Quartararo fastest in MotoGP practice, Marquez crashes

Fabio Quartararo. Picture: MotoGP.com

Fabio Quartararo has bounced back from a technical problem to set the pace in Friday practice for the Indonesian MotoGP, while Marc Marquez’s afternoon ended with a fast crash.

Quartararo headed up a Monster Energy Yamaha one-two after the first two, 45-minute sessions at the Mandalika International Street Circuit, his 1:31.608s during the Free Practice 2 time attacks leaving him 0.030s clear of team-mate Franco Morbidelli.

As it stands, both Marquez and Francesco Bagnaia would have to go into Qualifying 1 tomorrow afternoon, the latter stuck in 21st on the timesheet thanks in part to yellow flags triggered by crashes for the former and also championship leader Enea Bastianini

For now, the top 10 is Quartararo, Morbidelli, Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati), Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati), Bastianini (Gresini Ducati), Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM), and Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), with every rider setting their personal-best lap in FP2.

Both Repsol Honda riders have work to do in Saturday’s third practice session, with Pol Espargaro 19th-quickest and Marquez 22nd.

Ironically, Pol Espargaro had been fastest in Free Practice 1 with a post-chequered flag 1:33.499s, but that was knocked off by Oliveira’s 1:33.328s in the opening minutes of FP2 on his factory-entered KTM RC16.

Zarco then clocked a 1:33.310s on his Ducati, but Oliveira struck back almost immediately with a 1:33.212s.

Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda) on a 1:33.265s, Martin on a 1:33.249s, and Binder on a 1:33.176s then moved to the top, before Oliveira regained the ascendancy with a 1:32.707s in the 12th minute.

Quartararo had to hitch a ride back to the pits when his Yamaha apparently cut out in the sixth minute of the session.

However, it was the 2021 champion who finally brought an end to Oliveira’s spell at the top, just past the half-hour mark, when he rode his second YZR-M1 to a 1:32.570s.

With 10 minutes to go, Quartararo held sway from Oliveira, Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo), Bastianini, Zarco, Rins, Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM), Pol Espargaro, and Morbidelli in 10th, with Martin 11th and Miller 12th.

Most opted for a soft rear tyre and medium front when they took on new Michelin rubber for the time attacks, with Martin first to lap under the 92-second mark when he clocked a 1:31.904s.

Morbidelli quickly joined him in doing so with a 1:31.953s, before Zarco made it a Pramac one-two when the Frenchman set a 1:31.893s.

In the final two minutes, Morbidelli went quickest on a 1:31.638s but was usurped moments later by Quartararo’s 1:31.608s, and that settled matters at the pointy end.

Bastianini crashed when he lost the front of his Ducati, then Marquez had a high-speed off at Turn 11 which sent him tumbling through the gravel, although the six-time premier class champion was soon to his feet.

The yellow flags trapped Bagnaia, but Rins was able to rescue a berth in the top 10 when he leapt from 23rd position with a 1:32.106s after the chequered flag.

Tomorrow’s action is Free Practice 3 at 13:50 AEDT, then Free Practice 4 at 17:25, Qualifying 1 at 18:05, and Qualifying 2 at 18:30.

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