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MotoGP Pre-Season Tests: Vinales Tops While Marquez Makes Ducati Debut

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Salman Khan
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MotoGP Pre-Season Tests: Vinales Tops While Marquez Makes Ducati Debut

In a thrilling herald of the 2024 MotoGP season, Aprilia's Maverick Vinales clocked the fastest lap time of 1'29.253 at the pre-season tests in Valencia. Trailing him were Brad Binder on KTM and Marco Bezzecchi, while the spotlight was also on Marc Marquez as he debuted with Ducati on the Gresini team, securing the fourth fastest time. His promising adaptation comes after an 11-year stint with Honda.

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Marquez's Ducati Debut

Marquez, the eight-time World Champion, had his first day with Ducati marked with a robust performance, being just 0.171s off Vinales' best pace. His smooth transition to the new team and bike sets an exciting precedent for the upcoming season. Meanwhile, reigning World Champion Francesco Bagnaia tested the new Ducati GP24 with an updated engine, finishing 11th. Despite not attempting a time attack, Bagnaia expressed satisfaction with the technical updates.

Italian Riders Make Their Debuts

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Other Italian riders—Franco Morbidelli on Pramac, Luca Marini on HRC, and Fabio Di Giannantonio on VR46—made their debuts. Marini finished in the top ten, indicating a strong start to the season. Yamaha riders, including Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins, lagged in terms of time attack, with Quartararo finishing in 13th place. Nonetheless, riders like Raul Fernandez showed improvement in their times.

Looking Forward to Sepang

Despite a couple of minor falls, Jorge Martin and rookie Pedro Acosta completed their tests without major issues. Enea Bastianini, ending his day in eighth position with a best time of 1:29.796, felt more confident with the new setup. The next testing session is scheduled for February at Sepang, where the final prototypes for the 2024 season will be evaluated.

The Valencia pre-season tests concluded, revealing not only improvements but also areas to be worked on. With Bagnaia finishing his test with a lap time of 1'29.970, placing eighth at the time, Ducati is set to celebrate his consecutive titles and other champions while keeping an eager eye on Marquez's progress.

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