Marc Marquez opens the year with a solid second place, less than a tenth from the top as Pol Espargaro posts steady improvements and quick times across Friday.

The 2022 MotoGP World Championship season officially got underway in Qatar, the Repsol Honda Team eagerly returning to the racetrack after the winter break. As always, conditions around the Lusail International Circuit improved over the course of the opening day, the first session held under daylight and the second session held at night, under the lights.

A strong Free Practice 1 opened the year for the Repsol Honda Team as Pol Espargaro finished fourth, just a hundredth of a second clear of teammate Marc Marquez. This form would continue into the evening session, Free Practice 2 getting underway at 18:00 Local Time – the same time the race is scheduled for on Sunday.

No matter the conditions in Lusail, Marc Marquez was able to show his pace and was never more than half a second from the fastest time. In the morning the eight-time World Champion ended fifth, 0.286s back on Brad Binder who topped the session. As darkness descended for FP2, Marquez improved his time to a 1’53.467 – over a second and a half faster, to end the day as the second fastest rider and top Honda. The objective for tomorrow is the front two rows of the grid as Marquez continues to find his feet on the new bike.

Pol Espargaro looked strong in both morning and evening conditions, fourth in FP1 and 1.2 seconds faster in FP2. This improvement saw the #44 finish the day in ninth place overall, just 0.531s off Alex Rins who topped the opening day of the season. Confident there’s still more to come, Espargaro is willing to push hard in the morning if his place in Q2 comes under any risk. It was an overall confidence building day for the Repsol Honda Team rider.

Preparations for the Qatar Grand Prix continue on Saturday, March 05. Free Practice 3 begins the day at 13:15 Local Time before the battle for the first pole position of the year starts at 18:00 Local Time – the same time as Sunday’s race.

Marc Marquez

Second 1'53.467

“Overall I think we are in a better position than we were expecting and I think that a good target for us tomorrow is to aim for the front two rows. We still need to understand how to improve our rhythm a bit to close the gap to the top. I feel like I am riding quite ‘clean’, I am still working to understand the front of the new bike so my riding does not yet look like ‘Marquez style’ but the lap time is coming. It’s about being patient, it’s very early in the season and this is normally a track where we struggle a bit. It’s still Friday though, the weekend has just started. Today I pushed, tomorrow I will push again.”

Pol Espargaro

Ninth 1'53.963

“It felt good today, especially at a track like here in Qatar where usually I struggle a little bit. We had a good run with our first tyre in FP2 but on the second tyre we had some problems so couldn’t push to the maximum. What’s good is that our time from the first tyre is good enough for the top ten, it’s a big improvement over last year where we had to push a lot just to achieve this – it shows the work the team has done over winter. Tomorrow will be a busy day of trying things, to be fast over one lap and also looking to be fast for the race.”

MotoGP 2022
Practice Round 1   Qatar

Qatar Grand Prix Friday Practice Results

Track Temp
Air Temp
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Rins Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1'53.432
2 Marquez Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.035
3 Mir Joan 36 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.147
4 Martin Jorge 89 SPA Pramac Racing Ducati 0.220
5 Morbidelli Franco 21 ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.413
6 Miller Jack 43 AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 0.438
7 Espargaro Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Aprilia 0.454
8 Quartararo Fabio 20 FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.474
9 Espargaro Pol 44 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.531
10 Bagnaia Francesco 62 ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 0.539
11 Bastianini Enea 23 ITA Team Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 0.581
12 Nakagami Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda Honda 0.606
13 Oliveira Miguel 88 POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.621
14 Dovizioso Andrea 4 ITA WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha 0.721
15 Binder Brad 33 RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.815
16 Marquez Alex 73 SPA LCR Honda Honda 1.043
17 Vinales Maverick 12 SPA Aprilia Racing Aprilia 1.092
18 Zarco Johann 5 FRA Pramac Racing Ducati 1.133
19 Fernandez Raul 25 SPA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia 1.452
20 Bezzecchi Marco 73 ITA Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 1.468
21 Gardner Remy 87 AUS Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1.497
22 Di Giannantonio Fabio 49 ITA Team Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 1.939
23 Marini Luca 10 ITA Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 2.343
24 Binder Darryn 40 RSA WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha 2.483
Location Information

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
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


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)