India has almost made its highly-anticipated MotoGP debut, with Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi leading the way in the opening practice session at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in India, ahead of Honda rider Marc Marquez. Meanwhile, for Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo, it was a nightmare after two technical issues prompted the team to call in Franco Morbidelli as a precautionary measure. Digressing a bit from it, Yamaha Motor India has recently hosted a special meet-and-greet event for over a thousand of its employees at the company's manufacturing plant in Surajpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. The event ranged from an interaction of the riders from Yamaha's Monster Energy MotoGP team – Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli – with Yamaha employees to having discussions about the riders' journey in the world of MotoGP, sharing insights on their racing strategies, signing autographs, and providing the workforce with mementos.
In the end, both Yamaha Motor India and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP racing team expressed gratitude for the support and enthusiasm shown by the Indian fans, while promising an exhilarating performance at the MotoGP Bharat 2023. Yamaha Motor India says that the event not only deepened the connection between the riders and their fans but also showcased Yamaha's unwavering commitment to bringing the excitement of MotoGP closer to enthusiasts in the region.
BharatGP MotoGP FP1: Race Results
The first practice session of the IndianOil Grand Prix 2023 began today, i.e., September 22, 2023, with Bezzecchi setting the benchmark with a lap time of 1m45.990s, while Marc Marquez was just +0.139 seconds behind the Ducati rider. Luca Marini and Jorge Martin on their respective Ducatis finished seventh and eighth, respectively. Martin was the first among the two to break the 1m50s time barrier as he clocked in a lap time of 1m49.358s in the first 10 minutes of the extended 70-minute session at the BIC. His VR46 competitor, Marini, responded with a lap time, only 0.017 seconds slower than his teammate.
The lap times at the 4.9 km track were falling rapidly, but on his third attempt, Marini improved by nearly two seconds to record a 1m47.880s lap time. 15 minutes into the session, Aleix Espargaro broke the duopoly of Marini and Martin by improving to a 1m47.611s on a track. However, Martin, who had fallen as low as sixth in the order, returned to the status quo and posted a lap time of 1m46.817s. The day ended with Bezzecchi finishing first with 1m45.990s and Marc Marquez second (+0.139s behind Bezzecchi). KTM rider Brand Binder was third, despite him being the first rider to suffer a crash.
Quartararo's Performance Struggles at BharatGP MotoGP FP1
Unfortunately for Fabio Quartararo, his Yamaha motorcycle broke down at the BIC, so he had to pull over near the fence and figure out another way to go back to the pit garage. Shortly after resuming his ride on the backup motorcycle, Fabio had another technical issue with the Yamaha motorcycle, causing him to come to a halt. Soon enough, he pushed the motorcycle all the way back to his assigned pit garage without assistance.
It seemed that issues with the gearbox or clutch mechanics were to blame. Because of these setbacks, the Frenchman lost a lot of critical track time, leading the team to worry about his safety. Because of this, they decided to cut Franco Morbidelli's session short and keep him in the pit lane.
A total of 41 teams and 82 riders will be there on the grid. The main race will have 11 teams and 22 riders, while there will be 16 teams & 30 riders in the Moto2 and 14 teams & 30 riders in the Moto3 race. The race event is spread over 3 days with September 22 having practice and September 23 having both practice and qualifying.