Brad Binder left it late to secure top spot in FP1 for the Qatar MotoGP, while world champion Fabio Quartararo could only manage 11th.

The first practice session of 2022 got underway with immediate issues for Brad’s brother Darryn Binder as part of the South African rider’s left-sided fairing came undone. 

Aleix Espargaro was the early pacesetter for Aprilia Racing, while Alex Rins continued his impressive pre-season form to slot into second. The fastest ever rider around the Sepang International Circuit, Enea Bastianini was third following the opening flurry of laps. 

While Espargaro continued to improve and therefore keep hold of top spot, Marc Marquez went second fastest aboard the completely revamped RC213V Repsol Honda. 

Espargaro momentarily built up a four tenth advantage over Marquez before the Spaniard and Pol Espargaro reduced it to just over one tenth.

While most of the expected 2022 title contenders were running inside the top ten, Joan Mir was the big name who spent considerable amounts of time languishing down the pecking order. 

That all changed with just under half of FP1 to go as the Suzuki rider went fifth, one place behind team-mate Rins. 

As was the case for much of pre-season testing, Raul Fernandez was the top rookie throughout FP1.

Following a clean Moto3 and Moto2 FP1 with regards to crashes, Fabio Di Giannantonio became the first faller of the new season. The Italian crashed at turn 3 but was unhurt and back on his feet immediately. 

After spending more than 35 minutes on top, Espargaro was relegated to second by Mir with six minutes to go, which was just moments before Francesco Bagnaia suffered a surprising crash at turn 6. 

The Ducati rider lost the front end very early on, but like Di Giannantonio he was back on his feet quickly. 

Mir’s stint at the top was very short-lived as team-mate Rins went quickest after becoming the first rider to fit the soft rear tyre.

However, in typical free practice fashion a late surge of laps saw the leaderboard change drastically as Binder went fastest from Takaaki Nakagami and Marquez. 

The KTM rider eventually held on from Nakagami and Rins in third, while Pol Espargaro moved up to fourth to pip team-mate Marquez. 

Sixth was Morbidelli, while Mir, A. Espargaro, Alex Marquez and Miguel Oliveira rounded out the top ten. Quartararo was the first rider to miss out on a top ten finish. 

Ducati’s slow start during the early part of FP1 continued until the checkered flag dropped as Martin secured a best of 12th for the Italian manufacturer.