Doha MotoGP: Jack Miller leads Ducati 1-2-3 in FP2

Jack Miller monstered the field in FP2 for the MotoGP Doha Grand Prix to lead a Ducati 1-2-3 as world champion Joan Mir faces Q1 again after finishing 13th.

Doha MotoGP: Jack Miller leads Ducati 1-2-3 in FP2

Having unsealed a third engine from his allocation for the season following issues in FP1, Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbidelli set the benchmark lap at the start of the evening session with a 1m55.750s.

This would be beaten by Qatar GP poleman Francesco Bagnaia with a 1m55.407s on the factory Ducati, before championship leader Maverick Vinales edged ahead with a 1m55.180s. The Yamaha rider would be pipped by Bagnaia’s follow-up tour, the Italian setting a 1m54.074s that would go untouched for the next 20 minutes.

With just under 15 minutes remaining, Pramac rookie Jorge Martin finally knocked his Ducati stablemate off top spot – but only for a few seconds, as Suzuki’s Alex Rins went sub 1m54s for the first time on Friday with a 1m53.969s. By this stage the session had turned into a dummy qualifying session as FP2 times will almost certainly be critical to deciding who goes straight into Q2 on Saturday.

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo edged ahead of Rins with a 1m53.926s moments later – though not without a shake of the head coming onto the main straight.

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FP1 pacesetter Aleix Espargaro was the next to fire in a session-topper, the Aprilia rider guiding his RS-GP to a hugely encouraging 1m53.646s. With just under eight minutes to go Miller was set to dethrone Espargaro, but was lucky to stay mounted after his Ducati almost threw him at the scenery in Turn 14.

But the Australian regrouped in emphatic fashion when he returned to the circuit to fire in a 1m53.145s to end FP2 fastest.

Factory Ducati team-mate Bagnaia leaped up to second right at the end, 0.313 seconds off the pace, while Johann Zarco completed the top three on his Pramac GP21. Quartararo ended up as top Yamaha rider in fourth ahead of Pramac’s Martin, while Espargaro was shuffled back to sixth at the chequered flag.

Morbidelli has bagged himself a provisional Q2 place in seventh ahead of Suzuki’s Rins, Vinales and Stefan Bradl – currently the only Honda rider in Q2. His LCR counterparts Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Marquez both suffered late crashes and were left out of Q2 in 15th and 16th behind SRT’s Valentino Rossi and Mir on the Suzuki.

Mir failed to make it directly into Q2 last weekend and is once again set to face the first part of qualifying with lap time improvements unlikely in the hotter conditions of FP3 on Saturday afternoon.

Pol Espargaro was only 17th on his factory Honda ahead of KTM’s Brad Binder, the South African just under three tenths off team-mate Miguel Oliveira in 11th as the highest ranked KTM rider on Friday.

Cla Rider Bike Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 15 1'53.145    
2 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 15 1'53.458 0.313 0.313
3 France Johann Zarco Ducati 17 1'53.537 0.392 0.079
4 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 16 1'53.583 0.438 0.046
5 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 17 1'53.593 0.448 0.010
6 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 11 1'53.646 0.501 0.053
7 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 15 1'53.699 0.554 0.053
8 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 17 1'53.713 0.568 0.014
9 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 18 1'53.872 0.727 0.159
10 Germany Stefan Bradl Honda 18 1'53.914 0.769 0.042
11 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 17 1'53.944 0.799 0.030
12 Italy Danilo Petrucci KTM 16 1'53.969 0.824 0.025
13 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 17 1'54.012 0.867 0.043
14 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha 18 1'54.112 0.967 0.100
15 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 13 1'54.127 0.982 0.015
16 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 16 1'54.148 1.003 0.021
17 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 15 1'54.205 1.060 0.057
18 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 15 1'54.237 1.092 0.032
19 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 16 1'54.516 1.371 0.279
20 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 17 1'54.680 1.535 0.164
21 Italy Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 17 1'54.971 1.826 0.291
22 Spain Iker Lecuona KTM 15 1'55.369 2.224 0.398
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Series MotoGP
Event Doha GP
Sub-event FP2
Author Lewis Duncan
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