Brad Binder rounding out the highest 10.
There was an odd second between Pol Espargaro and VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi on the finish of the session through the apply begins.
The pair received shut on monitor on the final and first nook after the chequered flag, earlier than Bezzecchi repeatedly nudged Espargaro’s rear tyre within the apply begin zone.
Bezzecchi ended the session 18th behind Bastianini and final week’s dash winner Alex Marquez, who crashed at Flip 4.
Fabio Quartararo was eleventh on his Yamaha forward of Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales and KTM’s Jack Miller, who examined a brand new rear wing on his RC16.
Tech3’s Augusto Fernandez was the one different crasher within the session and was 14th, whereas high Honda honours went to Joan Mir in nineteenth as all RC213V riders slotted in behind him.
MotoGP Qatar GP – FP1 outcomes: