Everything that happened in first Indonesia MotoGP practice
MotoGP title contender Jorge Martin grabbed a late top spot in the Friday morning practice session for the Indonesian Grand Prix at Mandalika, while championship long shot Marco Bezzecchi had a late high-speed crash just days after breaking his collarbone in training.
Bezzecchi hadn’t even been certain to contest the event having sustained his injury while training at mentor Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Academy ranch last weekend.
Having had surgery on Monday, Bezzecchi made a last-minute decision to attempt to race at Mandalika, flying in on Friday morning and quickly getting medical clearance to ride.
He appeared to be in a lot of discomfort as he got off the bike after his first run in practice, though team boss Pablo Nieto told MotoGP’s broadcast that Bezzecchi actually felt better than he expected at that point.
Bezzecchi then moved up to fifth with a late fast lap and was on course to improve further – setting the session’s best sector two time – when he lost the bike going into the fast Turn 11 right-hander. He tumbled through the gravel, but did quickly get up and walk away unaided.
Nooooooo, that’s not what Bez needed! 😮
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) October 13, 2023
Aprilia sat 1-2 with Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro into the closing moments, before Pramac Ducati rider Martin – who’s now just three points behind championship leader Pecco Bagnaia – put in a 1m31.811s lap to beat Vinales by 0.102 seconds.
Bagnaia was sixth behind a surprisingly strong fourth place for Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli then Bezzecchi.
The entire regular 2023 rider line-up is back this weekend as a host of riders return from injury layoffs.
Bagnaia’s works Ducati team-mate Enea Bastianini – sidelined since causing the Barcelona first-corner pile-up six weeks ago – was an encouraging ninth, two tenths behind Bagnaia, and just ahead of fellow returnee Luca Marini, who’d broken his collarbone in India last month.
Alex Marquez was also out since India and took 20th on his return, ending the session with a fall at the first corner.
LCR Honda’s Alex Rins had to abandon his previous comeback attempt in Japan mid-event and was 21st this time.
Aside from Marquez and Bezzecchi, Miguel Oliveira was the other crasher with a fast mid-session low-side at the same place Bezzecchi fell.