Suzuki's Alex Rins edged out Marc Marquez to lead Friday practice for the 2022 MotoGP season-opener in Qatar.

As the only night session before direct access to Qualifying 2 is decided, all riders pushed hard for a time attack in FP2 this evening.

Like FP1, Saturday's FP3 will take place in hotter and slower daylight conditions, meaning the FP2 top ten could have already secured their place in Saturday's pole position shootout.

Brad Binder's surprise fastest lap in FP1 was beaten in the opening minutes of FP2, with Aleix Espargaro again putting Aprilia at the top of the early timesheets.

Soft front and medium rears were the prefered tyre choice before time attacks began, pointing to a likely race selection, while the likes of Aleix Espargaro, Rins, Brad Binder, Takaaki Nakagami and Pol Espargaro worked with the soft rear.

Aleix's 1m 54.490s kept the Spaniard fastest until younger brother Pol fitted new soft rubber to his Repsol Honda with 20-minutes remaining, as Luca Marini fell from his VR46 Ducati.

He wasn't alone. Alex Marquez slid from his LCR Honda twice, at turn 6 and turn 10, in the space of a few minutes.

Brother Marc had no such issues, briefly taking over at the top before Rins hit the front with ten minutes to go.

Rins' reign continued until Marc Marquez used a tow behind team-mate Espargaro to retake the advantage, but the GSX-RR star immediately retaliated to confirm P1. 

Team-mate Joan Mir completed an excellent opening day for Suzuki, who have traditionally suffered for one-lap pace, with third ahead of the top Ducati of Pramac's Jorge Martin.

Reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo, eleventh in FP1, had a handlebar issue in the early stages of FP2 on his way to eighth.

Title runner-up Francesco Bagnaia, a faller on his way to 18th in FP1, had a better if unspectacular session for tenth.

Bagnaia and factory Ducati team-mate Jack Miller have homologated a 'hybrid' engine made up of GP21 and GP22 parts for this season, while the other GP22s of Johann Zarco, Jorge Martin and Luca Marini have the full GP22 engine.

Miller was visibly frustrated at being inadvertently held up by countryman and rookie Remy Gardner, but regrouped for sixth behind the top Yamaha of Franco Morbidelli.

Those currently heading for Qualifying 1 tomorrow include Brad Binder in 15th (but just 0.8s from Rins) plus Maverick Vinales (who accidentally held up team-mate Espargaro), and last year's double Qatar podium finisher Johann Zarco.

Unlike in previous years, there has been no pre-season testing held at the circuit, meaning teams and riders go into the event without any track data since last year's Doha double.

Yamaha took victory in both of last year's races courtesy of a win each for Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo.

 

Qatar MotoGP, Lusail - Free Practice (2) Results
Pos RiderNatTeamTime/DiffLapMax
1^2Alex RinsSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)1'53.432s16/17355k
2^3Marc MarquezSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+0.035s16/17353k
3^4Joan MirSPASuzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)+0.147s15/16354k
4^8Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP22)+0.220s15/17353k
5^1Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.413s18/19348k
6^7Jack MillerAUSDucati Lenovo (GP22)+0.438s15/16352k
7^1Aleix EspargaroSPAAprilia Racing (RS-GP)+0.454s15/15352k
8^3Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.474s16/17344k
9˅5Pol EspargaroSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+0.531s13/14354k
10^8Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo (GP22)+0.539s15/17348k
11^3Enea BastianiniITAGresini Ducati (GP21)+0.581s13/14354k
12˅10Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)+0.606s17/17351k
13˅3Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM (RC16)+0.621s14/16347k
14^2Andrea DoviziosoITAWithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)+0.721s17/18346k
15˅14Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)+0.815s14/15348k
16˅7Alex MarquezSPALCR Honda (RC213V)+1.043s14/15352k
17˅2Maverick ViñalesSPAAprilia Racing (RS-GP)+1.092s13/14354k
18˅1Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP22)+1.133s19/19353k
19^2Raul FernandezSPAKTM Tech3 (RC16)*+1.452s14/16346k
20^4Marco BezzecchiITAMooney VR46 Ducati (GP21)*+1.468s16/16348k
21˅2Remy GardnerAUSKTM Tech3 (RC16)*+1.497s16/16347k
22=Fabio Di GiannantonioITAGresini Ducati (GP21)*+1.939s13/17353k
23˅3Luca MariniITAMooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)+2.343s12/13351k
24˅1Darryn BinderRSAWithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)*+2.483s14/15345k

Key:
^X Rider is X positions higher than FP1.
= Rider is same position as FP1.
˅X Rider is X positions lower than FP1.

Fastest FP1 time:
Brad Binder RSA KTM 1m 54.851s

Official Qatar MotoGP records:
Best lap:
Francesco Bagnaia ITA Ducati 1m 52.772s (2021)
Fastest race lap:
Francesco Bagnaia ITA Ducati 1m 54.491s (2021)

By Peter McLaren