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Qatar GP: It’s Suzuki leading Honda as Alex Rins edges out Marc Marquez with MotoGP returning in fine style

Alex Rins

Bengaluru, March 5: Alex Rins of Team Suzuki Ecstar topped the timesheets on the first day of 2022 as FIM MotoGP World Championship returned to blistering action under the lights at the Losail International Circuit for the Grand Prix of Qatar.

Rins' Suzuki team-mate and 2020 FIM MotoGP World Championship winner Joan Mir ended up third.

Splitting the Hamamatsu assault on the top was six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as the number 93 missed out on the top spot by just 0.035sec.

Qatar GP: MotoGP riders get set for 2022 revving into lifeQatar GP: MotoGP riders get set for 2022 revving into life

See who can hit back on Saturday (March 5) with FP3 starting at 1.15 pm local time (3.45pm IST), before qualifying for the first race of the season kicks off at 6pm local time (8.45pm IST).

Indian audience can catch all the action live on Eurosport channel.

Top 10 combined:

1. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) - 1:53.432
2. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.035
3. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.147
4. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.220
5. Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.413
6. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.438
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.454
8. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.474
9. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.531
10. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.539

Quiet day for Ducati

Quiet day for Ducati

For the most part, it had been a quiet day for the Ducatis, but Jorge Martin took away a P4 from Friday's (March 4) running, the 2021 Rookie of the Year sits ahead of fastest Yamaha Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) - a late time saw the Italian leap up the timesheets.

Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) is sixth ahead of qualifying day in the desert, as Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) grabbed P7 despite getting in a bit of a tangle with team-mate Maverick Vinales on his final flying effort.

Small gap

Small gap

Reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) is four tenths off the pace in P8, just ahead of Pol Espargaro in ninth and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) in tenth - the Italian sneaking into the top 10 after a crash at Turn 6 in FP1.

Just 0.8sec splits the top 15 down to FP1 pacesetter Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), as the riders outside the top 10 now face an uphill battle to try and earn an automatic Q2 place in the warmer, day time conditions in the desert venue.

Floodlights beaming

Floodlights beaming

With the Losail International Circuit floodlights beaming, the premier class got straight to work and the lap times fell.

Marquez sat top before Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) took over as the riders got some valuable laps under their belts at the same time (6pm local time, 8.30pm IST), the race is going to be at on Sunday (March 6).

Rins the man to beat

Rins the man to beat

Again, though, Rins ensured Marquez did not spend long at the top, and that is how it ended under lights at Losail on Day 1. The Spaniard set a 1:53.432 in FP2 to lead Marquez by 0.035sec, as Mir completed the top three.

Rins is the rider to beat heading into Day 2 under the Losail lights from Marquez and Mir. Bring it on!

(By a special arrangement with Dorna Sports)

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Story first published: Saturday, March 5, 2022, 9:36 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 5, 2022