Doha GP: Espargaro puts his Aprilia on top in FP1

The first session of the Doha GP has come to a close, with Aleix Espargaro putting in a good showing for Aprilia and finishing top of the leaderboard.

Just like last week, every rider was out on track almost as soon as the lights went green.

The first incident came less than ten minutes in, with Franco Morbidelli suffering a mechanical problem with white smoke coming from the rear.

Johann Zarco ended up in the gravel with 12 minutes on the clock at Turn 15, showing the Frenchman was trying to find the limits on his Pramac.

The first runs ended with Aleix Espargaro on top, with a lap time of 1m55.429s.

Morbidelli’s woes in FP1 continued shortly after he got back on track, the Italian suffered yet another mechanical issue with just under 15 minutes to go and was forced to head back to the pits.

As the clock ran down, the times began to drop, with Espargaro setting a 1m54.779s lap to go top, 0.060s faster than Alex Rins.

Last week’s race winner Maverick Vinales finished third, 0.155s ahead of Jorge Martin, who was followed by fifth-placed Morbidelli.

Danilo Petrucci put in a good time of 1m55.263s to finish sixth, 0.040s faster than Fabio Quartararo.

Suzuki’s Joan Mir finished the session in eighth, ahead of Stefan Bradl and Taka Nakagami.

Luca Marini ended FP1 in 11th, 0.053s ahead of Pol Espargaro, LCR Honda rider Alex Marquez followed in 13th.

After a strong first race last weekend, Enea Bastianini ended his session in 14th, just under one tenth faster than the two KTM’s, Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder.

Valentino Rossi finished 17th on the SRT Yamaha, 0.059s ahead of Jack Miller.

Tech3’s Iker Lecuona was 19th, 0.096s faster than Pecco Bagnaia’s Ducati.

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

With the FP1 conditions much different to those that will be present in the race, these times do not mean too much.

A clearer picture of who is on the pace for the Doha GP will come in FP2, which gets underway in just over three hours time.