Bagnaia's perfect Italian MotoGP practice hit by grid penalty

motorsport31 May 2024 20:00| © AFP
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Francesco Bagnaia © Getty Images

Francesco Bagnaia's perfect start to his home Italian MotoGP weekend ended on a sour note with a three-place grid penalty on Friday.

Ducati's double world champion had topped the times in practice at Mugello, the Turin-born star getting to within a tenth of a second of the lap record he set last year.

But later he was penalised for impeding Alex Marquez which means at best he will start from the second row of the grid for Sunday's main event.

With Marquez on a fast lap, the stewards judged Bagnaia for "irresponsible riding" when impeding the younger brother of Marc Marquez by riding slowly going into turn 12.

The penalty does not apply to Saturday's sprint.

"I was off his line, I braked late to be in front. He's always a good showman. He makes these kind of gestures on his bike like always," Bagnaia told reporters before the sanction.

"He said he was off the line but that's not true. I've got nothing else to say," replied Marquez junior, who posted the eighth best time on his Ducati satellite Gresini bike.

Bagnaia had set a quickest time of 1min 44.938sec at one of his favourite circuits to top the timesheets from Spanish duo Alex Rins (Yamaha) and rookie Pedro Acosta (GasGas).

Six-time former champion Marc Marquez posted the fifth fastest time with series leader Jorge Martin in seventh.

The top 10 riders booked their place in Saturday's second qualifying session.

This group, which determines the first four rows of the grid, are joined by the two fastest riders from Q1.

Ahead of Saturday's sprint and Sunday's main event Bagnaia is lying second in the riders' standings, 39 points behind Martin.

Marc Marquez is placed third, two points behind Bagnaia, before this seventh round of the season.

Bagnaia, winner last weekend in Catalunya, is seeking a third straight win in front of tens of thousands of his tifosi supporters in Sunday's race.