MotoGP Qatar Free Practice 1 Results

Aleix Espargaro tops field in first practice of 2014 MotoGP season

Aleix Espargaro wheelies, Qatar MotoGP test, March 2014Photo by Gold & Goose

The season-opening night practice at the Losail circuit provided a number of surprises, the biggest being NGM Forward Racing's Aleix Espargaro—on what is supposed to be one of the "slower" Open class bikes (although the Forward Racing Yamaha is basically a factory M1 with just the spec software)—topping the leaderboard over GO&FUN Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista and Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Bradley Smith, both riding Factory satellite machines. Where were the main Factory class riders who are expected to be battling for the championship? Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa was the first of the "alien" quartet in 6th spot, followed by Movistar Yamaha Racing's Valentino Rossi in 7th. A very unhappy Jorge Lorenzo on the second Movistar Yamaha was languishing in 9th, while reigning World Champion Marc Marquez—still recovering from a broken leg suffered in training several weeks ago—sits in 11th.

It’s likely that the main reason for the poor showing by the Factory quartet was a combination of factors. First, the factory teams of Repsol Honda, Movistar Yamaha, and Ducati weren’t present at the pre-season test held at Losail a little over a week ago, giving the non-factory teams a major advantage in setup. Also, even though the Moto3 and Moto2 classes had run prior, there was still a lot of dust and sand on the track surface, so it’s likely that Pedrosa, Rossi, Lorenzo, and Marquez weren’t pushing very hard. The session was also red-flagged midway through its 50-minute length to clean up gravel and dust thrown onto the track from a crash by Yonny Hernandez.

Next MotoGP FP2 practice session begins tomorrow at 8:00am PST.

Pos. Rider Country Team Machine Time
1 Aleix Espargaro SPA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 1:55.201
2 Alvaro Bautista SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 1:55.667
3 Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1:55.816
4 Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 1:55.996
5 Pol Espargaro SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1:56.020
6 Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:56.332
7 Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:56.542
8 Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 1:56.626
9 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:56.668
10 Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar Honda 1:56.670
11 Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1:56.682
12 Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 1:56.726
13 Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team Ducati 1:57.046
14 Andrea Dovisioso ITA Ducati Team Ducati 1:57.100
15 Yonny Hernandez COL Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 1:57.623
16 Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Honda 1:57.779
17 Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar Honda 1:58.182
18 Hector Barbera SPA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki 1:58.394
19 Scott Redding GBR GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 1:58.495
20 Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki 1:58.732
21 Danilo Petrucci ITA IodaRacing Project Ioda/Aprilia 1:59.321
22 Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia 1:59.328
23 Michael Laverty IRL Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia no time