The Spanish rider finishes best on a first day of training among the contenders for the title
Atypical Friday in the MotoGP World Championship, with only one practice per category when the normal course of business on a first Grand Prix day is two free sessions. The reason is the long and expensive transport of the entire paddock by plane between Aragon and Japan. The current situation, marked by the war in Ukraine, does not make us take any risks with logistics. Last April, MotoGP had to cancel an entire day on Friday due to delays in cargo flights carrying all equipment between Indonesia and Argentina. So on this occasion the organization was sound and Friday morning training was canceled immediately in case there were any delays, something that fortunately did not happen and everything arrived in the Motegi paddock on time.
The MotoGP riders received half an hour more compensation in the only free practice, which was also crucial for the weekend. And it is that, taking into account the weather forecast, which gives rain this Saturday and sun on Sunday, we had to work on one side on this Friday to get the bike ready with the race in mind; and on the other hand to set a fast time thinking about direct access to Q2 on Saturday. All the action was concentrated in the closing minutes of the session, as the drivers set out on new soft tires to find the time that would put them in the top ten and free them from the Q1 play-offs.
Equality was the tone of this afternoon session at Motegi, with the top ten being less than three tenths apart. Australian Jack Miller led the standings, in another session winning a Ducati, and the trio of title contenders (Fabio Quartararo, Pecco Bagnaia and Aleix Espargaró), followed by a narrow 40-thousandths margin between the three. For everyone, the goal of the day was achieved. A virtual position in Q2, without crashes and without taking unnecessary risks.
Marc Márquez completed his best session since returning to Aragon last weekend. But as he expected, his arm suffered on the most physical track of the season. “I noticed something in the shoulder. Nothing unusual, but the inconveniences are more and you need to know how to stop them before they appear ». This was justified after he postponed his appearance with the media because he had to put ice on his shoulder and arm. If the rain forecast for Saturday comes out, the weather will work in your favor as a MotoGP on wet asphalt is much less demanding. But completing a race on Sunday remains a leap of faith for him, as he has never completed so many laps on a bike since his return. The most positive is that in Motegi he has the speed and is at the level of the best. He finished sixth on the day, a tenth of Miller’s time. And he recognized that he had taken to the track aggressively to make time as quickly as possible.
The Hondas resurfaced on their home track (Motegi is owned by the Gold Wing brand). His teammate, Pol Espargaró, finished seventh. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen so many alternatives up front, as the Ducati had grown accustomed to dominating iron fist practice sessions. This time, only three Ducati made it to the top ten, which included the championship leader’s Honda, Aprilia, KTM and Yamaha. Only Álex Rins’ Suzuki, 13th, failed to make a full list of manufacturers in the ‘top 10’.
The small categories only had 40 minutes of training and there were some voices complaining that, with the rain on Saturday, they wouldn’t have material time to get the saddles ready for Sunday. The fastest in Moto2 was leader Augusto Fernández, Pedro Acosta was third and Ai Ogura (second in the championship) finished fourth. In Moto3, the best time of the day was set by Brazilian Diogo Moreira, with leader Izan Guevara taking a solid seventh place, while Sergio García has been in trouble since Friday finishing 17th and 1.5m in Q1 on Saturday. .
Source: La Verdad