2024 MotoGP™ Qatar Test: the final countdown to competition is on!

Monday and Tuesday sees MotoGP™ back on track in Qatar, with track action from 14:00 to 21:00 (UTC + 3) on each day

We already got an incredible first taste of the season ahead thanks to a star-studded Shakedown and the headline-making Sepang Test, and now there are just two more days of track action before we go racing. Here’s where we left off and what to look for in Qatar!

Ducati Lenovo, Prima Pramac, Pertamina Enduro VR46 & Gresini

After domination right at the top thanks to a new fastest ever lap from reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), backed up by a fast showing from Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) on the chase and Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) in third, signs are very positive for the newest Borgo Panigale machine. We won’t have Franco Morbidelli back in action just yet at Prima Pramac Racing, but he’ll be looking positively at the performance of the machine he’ll be racing this season.

Meanwhile at Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team, new arrival Fabio Di Giannantonio hit the ground running in Sepang, putting in a seriously impressive Tissot Sprint simulation, whereas Marco Bezzecchi will be looking for a little more. He’ll also likely have an eye on the Rins Cup – the informal but much-feted competition to beat Alex Rins (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) to the honour of first on track every day.

At Gresini Racing MotoGP™ it’s an interesting dynamic too: Alex Marquez was fast from the off, fourth overall and only just behind Bastianini, whereas Marc Marquez’ focus was “laps, laps, laps” as he looks to find every limit of every part of his new machine. The #93, whether 19th or 1st on the timesheets, is sure to make more headlines at Lusail. He also reminded everyone in Malaysia that the testing venues since Valencia are both tracks he’s always found tougher…

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Aprilia & Trackhouse Racing

It was a test of two halves in Sepang, or a test of two opinions. In one camp, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) said it was their best pre-season yet and he was fifth overall. But teammate Maverick Viñales and Trackhouse Racing’s Miguel Oliveira found it a more difficult test, and they’ll be looking for much more in Qatar – either in terms of adjustments to get the same out of the package as Espargaro managed to do, or in hardware. The Noale Factory also haven’t run their new engine through its paces to define their final spec yet, something they said we’ll see in Qatar, and we’ll also see Raul Fernandez back on Trackhouse duty after his crash saw him sit much of Sepang out.


Red Bull KTM & Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

The fastest Austrian machine overall was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) as the outfit look to go from frontrunners to the factory to beat, and he and teammate Jack Miller will undoubtedly continue with their pre-season modus operandi: putting everything through its paces and fitting everything together before being concerned with a serious assault on the timesheets.

But it was rookie sensation Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) who stole many of the headlines, fastest at the Shakedown, fast in the Sepang Test and with a very impressive Tissot Sprint simulation that was the best of the RC16s over nine laps. Based on his performances in the World Championship paddock so far, it’s both very Acosta and yet genuinely still remarkable at the same time. Will he keep that run going at Lusail? On the other side of Acosta’s box, meanwhile, Augusto Fernandez will be looking for more. A tough Sepang Test leaves him seeking some big steps forward before the lights both come on and go out in the desert for racing.

Repsol Honda & Castrol/Idemitsu Honda LCR

After we’ve seen the genuinely quite different liveries from Repsol Honda and Castrol Honda LCR revealed this week, the Japanese giants will now be back on track and back to work as they push to return to the top. There were positive signs at the Sepang test that steps forward have already been made, and a whole lot of positive vibes. Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) led the charge on the timesheets, Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda LCR) was next, then Johann Zarco (Castrol Honda LCR) before fellow new arrival Luca Marini (Repsol Honda Team), but Marini also hinted at more hardware to come in Qatar as they methodically work their way through their updates for 2024.

Monster Energy Yamaha

There were positive signs from Yamaha in Sepang too, with only one slight cloud hanging over the camp: one-lap pace. It’s something Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) said they’ll continue focusing on until they make inroads, so over two more days in Qatar that will be one to watch. But those positives elsewhere were real, and there was a host of new stuff coming out the box in Sepang too, from the engine to the tail unit. So Quartararo and new teammate Alex Rins will have plenty to work with in the final two test days. And remember, the new concession rules mean both Yamaha and Honda don’t have to homologate a final engine spec and can keep testing throughout the season, so the end of Tuesday’s track action is far from their last chance to improve before the post-Jerez one-day Test.

For now though, Monday and Tuesday sees MotoGP™ back on track in Qatar, with track action from 14:00 to 21:00 (UTC + 3) on each day – followed by a 15-minute practice start session. So join us on motogp.com, across social media and then live from Lusail as the final pieces of the puzzle slot into place before the first race!