Well, there’s no doubting that Ducati knows something about speed. During Saturday’s qualifying at the Losail International Circuit, Ducati factory rider Francesco Bagnaia set a circuit record lap time 1:52.772. The lap is Bagnaia’s first-ever pole position.
Top speed record
But perhaps the biggest news from qualifying comes from Ducati’s satellite team, Pramac. Rider Johann Zarco set a historic milestone in the MotoGP category. Blasting down the Losail circuit’s long straight, Zarco set a top speed record of 362.4 km/hr (225.1 mph). That’s two and a quarter on two wheels!
Ducati’s new launch control system made an impressive debut as well. By the time the riders turned into the first corner, four Ducatis led the way line astern. Ducatis ridden by Francesco Bagnaia (P1), Fabio Quartararo (P2), Johann Zarco (P6), and Jorge Martin (P14) left the rest of the field behind.
But as the race progressed, the Ducati’s began to suffer rear tire issues. Ultimately, the Yamaha of Maverick Viñales overtook the leading Ducatis, with Joan Mir slotting into second place on the last lap.
But it was once again time for the Bologna missiles’ power advantage to shine. Both Zarco and Bagnaia pinned the throttles and passed Mir on the final straight to take the two remaining podium slots.
When all was said and done, Ducati put on an impressive show. While they did not take an all-important race win, it’s clear that both the factory and satellite Ducatis currently have more power than any of the other MotoGP teams.
Losail International Circuit
The MotoGP circus will once again be in action this weekend at the Losail International Circuit. It will be interesting to see whether the other teams can develop some additional horsepower to catch the mighty Ducatis on the straights. It will also be interesting to see whether Ducati can come to “grips” with their rear tire wear problems.
It’s going to be an exciting MotoGP season!