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Spanish GP: Quartararo quells Ducati challenge to take Day 1 honours at Jerez, Marquez crashes twice

Fabio Quartararo

Bengaluru, April 30: Yamaha's defending world champion Fabio Quartararo is the rider to beat so far at the Spanish GP as the 2022 FIM MotoGP World Championship leader pulled two tenths clear to hold off the hard-charging Ducati trio of Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP), Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing).

The Frenchman found a late 1:37.071 in FP2 to sit top of the pile despite a crash earlier in the day.

Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez had a day to forget as he is down 19th after two crashes. But he is not the only front-runner in trouble. Podium finisher last time out, Pramac Racing's Johann Zarco, sits 11th.

Despite being fastest in FP1 on Friday (April 29) morning, Team Suzuki Ecstar's Joan Mir slipped back to 12th. The man third in the title standings, Aprilia Racing's Aleix Espargaro, is a further spot back in 13th.

That leaves the likes of Marquez, Aleix Espargaro and Mir looking for more on Saturday (April 30) morning, with FP3 underway at 9:55am local time (1.25pm IST).

THE TOP 10

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) - 1:37.071
2. Enea Bastianini (Gresinin Racing MotoGP) + 0.201
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.212
4. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.297
5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.510
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.514
7. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.519
8. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.655
9. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.688
10. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.691

Quartararo on top

Quartararo on top

Earlier, there was some headline stealing from Quartararo in a different way to start the day. The Frenchman was sitting pretty at the top of the timesheets before a wet patch caught him out at the final corner, and the crash left him wincing as the rear wheel of his Yamaha flicked him in the groin.

There were two further moments as well: The first came under braking at Turn 9, before he was then forced to straight line it through the gravel trap at Turn 5. Despite all of that, the number 20 took the opening day honours.

Marquez struggles

Marquez struggles

Marc Marquez had a session to remember for all the wrong reasons as he is languishing 19th after a day of full drama. First up, he had a hairy moment with Repsl Honda team-mate Pol Espargaro and rookie Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing), with the Australian less than pleased with the Spaniard's antics. He would later get a wagging finger off of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Team) as well, all after crashing out twice.

His first off was a gentle one at Turn 6, before quickly picking up the bike and rejoining. While cruising back to the pitlane, the six-time MotoGP world champion was cruising off of the racing line at Turn 9 and touched a damp patch. Down went the Spaniard again but, fortunately for him, former team-mate and now KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa was on hand for a taxi back.

Bologna bullets

Bologna bullets

Looking at the opening day of action, it is the Bologna factory who may well be Quartararo's closest challengers to the Jerez throne after Bastianini, Bagnaia and Martin all impressed.

Bastianini jumped ahead of his factory counterpart with the chequered flag out to take second spot after Bagnaia had earlier lead the session. The number 63 appeared to be back to his brilliant best as he threw in a handful of fast laps, with his best placing him third overall and a quarter of a second adrift of his 2021 title rival.

Qualifiers await

Qualifiers await

Martin was just under three tenths away in fourth, with Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) making sure there are four Desmosedicis in the top ten after stealing tenth.

So, it is time to decide the grid for another stunning Spanish GP on Saturday. Make sure to tune in for qualifying from 2.10pm local time (5.40pm IST). Indian audience can catch all the action live on Eurosport channel.

(By a special arrangement with Dorna Sports)

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Story first published: Saturday, April 30, 2022, 10:45 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 30, 2022