Honda rider Pol Espargaro took first place in the first MotoGP practice session at the new Mandalika Street Circuit ahead of the Indonesian Grand Prix, while reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo finished 16th.
Pol Espargaro maintained his strong form from last month’s Mandalika pre-season test by taking first place in the first-ever MotoGP practice session at the Indonesian circuit.
The track had been soaked by overnight rain, but by the time MotoGP came to the track for its first 45-minute practice session of the weekend, a dry racing line had appeared.
The last time MotoGP raced in Indonesia was in 1997 at the Sentul circuit, and FP1 on Friday will be the Mandalika track’s first world championship racing action since the World Superbike final in November.
Miguel Oliveira of KTM set the early pace with a 1m42.301s lap time, but that time would be shaved as a slew of riders took turns leading the times.
Jack Miller, one of the finest riders when it comes to mixed conditions, proved his confidence by leapfrogging KTM rider Miguel Oliveira to the top of the standings, a hint of things to come from the two riders.
Miller’s performance improved as the track conditions improved, and the factory Lenovo Ducati rider set a time of 1:38.827s, putting him 2.2 seconds ahead of newcomer Marco Bezzecchi.
Fabio Quartararo, the reigning world champion, was the first rider to beat Miller, but the 22-year-old was shortly relegated to second place by Oliveira.
After opting to stay in pit lane for the first 15 minutes, Repsol Honda riders Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez put up outstanding performances on their second and fifth flying laps, respectively.
Marquez then took the lead after setting the very first sub-1m 36s lap of the day, but, like Quartararo, he was quickly relegated to third as Ducati’s Johann Zarco began to reveal his true potential.
Before Maverick Vinales, Franco Morbidelli, and P. Espargaro managed to divide the pair, the Pramac rider was four tenths ahead of Marquez.
Miller was pushed down the order with just over 15 minutes to go after a strong start, while teammate Francesco Bagnaia had a sluggish start and was down in P16 with ten minutes to go.
Pol Espargaro led the way from Oliveira and Marquez at the front, matching his speed from last month’s three-day test.
In typical MotoGP tradition, FP1 was highly close, with Enea Bastianini, the first-time winner in Qatar and the championship leader, finishing last with five minutes to go.
The top three shifted yet again during the Mandalika MotoGP practice session, with Morbidelli moving five tenths clear of Marquez, who also moved ahead of Pol Espargaro.
Pol Espargaro, on the other hand, remained unfazed, reclaiming P1 with his final try, a lap that was just under a tenth faster than Oliveira, who had split the two factory Honda riders.
Further down the field, Bastianini and Bagnaia both finished in the top ten late on – eighth and ninth for the two Italians, respectively – but Quartararo was less than delighted on his return to the Yamaha garage after a disappointing 16th place finish.
INDONESIAN MOTOGP, MANDALIKA – FREE PRACTICE (1) RESULTS
|1||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||1’33.499s||17/17||309k|
|2||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+0.044s||22/22||307k|
|3||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+0.079s||16/16||307k|
|4||Franco Morbidelli||ITA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.382s||16/19||303k|
|5||Johann Zarco||FRA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+0.743s||20/20||309k|
|6||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+0.753s||14/15||308k|
|7||Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+0.776s||20/21||307k|
|8||Enea Bastianini||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)||+0.828s||17/17||309k|
|9||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||+0.858s||21/21||306k|
|10||Joan Mir||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+0.980s||18/18||306k|
|11||Jack Miller||AUS||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||+1.063s||19/20||305k|
|12||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)||+1.093s||16/18||303k|
|13||Raul Fernandez||SPA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+1.177s||18/19||305k|
|14||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+1.208s||16/16||307k|
|15||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+1.216s||20/21||309k|
|16||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+1.294s||19/21||302k|
|17||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+1.394s||21/21||306k|
|18||Alex Marquez||SPA||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+1.398s||17/18||305k|
|19||Remy Gardner||AUS||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+1.687s||18/18||302k|
|20||Marco Bezzecchi||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP21)*||+1.759s||21/21||306k|
|21||Jorge Martin||SPA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+2.026s||17/17||304k|
|22||Luca Marini||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)||+3.272s||18/18||302k|
|23||Fabio Di Giannantonio||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)*||+3.339s||19/19||303k|
|24||Darryn Binder||RSA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)*||+3.617s||18/19||303k|