Friday in Qatar marked not only the beginning of the Qatar Grand Prix, but also the eagerly awaited return of the MotoGP World Championship after a long winter. With Free Practice 1 taking place during the day and Free Practice 2 running at night, the latter offered conditions most similar to Sunday’s race with 21ºC track and air temperature. The opening day of practice for the 2019 MotoGP World Championship saw Marc Marquez fast from his first lap. Concluding Free Practice 1 in third, he and his Honda RC213V produced a stunning 1:53.380min under the lights of Free Practice 2 – three tenths faster than the previous all time lap record.
“It was a really positive day! I was focusing a lot to go directly to QP2 and yes, the lap was fast but the most important thing is our rhythm. We still need to work a little bit on this but we’re finding our way and happy with how today ended. Normally we struggle a lot at this circuit but we are there more or less. It’s free practice, Sunday is still the most important part of the weekend”, Marquez said.
⏱️Check out the combined times after the FP2
Stunning lap for @marcmarquez93 who sets a new lap record in 1.53.380 #MichelinMotoGP #QatarGP pic.twitter.com/chkWMOcq0c
— Michelin Motorsport (@Michelin_Sport) March 8, 2019
Maverick Viñales showed a consistent pace early on in FP1 and continued to work systematically on his bike’s set-up throughout the session. Similar to last year, the pace increased in the evening as the temperatures dropped. At the end of the session, he rode a lap under the 1:54-mark, a 1:53.854s, earning him second place, 0.474s from first.
“It was really important to be inside the top 10 today, because the lap times were really fast. I was planning to do two time-attacks. But in the end, I only had time to do one. I’m actually really happy about how the bike is working. We still have to improve. We are losing a lot on top speed. But the bike is getting really great in the corners, so I’m very excited to work even harder tomorrow. We’re going to try to make the last corner better, especially in terms of acceleration. We need to improve in that area. Let’s see if we can do it tomorrow. We now know the potential of our bike and we need to keep working hard”, Viñales explained.
Jack Miller finished third on the first day of activity at the Losail circuit in Doha.
“The sensations are positive. In FP1 we have worked a lot with used tyres and we have had important indications. Also in FP2 we did a positive long run. Then with the soft tyre I managed to set a good time that could be important for the direct qualification to Q2”, Miller commented.