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Japanese MotoGP, Motegi FP1 | First blood to Jorge Martin from Augusto Fernandez

Gold & Goose
Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing, Ducati GP23, 2023 MotoGP, Japanese MotoGP, Motegi, action [Gold & Goose]

Jorge Martin drew first blood in the reignited 2023 MotoGP World Championship title fight by claiming the top spot in first free practice for the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi.

The Spaniard, who arrives in Japan with renewed vigour after a win and a second place at last weekend’s Indian MotoGP - coupled with a fall for Pecco Bagnaia - puts him just 13 points behind the overall lead, was the rider to beat for much of the morning.

The Pramac Ducati rider posted a series of quick laps over the course of the session, peaking with a table topping 1m 45.192secs to get the better of Augusto Fernandez, the GasGas Tech3 rookie impressing just over +0.15secs adrift of his countryman.


The only VR46 Ducati on the grid following the withdrawal of injured team-mate Luca Marini, Marco Bezzecchi got his weekend off to a strong start with third quickest, while embattled series leader Pecco Bagnaia was in the mix too in fourth.

Despite a fall at Turn 18 early in the session, Joan Mir continued his uptick in form on the Repsol Honda to complete the top five, ahead of Brad Binder, who gave KTM’s new carbon fibre chassis a positive first outing in sixth place.

Maverick Vinales led the Aprilia challenge in seventh, ahead of Jack Miller on the second of the KTMs, while Fabio Quartararo was the lead Yamaha on the manufacturer’s home soil in ninth and Raul Fernandez completed the top ten on the RNF Aprilia.

In a depleted field after Alex Marquez was also forced to join Marini on the injury sidelines following his crash in Buddh, Cal Crutchlow made his first appearance of 2023 as a wild-card for Yamaha.

On the special YAMALUBE RS4GP Yamaha M1, which runs a 2023-spec engine but features larger wings and a long exhaust as part of the Japanese firm’s 2024 evolutions, Crutchlow turned in the 19th fastest time, +1.2secs down on the top spot.

Finally, Alex Rins made a welcome return to action after a seven-event lay-off, though he brought up the rear on the LCR Honda in 21st and last.

2023 Japanese MotoGP | Twin Ring Motegi, Japan | Free Practice 1 Results | Round 14 of 20
Pos.NameNat.TeamBikeLap Time
1Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 45.192
2Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 45.330
3Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 45.510
4Pecco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 45.631
5Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 45.685
6Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 45.747
7Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 45.819
8Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 45.902
9Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 45.952
10Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 45.966
11Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 46.018
12Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 46.027
13Marc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 46.033
14Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 46.160
15Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 46.181
16Miguel Oliveira🇵🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 46.198
17Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 46.229
19Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V1m 46.302
19Cal Crutchlow🇬🇧YAMALUBE RS4GPYamaha M11m 46.334
20Michele Pirro🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 47.132
21Alex Rins🇪🇦LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V1m 47.587

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