Title-chasing Martin fastest in Malaysian MotoGP opening practice

motorsport10 November 2023 09:15| © AFP
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Jorge Martin © Gallo Images

Title-chasing Jorge Martin was second in Malaysian Grand Prix practice on Friday at Sepang behind Alex Marquez, with MotoGP championship leader Francesco Bagnaia eighth.

Spain's Martin, who is just 13 points behind the Italian Bagnaia with three races to go in the season, clocked a lap of one minute and 57.997 seconds on his Ducati.

But the Prima Pramac rider, who topped the timesheets in free practice in the morning, was outshone by compatriot Marquez after the Gresini racer finished 0.174 seconds faster.

Bagnaia is chasing a second world title in a row but he has made an unspectacular start in Malaysia, ending 15th in the morning on a cloudy but dry day outside Kuala Lumpur.

He also went quicker in the afternoon practice with a time of 1:58.420 seconds on his factory Ducati, but was more than half a second off Marquez.

Fellow Italian Marco Bezzecchi, who is third in the championship standings and with a mathematical chance of still winning the title, was ninth-quickest.

Australian Jack Miller came in third, followed by South African and fellow KTM rider Brad Binder in fourth.

Saturday's action will witness another practice session in the morning, followed by qualifying to decide pole position for Sunday's main event.

There will also be a 10-lap sprint race on Saturday afternoon.