Both Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl worked hard on the opening day of the season to lay the foundations for what’s to come, Espargaro earning a provisional Q2 spot.
Temperatures pushing towards the 40s presented the MotoGP World Championship with a warm welcome back to action at the Qatar GP on the opening day of the 2021 season. As is often the case in Qatar, conditions were drastically different for Free Practice 2 under the floodlights as temperatures dipped into the 20s.
Despite the heat, Pol Espargaro was one of the first riders to head out in Free Practice 1 as he worked on his continued adaptation to the Honda. A fall for Pol Espargaro at Turn 6 midway through FP1 saw the Repsol Honda Team debutant return to the garage unharmed. He almost immediately returned to the baking hot Losail circuit on his second RC213V machine to continue running.
The cooler weather of FP2 saw Espargaro deliver on the potential he had shown in testing as he challenged for a position in the top five throughout. Unfortunately, a crash on his final flying lap saw him unable to improve beyond a 1’53.901 and tenth overall. The lap time does provide him with a provisional Q2 spot.
Like his team-mate, Stefan Bradl was eager to make the most of the first session regardless of the conditions. With temperatures greatly improving for Free Practice 2, Bradl was able to complete 18 laps during the session and improved his time to a 1’54.634 – 1.3 seconds quicker than in FP1. The German rider is eager to re-find his feeling from the test, the RC213V behaving differently as the condition of the circuit changed.
The Repsol Honda Team will be back out on track for Free Practice 3 at 15:15 Local Time Saturday, March 27, with conditions again looking punishing at the start of the day.
Qatar GP Combined Free Practice Classification
The fabulous Lusail International Circuit lies on the outskirts of Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Built in little over a year, the track cost $58 million USD and required round-the-clock dedication from almost 1,000 workers in order to get it ready for the inaugural event – the Marlboro Grand… read more.
|Length||5.380 kilometres / 3.343 miles|
|Longest straight||1.068 kilometres / 0.664 miles|
Losail International Circuit, Al Daayen, Qatar - View in Google Maps
|Pole Position||1m 52.772s (171.7km/h) Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati, 2021)|
|Race Lap||1m 54.624s (168.9 km/h) Maverick Viñales (Yamaha,2021)|
|Race Time||42m13.198 (168.2km/h) Enea Bastianini (Ducati, 2022)|
|2022 Race Winner||Enea Bastianini (Ducati)|