Free Practice 2
MotoGP 2024
Round 1

Even in the desert it rains – Repsol Honda Team contend with the weather in Lusail

qa Lusail International Circuit

Surprises were immediate as MotoGP made its long-awaited return, evening rain causing changes to the structure of Friday and Saturday.

Even in the desert it rains – Repsol Honda Team contend with the weather in Lusail

Positive first impressions remained for the Repsol Honda Team as Joan Mir took 16th and Luca Marini earned 17th overall.

As the sun was still sitting high in the sky, Joan Mir headed out for his first laps of the 2024 season just after 15:45 Local Time. Setting a best time of 1’53.435, the #36 ended the first session 0.811s off the fastest time and with more planned.

Entering the weekend with realistic expectations, Luca Marini was left pleasantly surprised by his start to the Grand Prix. Ending only 0.173s behind his teammate, the #10 continuing to find areas to work on and improve as he adapts to his new bike.

Having completed a successful and fruitful first session, there were last minute changes as a rare bout of rain arrived at the Lusail International Circuit, soaking the 5.38 kilometre long track. Due to the unique circumstances of wet running at night, the decision was made to move Free Practice 2 to Friday evening – meaning the second session did not count towards participation in Q1 and Q2.

In turn, this allowed the riders to learn the circuit freely in the wet. Mir ended 11th thanks to a best time of 2’08.327 with Marini eight tenths behind in 16th.

Practice will be held at 13:40 Local Time on Saturday morning to decide the Q1 and Q2 divide. Saturday will continue to be a day brimming with action throughout 2024 as the field fights for pole before heading into the always exciting Sprint Race. The Qatar GP edition will run over 11 laps after starting at 19:00 Local Time.

Joan Mir
Joan Mir 36
Repsol Honda Team
It was a pretty unexpected start to the season; in MotoGP anything really can happen! Today is what it was, with the second session being wet there was only so much we could do. In the rain here, the spray with the dust and the sand makes it very difficult to see but it was interesting to ride here in the wet for the first time. Let’s see what the weather will do for the next few days. We need to make the most of what will be a busy day tomorrow, doing the time attack and then straight into Qualifying. From the test we have a bit of an idea of what to expect, so let’s do our best.

Luca Marini
Luca Marini 10
Repsol Honda Team
Today feels like a positive day, the gap felt lower than at the test and while the position has not improved it’s okay because we are focusing on improving the bike. Tomorrow morning, we will see the potential of the soft rear because we did not get to work on it too much and it’s something I think we need to improve with. It will be very intense all day tomorrow because all of the riders are so close, everyone is within a second. We found something today and I think that there is even more to come, it’s a good day when you close the gap during practice.

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