Marc Marquez set a new lap record at the Losail circuit after dominating the second free practice session (FP2) on day one of the 2019 MotoGP season.
The reigning champion smashed the previous record, set by Johann Zarco, by almost half a second – with a lap-time of 1:53.380. Marquez would end the session, which was held under the floodlights, +0.474s ahead of Monster Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales.
They were joined inside the top three by Jack Miller on the Pramac Ducati. The Australian was the quickest Ducati, managing to finish just ahead of factory rider Danilo Petrucci.
Fabio Quartararo continued his impressive form from testing to end the day as the fastest rookie in fifth. The 19-year-old appears to be adapting to the MotoGP machine very quickly.
Andrea Dovizioso, winner of last year’s race, ended the first day in sixth spot, just ahead of the second Petronas Yamaha of Franco Morbidelli. The Italian suffered a crash but was only +0.019s behind Dovizioso.
Less than half a tenth further down the timing sheets was Alex Rins on the Suzuki, with Aleix Espargaro in ninth for Aprilia. The top 10 was completed by another premier class rookie, Joan Mir.
Jorge Lorenzo (11th) and Valentino Rossi (16th) both have a lot of work to do if they’re to make it in to Q2 tomorrow. Despite topping the morning session, both riders were unable to improve their times, with Lorenzo being knocked out of the top 10 in the dying seconds by Rins.
Other riders who need to improve in FP3 in order to automatically qualify for Q2 include Cal Crutchlow (13th), Pol Espargaro (17th) and Johann Zarzo in 18th. The championship’s other rookies, Francesco Bagnaia and Miguel Oliveira ended the day in 14th and 20th respectively.
FP3 is scheduled to begin at 12:15pm tomorrow afternoon, followed by FP4 at 16:20, Q1 at 17:00 and then the all-important Q2 shootout at 17:25.