Francesco Bagnaia notched up the eighth quickest time on the opening day of free practice for the Grand Prix of Qatar, the penultimate round of the 2023 MotoGP season held this weekend at the Lusail International Circuit.
After Pecco concluded FP1 on the dusty track in third place, the Ducati Lenovo Team rider ended the day in P8 thanks to a fastest lap in 1:53.202, thus securing a spot directly into Q2 for tomorrow.
On the other side of the garage, last Sunday's GP winner at Sepang Enea Bastianini will have to go through Q1 tomorrow as his best time attack was cancelled due to the yellow flags in the final minutes of the session.
Francesco Bagnaia (#1 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 8° (1:53.202)
"I am satisfied with today because being in the top 10 is always the objective and I feel great with my bike. For tomorrow we must still understand something for the front tyre because it looks like the critical side of this weekend. But I think the tarmac grip will improve a lot and it will be better for sure. It was quite difficult to work today because of the track condition, but honestly, I felt great from when I started, we managed to be competitive also with used tyres this morning and this afternoon also I tried different tyres, and the bike was working every time very well. We have the potential to fight for the pole position, but it will be very important to start from the front row."
Enea Bastianini (#23 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 18th (1:53.937)
"I'm angry because I lost a good lap time with the yellow flag. With the soft tyre, you can do one lap maximum or two, but on my first lap I had the yellow and on the second Jack crashed in front of me, and I released the throttle. I tried a third lap, but the bike was spinning a lot. The feeling is not like in Malaysia, but also the other Ducati riders had some issues today. My lap time was good enough to enter Q2, but we were unlucky today. Tomorrow we will have to adapt again to the track, but I am sure it will be better."
The Ducati Lenovo Team will be out on track again at the Lusail International Circuit on Saturday afternoon for the second free practice session at 15.00 local time (13.00 CEST), while Q1 and Q2 follow shortly after at 15.40 (13.40). The 11-lap Sprint race is scheduled for a 20.00 start (18.00 CEST).