MotoGP Qatar Tests End with Bagnaia Setting the Tone

February 20, 2024Ray Milton

Day 2 of the Qatar Test was a day for Ducati domination. At the top of the timing sheet was Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo) who cut 2 seconds off of his fastest lap on day 1 of testing at Lusail. Ducati Lenovo set the tone with both riders Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini finishing 1-2 at the top of the table. Following a successful day 1 Aleix Espargaro again finished third fastest. Bagnaia put down a 1:50.952 lap time, marking him the first rider ever to reach first sub-1:51 lap times on two wheels at Lusail.

Jorge Martin Falls Behind

Last season’s championship contender Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) finished P7 on the day. He had the following words after the final testing session. “In these two days I felt very good with the bike. Today (Tuesday) we had a small problem, we will study the data to understand what happened and look for a solution. I’m very focused on the start of this season.”

Marc Marquez also had a strong day after a disappointing day 1 of testing. He had the following comments, “I felt more comfortable with the bike straight away here, I managed to start using the body more and that’s already an improvement. Instincts are still set on another type of motorcycle, but we’re working on that department and changing my riding style. We did well in the time attack, even though it’s still most difficult area for me. We’re improved our pace on the longer run, we tried many things and push towards the limit – while also finding the first crash (turn four). Are we happy? Yes, even though we’re still far from Bagnaia, Bastianini and Martin.”

The KTMs looked strong, but their day 2 was cut short briefly due to brad Binder having a technical issues and Jack Miller crashing. Despite the adversity Binder and Miller both ducked under the official competition lap record. Miller was able to rejoin the session before the day ended.

Honda Riders Fight Through Illness to Finish the Qatar Test

Joan Mir and Luca Marini both suffered from illness over the two day test in Qatar. It was obvious the rides were not at 100%. However both saw improvements over their day one times and they are optimistic they will climb the pecking order come round 1. The pair had the following words.

Joan Mir

“Today I woke up feeling very tired and in general not feeling great. After the first exit I was feeling really unwell and had to stop to try and recover some strength. I was able to rest and go back out on track but my condition was not 100% so we could only do a few things. Then on the last exit I had a fast crash which meant we couldn’t do the practice starts, so it was quite a complicated day. It would have been good to have this final day at our best, but we have been able to make good progress over the course of these tests. Now we turn our attention to the race and trying to take the maximum result from it.”

Luca Marini

“This test has allowed us to understand many things and we were able to try everything that was on the list for us and for HRC. We made a big change on the bike today which lost us some time in the first hour. Even like this, we have been able to get a lot of data and we can prepare well for the GP. Each day I have been able to improve my feeling with the bike but we still need to do a bit of work to improve our performance over one lap.”

The next opportunity for racing will be the season opener at Round 1 at the Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar March 8th.