Mooney VR46 Racing Team rider Luca Marini registered the fastest timing on the last lap during the second Free Practice Session at the Buddh International Circuit as the Grand Prix of India got off to a flying start on Friday.
The Italian clocked one minute, 44.7820 seconds to pip Jorge Martin of Prima Pramac Racing, who dominated the first position all through the session. Martin settled as the second fastest rider finishing 0.008 seconds slower than Marini.
With one minute, 44.8330 seconds, Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro had set the tone for the day in the second session.
Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder, who holds the high-speed record in MotoGP, failed to finish in the top 10 after a yellow flag cancelled his last lap timing that would have earned him the eighth spot and put him in Qualifying 2 on Saturday.
Defending champion and current race leader Francesco Bagnaia was placed seventh after he clocked one minute, 45.2800 seconds.
During the first Free Practice Session, it was Marini’s teammate from Mooney VR46 Racing Team, Marco Bezzecchi, who set the fastest timing of one minute, 45.9900 seconds. Consistent Bezzecchi bettered his performance in the second session to finish fifth in one minute, 45.2020 seconds.
Marc Marquez, the eight-time world champion, rode the Repsol Honda to second place with one minute, 46.1290 seconds.
The 10 fastest times recorded across in the allotted 60 minutes during Friday’s Practice session go directly into Qualifying 2, while the top two riders from Qualifying 1 get a chance in Qualifying 2 to try their hands at claiming the pole position.
Drama was the menu of the day. Tony Arbolino (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) clocked one minute, 52.1050 seconds on his final lap to top Moto 2. The competition for the top spot was fiercely contested between Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), his teammate Ai Ogura and Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM). Throughout the practice sessions, they kept dethroning each other to rein at the top.
However, it was Arbolino who had the last laugh. Finally, Acosta finished second clocking one minute, 52.1700 seconds, while Ogura and Chantra settled at third and fourth with one minute, 52.1880 and one minute, 52.3190 seconds respectively.
Collin Veijer of Netherlands riding Liqui Moly Husqvarna topped the Moto3 standing in Practice 2 with a timing of one minute, 59.5660 seconds. He was the only rider fastest in the category with timing under two minutes for most part of the second Practice Session, until Spanish rider Jaume Masia astride Leopard Racing clocked sub-two-minute with one minute, 59.7520 seconds in the last few minutes of the session to challenge Veijer.
Stefano Nepa, currently at the 9th position in overstanding, clocked two minutes, 00.1220 seconds for his third position.
India’s Kadai Yaseen Ahamed, wildcard entry representing Petronas, found himself out of time with his timing of two minutes, 06.0820 seconds.
Behind Mir, it's Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP) the first to miss out after finishing Practice in P11 following those lap cancellations.
Diggia, Binder and Augusto Fernandez will be joined in Q1 by the likes of Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP), Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team) and Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) in a hotly-contested session on Saturday morning too, so don't miss it!