A very fiery MotoGP Indian Grand Prix is expected and not only due to the high temperatures of the Buddh International Circuit. The Ducatis dominated qualifying, monopolizing the first four positions, but above all they allowed the top three in the world championship standings to occupy the front row as a group, but in reverse order.
In fact, Marco Bezzecchi took the pole position and set the new Indian track record with the Desmosedici GP22 of Mooney VR46, becoming the first to break the 1’44” barrier with a 1’43” 947. A result that he wanted to dedicate to Filippo Mometto, a friend with whom he started on minibikes, who unfortunately passed away a few days ago.
At the end, Jorge Martin tried to respond, after a fall in FP2 he got back on his Prima Pramac Racing GP23 with great determination, but in the end he stopped just 43 thousandths behind the Rimini driver, but also managed to get below the 1’44”, albeit by just 10 thousandths.
After the difficulties encountered yesterday, Pecco Bagnaia took a step forward, managing to place his official Ducati in third position, even if his delay was 256 thousandths behind Bezzecchi. Among other things, the world leader was unable to make one last attempt, finishing wide at turn 1 after setting his 1’44″203. The battle between the three title contenders, however, seems truly wide open.
The Ducati block is then completed with Luca Marini, who in turn came really close to grabbing the front row, paying just 12 thousandths of a second against the reigning world champion. The surprise of this qualifying, however, is undoubtedly the two official Hondas, because they both managed to place themselves on the second row, with Joan Mir ahead of Marc Marquez.
For the Majorcan, this is the best result in qualifying aboard the RC213V, but it must be said that it was achieved by taking advantage of the “hook” offered by Bagnaia’s Ducati. The same goes for #93, who in turn was part of the train, and was good at making up for a fall that occurred at turn 3 in the first minutes of the session, from which he however got up without major problems .
Continuing to scroll through the rankings, there is another Ducati to open the third row and it is that of Johann Zarco, with the Frenchman from Prima Pramac Racing who placed himself behind the Yamaha of his compatriot Fabio Quartararo in a qualifying that in a certain sense marks the redemption of the Japanese manufacturers, who are the only ones to have managed to place their bikes among the Reds.
After a good Friday, the Aprilias have lost their edge a bit and the best on the RS-GP grid will be that of Maverick Vinales in ninth position, with the rider from Roses who will be followed closely by his brand mates Aleix Espargaro and Raul Fernandez , very good at earning Q2 with the best time in Q1.
The outcome of Q1 was effectively decided by Alex Marquez’s crash at turn 5, which generated a yellow flag that crystallized the standings with about a minute and a half to spare. The Spaniard had passed the cut, but then never took to the track again because he took a bad blow to the chest, the kind that takes your breath away, and unfortunately he was diagnosed with fractured two ribs. In the end, the first of those excluded was his teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio, who was beaten by just 10 thousandths and who will line up his Ducati in 13th position.
It was therefore a qualifying to forget for the KTMs, as none of the RC16s were able to take part in Q2. Brad Binder was the one who probably paid the most for the yellow flag, because he saw a time that would have allowed him to pass the cut canceled and instead found himself in 14th position, while his teammate Jack Miller was 16th, also behind Takaaki Nakagami’s Honda LCR.
Unfortunately, the list of excluded players also includes Franco Morbidelli, who actually finds himself in 17th position with his Yamaha. A rather disappointing result if you compare it with his teammate’s performance. A statement that also applies to Miguel Oliveira, 19th, who this time took a sound lesson from Raul Fernandez’s twin Aprilia RNF.
Qualification below expectations also for Michele Pirro, replacing the injured Enea Bastianini on the official Ducati, who will close the group in 22nd position. The Apulian also lost the test riders’ challenge with Honda rival Stefan Bradl, who precedes him in 21st place astride the Honda LCR of the absent Alex Rins.