Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez wasted no time in putting down a marker as the double MotoGP World Champion topped the first free practice session in Qatar.

Marquez's best lap of 1m 55.281s was only a tenth of a second off his quickest time at the pre-season test at the Losail International Circuit as he led the way from team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who lapped in 1m 55.357s.

Pedrosa headed the time sheets briefly at the beginning of FP1 as he went half-a-second faster than Marquez, but the defending premier class champion soon reasserted himself at the top of the times.

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Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was prominent throughout but was bumped down to fourth by Suzuki's Aleix Espargaro, who put in an impressive lap of 1m 55.685 using the soft Bridgestone rear.

Lorenzo lapped in 1m 55.698s to finish ahead of Britain's Cal Crutchlow on the CWM LCR Honda (1m 55.818s), who shot up the leaderboard in the closing stages on the RC213V.

Danilo Petrucci, 16th at one stage, jumped into sixth place on the Pramac Ducati GP14.1 in the final seconds to finish FP1 as the leading Ducati, albeit clocking his best time using the soft rear.

Andrea Dovizioso was next (1m 55.980s) on the GP15 followed by Pramac Racing's Yonny Hernandez in 1m 56.139s, who also availed of the soft rear tyre option.

Valentino Rossi was ninth fastest on the second of the Movistar Yamaha machines, lapping in 1m 56.162s on the YZR-M1 to finish 0.881s down on Marquez.

Andrea Iannone, who, like his Ducati team-mate Dovizioso did not use the soft rear Bridgestone tyre, completed the top ten with a lap in 1m 56.315s.

Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Scott Redding (Marc VDS Honda) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) were next, with Stefan Bradl on the Forward Yamaha the leading Open class rider in 14th position.