Aleix Espargaro, top MotoGP CRT class rider in 2013, set the fastest lap time in first practice for this weekend’s season-opening Qatar MotoGP race.
The young Spaniard looked in imperious form as he set a 1:55:201 lap on board his Yamaha to go almost half a second clear of 2nd placed Alvaro Bautista, with Britain’s Bradley Smith in 3rd. Espargaro’s younger brother and MotoGP debutant Pol was 6th for Yamaha Tech 3, with Andrea Iannone keeping the two Tech-3 bikes apart in 5th. Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi represented the first of the factory bikes, down in 6th and 7th places while Marc Marcquez and Jorge Lorenzo struggled to 11th and 9th places respectively; Marquez was heavily drugged with painkillers to numb the discomfort caused by his broken leg, but managed to complete nearly a full race distance over the course of the session.
Yonny Hernandez crashed early doors and was sent to the medical centre for an x-ray to his shoulder, but thankfully has escaped serious injury. New Ducati signing Cal Crutchlow ended up 13th, just ahead of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, while Scott Redding was 19th for Go&Fun Honda Gresini. Michael Laverty failed to set a time and was classified in last position.
CLASSIFICATION – PRACTICE ONE – QATAR GP 2014