Bagnaia hits very hard

Bagnaia hits very hard

To conclude the pre-season tests, Francesco Bagnaia showed the potential of his Ducati by setting the record at the Losail circuit. While Enea Bastianini and Aleix Espargaro follow, Fabio Quartararo and Johann Zarco are at the bottom of the ranking.

Francesco Bagnaia will approach the 2024 season with full confidence. Already the author of the best time on the first day of pre-season testing organized in Losail, the reigning double world champion did it again this Tuesday. For the last laps of the MotoGP before the first round of the season, from March 8 to 10, the rider of the official Ducati team has clearly raised the tone. During the 29th of the 52 laps covered, before concluding the day with a race simulation during the last two hours, Francesco Bagnaia slapped the circuit record in 1’50”952. The Italian rider thus subtracted eight tenths of a second from the time achieved last year by Luca Marini, a sign that Ducati has not rested on its laurels when developing its 2024 prototype. If he is the only one to having dropped below 1’51”, “Pecco” remains closely followed by his teammate Enea Bastianini.

Marquez shows up

The latter gives him barely 120 thousandths of a second. However, we will also have to count on Aprilia since Aleix Espargaro was able to raise his RS-GP to third place, three tenths of a second from the benchmark despite a fall at the end of the day at turn 5. The Spaniard only has one short margin over his compatriot Marc Marquez. According to him, still in the adaptation phase to the 2023 Ducati, with a fall on his record, the six-time world champion in the premier category was able to give a glimpse of his current potential to beat Raul Fernandez by six thousandths of a second, back from injury on the handlebars of the Aprilia 2023 entrusted to the new Trackhouse team. Vice-world champion last year, Jorge Martin finished in seventh time, half a second behind. You have to go down to ninth place to see the first KTM, that of Brad Binder who was not spared by a technical problem while he was in the heart of a race simulation. For Fabio Quartararo, this last day will remain more than mixed.

Quartararo and Zarco far from the mark

After strongly criticizing the lack of grip of his Yamaha, the 2021 world champion did not invite himself to the front during this last day on the track before the start of the season. Indeed, “El Diablo” set the 14th time just over a second behind the benchmark. He is only a tenth of a second ahead of his new teammate Alex Rins, a symbol of the Hamamatsu firm’s difficulties. For Honda, which has once again made changes to its management with general manager Tetsuhiro Kuwata who will give way to Taichi Honda, the results are not more encouraging. Indeed, it is Johann Zarco who is the best representative of the Iwata firm with the 17th time, 1”210 behind at the end of a day marked by a fall. The teams will now have a little over two weeks to analyze all the data from these two days of testing in order to optimize their equipment for the start of the 2024 season, on this same Losail track.

Ranking of the 2nd day – Tuesday February 20, 2024
1- Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati) in 1’50”959 (52 laps covered)
2- Enea Bastianini (ITA/Ducati) at 0”120 (49)
3- Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) at 0”308 (45)
4- Marc Marquez (ESP/Ducati Gresini) at 0”383 (42)
5- Raul Fernandez (ESP/Aprilia Trackhouse) at 0”389 (56)
6- Maverick Viñales (ESP/Aprilia) at 0”435 (60)
7- Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati Pramac) at 0”514 (50)
8- Fabio di Giannantonio (ITA/Ducati VR46) at 0”537 (60)
9- Brad Binder (AFS/KTM) at 0”631 (55)
10- Marco Bezzecchi (ITA/Ducati VR46) at 0”726 (49)

14- Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha) at 1”013 (57)

17- Johann Zarco (FRA/Honda LCR) at 1”210 (52)

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