Luca Marini Tops the Charts in Thrilling Fashion as Grand Prix of India Commences
Luca Marini’s last-minute brilliance, Brad Binder’s setback, and intense competition at the Grand Prix of India’s practice sessions.
The Grand Prix of India roared into action on Friday with Mooney VR46 Racing Team’s Luca Marini stealing the show during the second Free Practice Session at the Buddh International Circuit. In a thrilling last lap, the Italian rider clocked an impressive time of one minute, 44.7820 seconds, edging out Jorge Martin of Prima Pramac Racing, who had held the top spot throughout the session. Martin settled for second place, a mere 0.008 seconds behind Marini.
Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro also made a strong impression, setting the pace for the day in the second session with a time of one minute, 44.8330 seconds. Meanwhile, Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder, known for his high-speed prowess in MotoGP, faced disappointment as a yellow flag nullified his last lap time, leaving him out of the top 10 and missing a spot in Qualifying 2 on Saturday.
The defending champion and current race leader, Francesco Bagnaia, secured the seventh position with a time of one minute, 45.2800 seconds.
In the first Free Practice Session, it was Marini’s teammate, Marco Bezzecchi, who impressed with the fastest time of one minute, 45.9900 seconds. Bezzecchi improved his performance in the second session, finishing fifth with a time of one minute, 45.2020 seconds. Marc Marquez, the eight-time world champion, secured second place with a time of one minute, 46.1290 seconds.
The top 10 times recorded during Friday’s Practice session earned direct entry into Qualifying 2, while the top two riders from Qualifying 1 would have a chance to compete for the pole position.
The day was filled with drama as Tony Arbolino (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) clocked one minute, 52.1050 seconds on his final lap to lead the Moto 2 category. The competition for the top spot was fierce between Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Ai Ogura, and Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM), with positions constantly changing.
Ultimately, Arbolino emerged victorious, with Acosta in second place with a time of one minute, 52.1700 seconds, and Ogura and Chantra settling for third and fourth, respectively, with times of one minute, 52.1880 and one minute, 52.3190 seconds.
In the Moto3 category, Collin Veijer of the Netherlands riding Liqui Moly Husqvarna dominated Practice 2 with a time of one minute, 59.5660 seconds. He was the only rider to consistently clock times under two minutes. However, Spanish rider Jaume Masia of Leopard Racing managed to break the two-minute mark in the last minutes of the session with a time of one minute, 59.7520 seconds, challenging Veijer.
Stefano Nepa secured the third position with a time of two minutes, 00.1220 seconds, while India’s Kadai Yaseen Ahamed, a wildcard entry representing Petronas, struggled with a time of two minutes, 06.0820 seconds.
As the action unfolded, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP) narrowly missed out on the top positions after laps were canceled, landing in 11th place during Practice.
Binder, Augusto Fernandez, and Diggia would face fierce competition in Q1, joined by riders like Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP), Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team), and Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) in what promises to be a highly competitive session on Saturday morning. Don’t miss it!