Round 13 – Buddh, India
There was a short delay to the Q1 session getting underway on Saturday afternoon at India’s Buddh International Circuit as some areas of the track needed a little attention after some incidents during the morning practice sessions for the three classes.
Ahead of today’s action the decision had already been made to reduce the race distances for a couple of reasons. An extra safety margin for the tyres, but also to reduce the heat stress on the riders, many of which are really struggling with the heat and humidity.
Reduced Race Distances
- MotoGP sprint reduced from 12 laps to 11 laps
- Moto3 race reduced from 17 laps to 16 laps
- Moto2 race reduced from 19 laps to 18 laps
- MotoGP race reduced from 24 laps to 21 laps
Both Factory KTM riders had to contest the Q1 session, as did the likes of Alex Marquez. Miguel Oliveira and his RNF Aprilia team-mate Raul Fernandez, who has been finding some good form of late, were also in the Q1 session.
Brad Binder was the early pacesetter and remained on top at the end of the first run. Raul Fernandez second, Franco Morbidelli third and Augusto Fernandez ahead of Alex Marquez. Jack Miller was eighth and with more than half-a-second to find in his second run if he was to have a chance of making it through to Q2.
Raul Fernandez lowered the benchmark in the second run, a 1m44.410 putting him on top while Alex Marquez moved up to second place, pushing Binder out of Q2.
Alex Marquez then went down at turn six while trying hard on another fast lap, a highside that brought out the yellow flags for around 30-seconds. Alex Marquez clutched his rib cage in some discomfort and looked to have also potentially suffered a hand injury.
Again a yellow flag robbed Brad Binder of his fast lap, the South African had one last chance after that but couldn’t get it done and will start from 14th on the grid, two places ahead of his KTM team-mate Jack Miller.
Raul Fernandez promoted through to Q1 along with Alex Marquez, but Alex Marquez would not be able to ride in the Q2 session following that heavy fall.
Three fractured ribs (although they are clean breaks) is the unfortunate outcome of the crash for Alex Marquez. The injury means Alex is forced to rest for at least ten days – which means no Japanese Grand Prix for him next weekend. The current plan is for him to return for the Indonesian Grand Prix in Lombok on the weekend of October 12-15.
“Unfortunately there’s not much to say. It was an unfortunate crash and we paid the consequences for it. I will need to rest for a few days and the goal is to return for the Indonesian GP. It’s a shame that the injury arrived in such a particular time of the year but we’ll do our best to recover and be ready for Lombok.”
- R.Fernandez 1:44.410
- A.Marquez +0.109
- F.Di Giannantonio +0.119
- B.Binder +0.241
- T.Nakagami +0.325
- J.Miller +0.620
- F.Morbidelli +0.627
- A.Fernandez +0.656
- M.Oliveira +0.965
- P.Espargaro +1.042
- S.Bradl +1.107
- M.Pirro +1.737
Somebody hadn’t told Aleix Espargaro about the schedule for Q2 being pushed back a few minutes as he waited at the end of pit-lane to be released all on his lonesome, before eventually realising that something was awry… His tyres losing temperature on the shoulders, he pushed back to his garage for a minute, enough time to throw a bit of a hissyfit at team personnel, before proceedings actually did get underway…
Marc Marquez went down softly at the slow turn three on his second flying lap but was quickly back up and running again.
Marco Bezzecchi was the first to better the 1m44.410 set by Raul Fernandez in Q1, a 1m44.401 propelling the VR46 rider to top of the time-sheets. That was short-lived though as Jorge Martin then banged in a 1m44.153 to go top. Luca Marini then pushed Bezzecchi further back to third.
Most riders then returned to the pits for a change of rubber before their final tilt at pole.
Marc Marquez positioned himself behind Pecco Bagnaia on the second run, and a little further behind was Marc’s Repsol Honda team-mate Joan Mir. Marquez was losing ground on Bagnaia from the exit of all the turns before madly scrambling under brakes to try and claw some of that ground back. It actually turned out though that Mir was doing a better job of the two, moving up to fourth place with three-minutes to run.
Marco Bezzecchi then banged in the first ever 1m43s lap of the Buddh International Circuit, on a motorcycle, to go top. Two-minutes to run…
Bagnaia improved to third but then ran on at turn one, so that was his last opportunity to improve gone.
Jorge Martin’s last run was spoiled so Bezzecchi stayed on top to take pole position ahead of Martin, Bagnaia and Marini, a Ducati 1-2-3-4.
Joan Mir will start from fifth place on the grid alongside team-mate Marc Marquez while Maverick Vinales heads the third row alongside Aleix Espargaro and Fabio Quartararo.
Marco Bezzecchi – P1
“I’m very happy with this pole here in India. Yesterday I liked the track immediately, but we weren’t able to be perfect in the afternoon. We worked hard and this morning we took another small step forward. Starting from the top positions is always an advantage that must be made the most of in both races. It will be tough, the heat is putting us to the limit, but I also have excellent sensations on the pace.”
- M.Bezzecchi 1:43.947
- F.Bagnaia +0.256
- L.Marini +0.268
- J.Mir +0.507
- M.Marquez +0.522
- M.Viñales +0.794
- A.Espargaro +0.803
- F.Quartararo +0.919
- J.Zarco +1.095
- R.Fernandez +1.247
MotoGP Championship Points
Indian Grand Prix Schedule
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2023 MotoGP Calendar
1 Mar-26 Portugal, Portimao
2 Apr-02 Argentina, Termos de Rio Honda
3 Apr-16 Americas, COTA
4 Apr-30 Spain, Jerez
5 May-14 France, Le Mans
6 Jun-11 Italy, Mugello
7 Jun-18 Germany, Sachsenring
8 Jun-25 Netherlands, Assen
10 Aug-06 Great Britain, Silverstone
11 Aug-20 Austria, Red Bull Ring
12 Sep-03 Catalunya, Catalunya
13 Sep-10 San Marino, Misano
14 Sep-24 India, Buddh (Subject to homologation)
|16||Oct-15|| Indonesia, Mandalika|
|17||Oct-22||Australia, Phillip Island|