Qatar GP: Morbidelli fastest in FP1

Franco Morbidelli put his SRT Yamaha at the top of the timesheets for the first free practice session of the year ahead of the Qatar GP.

It was a busy opening ten minutes of the session, with all riders heading out on track apart from the Honda of Stefan Bradl.

It didn’t take long for the first rider to end up in the gravel, Johann Zarco suffered a low-side at Turn 4 just three minutes in.

Aleix Espargaro went fastest late in the session, but was pushed down to second after Morbidelli set a 1m54.921s lap towards the end.

Jack Miller found good pace on the Ducati, finishing in third and just two tenths off the pace, the Australian had an off at Turn 4 halfway through the session but made it back out on track.

Fabio Quartararo was behind the Ducati in fourth place, ahead of reigning World Champion Joan Mir, who jumped from ninth to fifth at the end of the session.

The second Yamaha of Maverick Vinales was sixth, ahead of Alex Rins and the second Ducati of Pecco Bagnaia.

Valentino Rossi ended the session in ninth on his SRT Yamaha, KTM’s Miguel Oliveira rounded off the top ten.

The two LCR Honda’s were next, Alex Marquez finishing in 11th ahead of Takaaki Nakagami.

Pramac’s new rider Zarco struggled to set a lap that could elevate him into the top ten, the Frenchman settled for 13th place at the chequered flag.

The two factory Honda’s of Bradl and Pol Espargaro ended in 14th and 15th.

The second KTM of Brad Binder finished in 16th, ahead of the fastest rookie Luca Marini.

Enea Bastianini was 18th, ahead of Tech3 rider Danilo Petrucci and Jorge Martin.

Lorenzo Savadori and Iker Lecuona rounded off the timesheets in 21st and 22nd.

Expect the times to tumble as FP2 of the Qatar GP gets underway in just a few hours time, as the sun sets in Qatar and cools the track down.