As the premier class returned to the Losail circuit for a second serving, they avoided the worst of the heat compared to their colleagues but that’s not saying much when they had to tackle FP1 in 37 degrees air temperature. While FP1 results might not prove particularly meaningful come Sunday, there was plenty of activity to keep us entertained. Aleix Espargaro continued to enjoy his time in Qatar, the Spaniard starting the session at the top of the standings and reclaiming top spot at the very last minute. Compatriot Alex Rins was close behind, only six hundredths of a second slower, while race one winner Maverick Vinales joined the top three, less than a tenth behind the leader.
Rookie Jorge Martin was the top Ducati on Friday afternoon in fourth position, while Franco Morbidelli was smoking hot and not in a good way, his Yamaha machine producing heavy smoke early in the session and getting the black and orange flag. It looked like no harm was done and the Italian went straight to the top of the timesheets when he rejoined the action for the final ten minutes but he immediately saw yet another black and orange flag waved at him for the same problem. The Petronas rider eventually dropped to fifth, ahead of Danilo Petrucci as the lead KTM and Fabio Quartararo in seventh position.
World champion Joan Mir made a somewhat better start to the weekend in eighth spot, while the Honda duo of Stefan Bradl and Takaaki Nakagami rounded out the top ten. One of the stars of last Sunday, Johann Zarco, was last on the timesheets after an early crash at turn 15 limited his running. The Frenchman might have started a second consecutive weekend with a crash in FP1 but it didn’t cost him much in the end last time around.