Doha, Apr 4 (FN Agency) A late charge from Repsol Honda Team’s Stefan Bradl helped secure a provisional Q2 spot on the opening day of the Doha GP, while Pol Espargaro had a tough first day. It was another warm start on Saturday in Qatar as the sun raged throughout the morning and early afternoon, the ambient temperature an oppressive 37°C with the track reaching 47°C during Free Practice 1. Fortunately, temperatures would drop for the crucial Free Practice 2 session, with Free Practice 3 set to be held in similarly hot conditions on Saturday, the second practice of the day looks set to decide Q1 and Q2 participants.
It was a steady start for Pol Espargaro at the Losail International Circuit on Friday as he began his second Grand Prix with the Repsol Honda Team. Ending FP1 in 12th provided Espargaro and his side of the garage with a solid base to build from. Free Practice 2 was a hectic affair as anticipated, riders immediately pushing for a quick lap to earn a place in Q2. As always, the times were incredibly close with less than half a second splitting the top five. Espargaro’s 1’54.205 saw him miss the top ten by less than three tenths. Disappointed, Espargaro is determined got fight back and deliver fully on his potential. Stefan Bradl powered through the hot morning conditions to secure a spot in the top ten during FP1. 0.6s faster than FP1 last week, Bradl and the Repsol Honda Team continued to improve his feeling on the RC213V with more bike time.
Finding seventh tenths of a second over FP2 last week, Bradl blazed a path into the top ten with a lap late in the second session. The German’s 1’53.914 saw him edge out the likes of Oliveira and Mir to seal the final place in the top ten. Should Bradl maintain this top-ten position, Bradl will enter Q2 directly for the first time since Portimao in 2020. Riders will be back on track for Free Practice 3 on Saturday – a final chance to enter the combined top ten should conditions cooperate. Qualifying will then start later in the day at 2000 hrs local time as the MotoGP field battles for grid position.