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.

Pol Espargaro

10th 1'53.901

“I feel happy today because after a week off, I was able to be as fast as I was during the test more or less and the top guys didn’t all manage this. I was five tenths from first and I would have been even closer if I was able to finish the lap. This means I am getting closer but to get these lap times you need to get close to the limit and I found the limit twice today, it’s not ideal at all but to be fast sometimes you need to fall. It’s better to crash now than in Qualifying or the race. Tomorrow in the morning it will be difficult to improve our times so to be in a provisional Q2 spot now is good, but if we need to push in the morning then we will. A positive first day of the season.”

Stefan Bradl

18th 1'54.634

“Overall not the greatest of days for us as we missed a little bit of track time in the morning but on the positive side we know what we need to work on and where we need to work. For some reason the bike is behaving quite differently compared to the test so let’s see what we can find out for tomorrow. We know the potential is a lot more than we showed today. I will see tomorrow what we can do and we will see where and what we can improve before then. The goal is to perform better as we know our potential is higher.”

MotoGP 2021
Practice Round 1   Qatar

Qatar GP Combined Free Practice Classification

Dry
Humidity
70%
Track Temp
26°C
Air Temp
25°C
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Miller Jack 43 AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1'53.387
2 Bagnaia Francesco 63 ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1'53.422
3 Quartararo Fabio 20 FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1'53.575
4 Zarco Johann 5 FRA Pramac Racing Ducati 1'53.586
5 Rins Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1'53.623
6 Vinales Maverick 12 SPA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1'53.639
7 Morbidelli Franco 21 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1'53.676
8 Espargaro Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1'53.727
9 Rossi Valentino 46 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 1'53.874
10 Espargaro Pol 44 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'53.901
11 Mir Joan 36 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1'53.914
12 Marquez Alex 73 SPA LCR Honda Honda 1'54.115
13 Martin Jorge 89 SPA Pramac Racing Ducati 1'54.178
14 Nakagami Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda Honda 1'54.199
15 Bastianini Enea 23 ITA Avintia Esponsorama Ducati 1'54.228
16 Binder Brad 33 RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1'54.371
17 Marini Luca 10 ITA SKY VR46 Avintia Ducati 1'54.432
18 Bradl Stefan 6 GER Repsol Honda Team Honda 1'54.634
19 Oliveira Miguel 88 POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1'54.756
20 Petrucci Danilo 9 ITA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1'54.774
21 Lecuona Iker 27 SPA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1'55.098
22 Savadori Lorenzo 32 ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 1'55.674
Location Information

The fabulous Losail 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
Width 12 metres
Left corners 6
Right corners 10
Longest straight 1.068 kilometres / 0.664 miles
Constructed 2004

Losail International Circuit, Al Daayen, Qatar - View in Google Maps

www.circuitlosail.com

Records

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 42m28.452 42s (167.1km/h) Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha, 2016)
2021 Race Winner Race 1: Maverick Viñales (Yamaha) || Race 2: Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha)