Moto GP

Marquez suffers nasty fall in dramatic Indonesia MotoGP practice

Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez suffered a high-speed crash in second practice for the Indonesian Grand Prix yesterday as title-holder Fabio Quartararo roared back to go quickest.

World-class motorcycling is back in Indonesia for the first time in 25 years and there was drama in the second practice session on a sweltering afternoon on the new Mandalika circuit on the tropical island of Lombok.

Spain’s Marquez had already suffered a couple of hair-raising wobbles on his Honda and went flying off at speed at Turn 11 before tumbling painfully through the gravel.

The 29-year-old got up after a short time and should be fine for qualifying today and race day tomorrow, when rain and thunderstorms are forecast.

The nasty fall left Marquez down in 22nd on the timesheets, which were topped by France’s Quartararo.

As overcast morning conditions gave way to afternoon sun, the 22-year-old suffered problems with his Yamaha early in the second session, grinding to a halt on the track.

But he was soon back in action and belatedly found pace to finish the day quickest with a time of 1 min 31.608sec, with Italy’s Franco Morbidelli 0.030secs off the pace in second, also on a Yamaha. 

Third was France’s Johann Zarco, at 0.285 off the lead, on his Ducati. Italy’s Enea Bastianini, who won the season-opening Qatar GP earlier this month, was fifth-fastest for Gresini Racing but also later crashed. Motorbike-mad Indonesia hosted the motorcycle grand prix in 1996 and 1997 near the capital Jakarta, but its ambitions of becoming a mainstay of the sport were torpedoed by the Asian financial crisis. There were teething problems for Indonesia’s return to top-class motorcycling, with the Mandalika track requiring substantial resurfacing for this week’s action.

During testing in February, MotoGP riders complained that the circuit was dirty and breaking up in places.

The new MotoGP campaign boasts a record 21 races this season, ending on November 6 in Valencia.

Leading combined practice times:

1. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha) 1:31.608, 2. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Yamaha) at 0.030 sec, 3. Johann Zarco (FRA/Ducati) 0.285, 4. Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati) 0.296, 5. Enea Bastianini (ITA/Ducati) 0.313, Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati) 0.357, 7. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 0.400, 8. Brad Binder (RSA/KTM) 0.409, 9. Miguel Oliveria (POR/KTM) 0.441, 10. Alex Rins (ESP/Suzuki) 0.498

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