Alex Marquez fastest in Friday’s practice at Sepang

Alex Marquez fastest in Friday's practice at Sepang

Gresini rider Alex Marquez set the fastest laptime during Friday’s practice for the Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang as both of the championship contenders qualified for Q2.

At the conclusion of the first day of the Malaysian MotoGP event at Sepang, Alex Marquez was leading the way, while points leaders Jorge Martin and Francesco Bagnaia finished in Q2.

Heavy showers of rain threatened to obscure the Sepang International Circuit during the opening stages of the session, but the event proceeded as planned, with most of the riders trying to turn in fast lap times in order to avoid the potential rain.

Honda’s Marc Marquez did in fact complete his first flying lap just 0.002 seconds behind the record set by race leader Martin. Just a few moments later, his brother Alex would triumph over this attempt with a time of 1:58.705s.

As the session neared the third-distance mark, Martin overcame the benchmark lap with a time of 1:58.523 seconds. The Pramac Ducati rider had started the session early on fresh tires after finding it difficult to maintain a lead due to traffic.

The riders were lucky that the rain never came and that their sessions went pretty much as scheduled. As the session carried on, the times dropped gradually but Marquez, Martin and KTM’s Brad Binder appeared to be fighting for the first place.

Marquez later took the lead with a time of 1:59.227s, which was immediately eclipsed by Martin’s first sub-1:58s lap of the weekend. Brad Binder was forced to slide off the track due to an incident involving RNF Aprilia’s Raul Fernandez of , but the former just missed it.

As the session came to an end, Marquez had a little more left in the tank and responded to the challenge with a 1:57.823s, which was good enough to put him ahead of Martin by 0.174s.

Jack Miller surprised everyone with his KTM finishing the first day in Malaysia in third place overall, only a hair ahead of his teammate Binder, who had managed to get the most out of his tires in the final moments.

Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales finished fifth overall ahead of VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini. Factory Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo finished seventh overall after squandering his last attempt after running into teammate Franco Morbidelli who was riding on the racing line.

Bagnaia found it challenging to keep up with his title rival’s speed once more, but he managed to finish eighth on his factory Ducati to guarantee a spot in the automatic shootout. Marco Bezzecchi placed ninth for VR46 as Pramac’s Johann Zarco rounded out the top ten.

Morbidelli narrowly lost out in 11th place overall, just ahead of Enea Bastianini’s factory Ducati while Augusto Fernandez marked the first GasGas rider in 13th place.

Marc Marquez finished only in 15th place marking the fastest RC213V, narrowly ahead of his Repsol teammate Joan Mir. LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami finished in 21st place in an uphill battle for Honda.

Finishing in 14th place with his best gambit, Fabio di Gianantinio had plenty of work to attend to on Saturday as well. Aleix meanwhile, had a terrible day, crashing his Aprilia four times in the two sessions on Friday.

Espargaro stumbled at Turns 1, 5, and 9 during the practice, seeming to be having trouble with the front of his RS-GP. As a result, he finished the race in a pitiful 20th place.

On his first premier-class race weekend since 2018, Ducati wildcard Alvaro Bautista also found it challenging to establish an indelible mark.

After finishing the day 22nd overall and 2.4 seconds behind Marquez’s record, the recently crowned double World Superbike champion found it difficult to catch up to the leading riders as he got accustomed to the Desmosedici.

The World superbikes champion outperformed LCR’s Iker Lecuona by a mere tenth of a second as the Andorran filled in for the injured Alex Rins at the Italian team this weekend.

2023 Malaysian MotoGP Practice Results

PosNameNatTeamMotorcycleLap Time
1Alex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 57.823
2Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 57.997
3Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 58.232
4Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 58.307
5Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 58.312
6Luca Marini🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 58.334
7Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 58.399
8Pecco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 58.420
9Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 58.450
10Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 58.487
11Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 58.571
12Enea Bastianini🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 58.605
13Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 58.678
14Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 58.709
15Marc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 58.788
16Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 58.902
17Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 58.974
18Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 59.024
19Miguel Oliveira🇵🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 59.150
20Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 59.726
21Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V1m 59.755
22Alvaro Bautista🇪🇦Aruba RacingDucati GP232m 00.370
23Iker Lecuona🇪🇦LCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V2m 00.451

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