MotoGP Indian GP: Bezzecchi tops FP1 from Marc Marquez
Jorge Martin and Luca Marini traded the top spot in the timesheets for much of the extended 70-minute session at the Buddh International Circuit, each enjoying long stints at the front on their respective Ducatis.
Pramac rider Martin was the first among the two to break the 1m50s barrier as he set a lap time of 1m49.358s in the first 10 minutes of practice, with his VR46 rival Marini’s response falling 0.017s short of the Spaniard’s benchmark.
But Marini struck back next time around, improving by nearly two seconds to post a 1m47.880s flier as the laptimes continued to tumble at the 4.9km circuit.
The duopoly of Marini and Martin was ended by Aleix Espargaro 15 minutes into the session, the Aprilia rider improving to a 1m47.611s on a track that is expected to suit the Noale outfit.
Espargaro’s time remained unbeaten around halfway into practice, when the next big rounds of improvements were seen as riders laid fresh rubber onto the Tarmac and improved the overall grip.
The biggest gainer was Martin, who reinstated the status quo with a blistering time of 1m46.817s after dropping as far down as sixth in the order.
Marini managed to reduce the gap to Martin to just 0.023s when he returned to the track, before finding more pace in the final 20 minutes, improving to a 1m46.516s to claim the top spot again.
However, there would be a major shuffling of order at the death end of the session, which would push Marini down to seventh in the final order – not helped by a lap deletion that left him with a 1m46.610s as his best effort.
Ending the day on top would be Bezzecchi, who was the only rider to dip into the 1m45s bracket after a blistering lap in the final five minutes of practice.
Bezzecchi’s final effort of 1m45.990s left him just over a tenth clear of Marc Marquez, who likewise made a late improvement – to a 1m46.129s – to end up a surprise second in the final order.
Brad Binder ended the session third on the factory KTM despite being the first rider to suffer a crash in the session, the South African going deep into Turn 1 and falling off his bike as he ran over the gravel run-off.
Fourth-fastest was RNF rider Raul Fernandez with a time of 1m46.371s, with Aleix Espargaro ending up just over a tenth behind on the factory Aprilia in fifth.
Johann Zarco managed to leap to sixth with a late 1m46.576s flier, just ahead of Marini and the sister Pramac bike of Martin.
Fabio di Giannantonio was ninth on the Gresini Ducati, while Joan Mir rounded out a strong day for the factory Honda team in 10th.
While five Ducati bikes finished inside the top 10, Francesco Bagnaia could only muster 15th on the factory-entered GP23 in what was a low-key session for the Italian. His time of 1m47.050s left him just over a second off the pace of title rival Bezzecchi.
Yamaha had a tough start to the Indian GP weekend, with Fabio Quartararo stopping twice on track due to mechanical issues.
With just 10 laps on board, he was classified 19th in the session, two spots ahead of team-mate Franco Morbidelli. Although mechanical troubles ended Quartararo’s session early, he was able to return to the track to perform some practice starts.
However, both Quartararo and Morbidelli were able to try some practice starts following the end of the session.
A number of incidents were noted in FP1 in the opening right-hander, with LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami’s crash the biggest of all as his Honda slid into the gravel at high speed. Nakagami was reportedly okay after the fall.
Tech3’s Pol Espargaro went down in the final five minutes of practice, although he lost control of his KTM into The Turn 4 right-hander that follows the kilometre-long back straight.