2018 Qatar MotoGP FP2 Result: The Ducati Takeover

In a more familiar sight, the night had truly set in by the time the premier class hit the playground one last time on Friday. Marc Marquez did his best to follow his brother’s example and take over the timesheets as soon as the green flag waved, bettering the afternoon’s fastest time by three tenths of a second. Times settled for the middle part of the session as teams were keen to work on pace in ambient conditions similar to race time. Andrea Dovizioso was the only rider making inroads into his main rival’s time and doing so on used tyres, until the final ten minutes saw some fresh rubber hit the track.

Alex Rins attacked Marquez’s position with the first 1:54 of the day while most contenders were still changing shoes and preparing for the battle for a top ten benchmark. The fight heated up in the final five minutes, Danilo Petrucci the first man to make his mark and put nearly half a second into the competition, only to be robbed by Dovizioso one lap later. Ducati’s lead Italian kept his name at the top of the timesheets as the checkered flag waved, with Petrucci a mere six thousandths of a second behind and Rins breaking the Ducati hegemony another tenth down.

Jorge Lorenzo started his evening by making very photogenic but ultimately worrying sparks on his Ducati before the Spaniard recovered to a top four position, four tenths behind his teammate. The tussle for the remaining top ten positions was an incredibly tight affair, Andrea Iannone adding another Suzuki to the top five, with the Hondas of Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow each separated by one tiny thousandth of a second. The same gap kept the top Yamaha of Valentino Rossi behind them in ninth position, less than half a second down from the leader.

Johann Zarco seemed to struggle to put together a fast lap until the very end of the session, when he put on his favoured soft tyres and salvaged a top ten position with a direct Q2 ticket in mind. No such luck for Maverick Viñales, whose factory Yamaha wasn’t even close to challenging, three tenths down on Zarco and over eight tenths slower than Dovizioso.


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time Gap 1st Prev.
1 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 1'54.361    
2 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 1'54.367 0.006 0.006
3 42 Alex RINS Suzuki 1'54.458 0.097 0.091
4 99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati 1'54.831 0.470 0.373
5 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki 1'54.841 0.480 0.010
6 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 1'54.850 0.489 0.009
7 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 1'54.851 0.490 0.001
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 1'54.852 0.491 0.001
9 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 1'54.853 0.492 0.001
10 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha 1'54.912 0.551 0.059
11 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 1'55.195 0.834 0.283
12 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 1'55.236 0.875 0.041
13 53 Tito RABAT Ducati 1'55.308 0.947 0.072
14 43 Jack MILLER Ducati 1'55.360 0.999 0.052
15 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 1'55.694 1.333 0.334
16 45 Scott REDDING Aprilia 1'55.718 1.357 0.024
17 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 1'55.919 1.558 0.201
18 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda 1'55.965 1.604 0.046
19 12 Thomas LUTHI Honda 1'56.242 1.881 0.277
20 38 Bradley SMITH KTM 1'56.260 1.899 0.018
21 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 1'56.394 2.033 0.134
22 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha 1'56.454 2.093 0.060
23 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati 1'56.990 2.629 0.536
24 10 Xavier SIMEON Ducati 1'57.765 3.404 0.775
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Free practice two was awesome. Rins & Crazy Jo both quicker than Marquez, I didn't see that coming.

Marquez, Pedrosa, Cructhlow, almost the same time. Must be close to the perfect lap on the factory Honda.

Maverick outside the top ten? dear oh dear.

Jack Miller improves by one point three seconds from FP1, seems to like the Ducati.

As predicted, we can toss FP1/FP3 out the window.  Great to see the factory Suzukis competing and it looks like Suzuki has solved their 2017 engine woes.  Great job and great to see another factory elbow their way into the past Honda/Yamaha dominance along with Ducati.  Speaking of Ducati, as predicted also, very fast.  3 of the top 5 positions, but keep in mind the circumstances.  The end of the session was everyone throwing on soft rears for the quick lap.  Race pace looks like a Marquez/Dovi battle.  Great to have day 1 of the 2018 season in the books.  Forecast looks like dry.  Let the sparks fly Sunday!

3 Ducati's, and 2 Suzuki's in the top 5!

I'm not a Duc or Suz fanboy, but to keep it comtemporary, I am a fan of a Cinderall story.

I would love to see Honda, and Yamaha eat humble pie for a few races at least.

Just so I'm clear... the top 10 riders by time through FP3 will automatically make it to QP2 but since FP1 and FP3 will be run in the hot afternoon sun, those times are not expected to really matter right?  This FP2 was the one that really mattered. That means Vinalez will have to use up tires and energy in QP2 if he wants a shot at QP redemtion.  Ouch.

I was drooling over the same figure, thinking they were all in the same 1/10th, until I looked at who was at the top and bottom of the tenth...  so, its only a quarter of a tenth???  A Duc, Suz, Hons and Yam, all huddled around, looking up the clock. Amazing to think about all 5 of those bikes trying to fit on the track, within that time space, flying elbows anyone?