MotoGP 2023
Round 19

Marquez Heads Straight to Q2 as Yellow Flags Cut Lap Times

qa Lusail International Circuit

The opening night in Qatar saw Marc Marquez time his flying laps perfectly to end in tenth despite yellow flags, Joan Mir finding good data to improve on Saturday.

Marquez Heads Straight to Q2 as Yellow Flags Cut Lap Times

Floodlights were all switched back on as the MotoGP World Championship returned to Lusail, starting the penultimate weekend of the year. As is often the case at the Qatar GP, the first part of the ‘day’ saw riders go steadily faster as the condition of the track improved with more running. Yellow flags at the end of the night would see last-minute changes to the overall top ten.

Starting the day right down the order, Marc Marquez was sure of his strategy on Friday as he saved himself and his tyres in Free Practice 1. Improving instantly in the second session, Marquez would have his fastest lap of the day cancelled due to yellow flags, fortunately his previous lap time of 1’53.323 was good enough to remain in the top ten. With this, it was mission accomplished from Friday as the #93 has now guaranteed a spot on the front four rows of the grid – avoiding a repeat of last weekend’s qualifying result. Keeping this position will be Saturday’s mission.

Joan Mir spent the ‘morning’ session working to understand the new surface around the 5.38-kilometre long Lusail International Circuit. With the track surface still dirty from overnight storms, times were not completely representative of each riders’ potential. Able to improve in line with the rest of the field in the evening, Mir was left searching for more feeling from the tyres of his first run. Yellow flags during his last stint on track saw him set a best time of 1’53.921 and ended 17th.

Action resumes tomorrow at 15:00 Local Time with Free Practice 2, a final day set of laps under daylight.

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez 93
Repsol Honda Team
It was a better day than we were expecting when we arrived here. To be inside the top ten and into Q2 straight away is really good news for us in the garage. I was able to find a good lap time behind Pecco because that’s how we have to do it. Tomorrow we will try to keep this position and understand how the track evolves before and during the Sprint. We need to look at what the best tyre will be for the time attack and keep adapting as the track changes. For the moment we can be content with what we have done.

Joan Mir
Joan Mir 36
Repsol Honda Team
A bit of a difficult day for us because the conditions from the morning to the night changed a lot, not just the temperature but also the track. We struggled in the morning and then in the evening the feeling with the first tyre wasn’t so good. This meant I had to go with a lap time from the medium which doesn’t have the same speed as the soft, which was probably a low 53 in the last minutes of the session. We have good information for tomorrow so we can start from a better base.

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