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Valencia MotoGP, Practice: Vinales tops crash-strewn session, wrong-footed Bagnaia 15th

Gold & Goose

Maverick Vinales took charge of proceedings on the first day of action for the season-ending Valencia MotoGP as drama aplenty unfolded elsewhere among his rivals during an incident-packed afternoon Practice.

The Aprilia Racing rider kept himself out of trouble in a session headlined by offs for multiple riders over the course of the hour and struggles for 2023 MotoGP title favourite Pecco Bagnaia after he failed to make the top ten cut for Q2.

In a staccato session punctuated by the deployment of several yellow flags - plus one red flag - due to various on-track incidents, Bagnaia couldn’t find his rhythm amid pressure from championship rival Jorge Martin during the closing stages, leaving him only 15th on the timesheets.


It means he will be forced to go again in Q1 to assure his passage into the pole-deciding Q2 session, unlike Martin who progressed smoothly with the second fastest time.

At the summit, however, it was Vinales, whose 1m 29.412s effort in the final ten minutes proved sufficient once Pol Espargaro’s late slip-off at Turn 3 triggered yellow flags that'd scupper a number of time attacks, Bagnaia’s included, coming in behind him.

In second, Martin reverted to some bolshy mind game tactics by shadowing Bagnaia very cosily in the final minutes, a strategy that paid dividends as he improved up the order while his distracted rival - who holds a 21-point lead going into the weekend’s two races - faltered.

FP1 pace setter Johann Zarco consolidated a strong start to the weekend for Pramac Ducati in third place, once again chased closely by Desmosedici counterpart Fabio di Giannantonio.

In fifth place, Marco Bezzecchi was the highest-placed of several riders to come down at some stage of the hour, the VR46 Ducati rider’s off occurring just five minutes into the session with an uncomfortable bounce through the gravel trap at Turn 9. 

It came just moments after Aleix Espargaro suffered a fast fall at Turn 1 before Augusto Fernandez and Alex Rins followed suit with their own issues within the first ten minutes.

It is Jack Miller, however, who will likely feel most beaten up tomorrow after suffering a huge high-side at Turn 3 with 15 minutes to go before following it up with another get off in the final minutes.

Despite this, Miller could still be counted among the ten riders that will progress to Q2 after bagging the ninth fastest time, together with KTM team-mate Brad Binder in sixth and Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez in seventh. Raul Fernandez and Aleix Espargaro filled the remaining slots to make it three Aprilia RS-GPs in Q2.

It means several high-profile names will find themselves battling against Bagnaia in Q1 for one of only two remaining Q2 spots, including factory Ducati counterpart Enea Bastianini, Alex Marquez - down the order after crashes in each Practice session - Fabio Quartararo and Qatar MotoGP pole sitter Luca Marini.


2023 Valencia MotoGP, Circuit Ricardo Tormo - Practice Results

Friday - Conditions: Dry, Sunny
2023 Valencia MotoGP - Circuit Ricardo Tormo - Practice Results - Round 20 of 20
Pos.NameNat.TeamMotorcycleLap Time
1Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 29.142
2Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 29.289
3Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 29.296
4Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 29.395
5Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 29.396
6Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 29.402
7Marc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 29.459
8Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 29.470
9Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 29.481
10Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 29.571
11Enea Bastianini🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 29.573
12Alex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 29.614
13Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 29.615
14Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 29.775
15Francesco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 29.801
16Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V1m 30.002
17Luca Marini🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 30.343
18Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 30.445
19Alex Rins🇪🇦LCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V1m 30.464
20Lorenzo Savadori🇮🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 30.795
21Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 30.940
22Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213VNo Time

CLICK HERE for full results from each Valencia MotoGP session

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