Martin heads Marquez in first practice

The sixth round of the 2024 campaign began with the two riders vying for a factory team Ducati seat for 2025 setting the pace across the first 45-minute practice of the weekend.

Marquez set the early pace on his Gresini Ducati and led for much of the session before Martin – shod with fresh soft rubber – took over in the closing stages with a 1m39.579s.

KTM’s Brad Binder completed the top three from Tech3 GasGas rookie Pedro Acosta, while last year’s Catalan GP winner Aleix Espargaro – who announced his retirement on Thursday – was fifth on the factory Aprilia.

FP1 ran under grey skies but remained dry for its duration, with Marquez setting out his stall early on his GP23 with a 1m41.226s in the opening moments of the session.

Espargaro briefly took over with a 1m40.504s, before Marquez fired in a brace of session-best laps that culminated in a 1m39.871s with just under 10 minutes of the session gone.

That would stand as the benchmark for quite a while as Marquez remained on the same soft front/medium rear tyre combination he began the session on.

In the closing stages a number of riders elected for fresh rubber, with Martin the only one opting for a new soft rear tyre for a late time attack.

He produced a 1m39.579s with just under five minutes to go to move to the top of the standings and wouldn’t be bettered as the chequered flag came out.

Marquez shadowed him by 0.292s, with Binder completing the top three with a 1m39.958s after a late run on a fresh medium rear.

Acosta was just 0.008s behind his factory KTM counterpart, with Espargaro fifth from Gresini’s Alex Marquez – who also didn’t run fresh tyres late in the session.

Francesco Bagnaia – another to remain with the tyres he started the session on — was seventh on his factory team Ducati from Tech3’s Augusto Fernandez, while KTM’s Jack Miller and Trackhouse Racing’s  Raul Fernandez rounded out the top 10.

LCR’s Johann Zarco was the leading Honda  in 13th as he tried a new exhaust and revised aerodynamics, while Fabio Quartararo led the Yamaha charge on the M1’s new aero package in 15th.

MotoGP Catalan GP — FP1 results:

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