Round Six – Mugello
Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) stole the headlines on Friday in the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, with the rookies taking a 1-2 and split by just 0.046 at the top – making it the first time since Qatar 2008 qualifying, when Jorge Lorenzo took his debut pole ahead of Brit James Toseland, that two rookies have topped a full session.
Their closest competition came from Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) as the Italian was just under a tenth in arrears in P3, with some big names outside the top ten: Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati), Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team).
Conditions were a stark contrast to Le Mans as the sun shone over the stunning Tuscan countryside in Mugello, and as the clock ticked down, every rider apart from LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) had improved on their FP1 times with just under 20 minutes to go. As is oft the case in MotoGP FP2, however, most of the chopping and changing came in the final ten minutes.
FP1 leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was sat at the top of the times for most of FP2, followed by a quintet of Ducatis, before Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales then jumped into the top four and fellow Yamaha rider Quartararo moved up into P3 as the timing screens lit up with red sectors.
Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) was the next to strike as he took over at the top, before Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro stuck in the first 1:46 of the weekend to take P1 and impress once again.
Petrucci and Quartararo then exchanged fastest times at the top, but with seconds to go there was another Italian on the march: Bagnaia, who improved drastically from a P17 in FP1 to delight the home crowd. That pushed Quartararo down to second, but only by half-a-tenth, with Petrucci in P3 and Pol Espargaro keeping hold of his top four.
Pecco Bagnaia – P1
“I’m very happy because the work we’re doing is paying off. We have improved in the last races and the feeling was very good already in the FP1. The time attack came well and that’s why I’m satisfied. Tomorrow it will be very important to qualify directly for the Q2.”
Fabio Quartararo – P2
“This track is incredible. I’m enjoying myself a lot on this bike. I feel good under braking and the bike turns really well, so I’m making the most of this and I will do my best to be as fast as possible. I think it’s the first time I have enjoyed myself in this way at this track. We need to review the data but I think that it will be really difficult to get onto the front row of the grid here, because there are many riders whose times are close together. Tomorrow we will continue working on the tyre choice for the race and we will try to have a good qualifying session.”
Danilo Petrucci – P3
“Today the feeling with the bike was quite good, even though I’m not in perfect shape physically since I have a cold. Both sessions went quite well, even though the track doesn’t have much grip at the moment, to the point that you don’t feel a big difference even with a new soft rear tyre. So far, I’m still losing some time in the final sector, where I struggle to make the bike turn as I’d want to and I still can’t pick the lines I’d like to in the last corner. This is what we’ll focus on first, analyzing and comparing data. We need to stay focused and get ready for a fight during qualifying, because we’re all close at the top. Our goal is to fight for pole position, or the first two rows at least.”
Viñales didn’t lose too much ground to end the day in fifth after a more difficult FP1 down the timesheets, with Marquez down in P6 as he looks to take his third win in a row.
Maverick Vinales – P5
“In the afternoon I improved my riding. Just by riding the bike, and by trying to make myself smaller around the whole track, is where I found some time, but still the bike is very difficult, it’s so nervous. I couldn’t ride really well. We need to keep working and try to be better tomorrow. I’m struggling everywhere, so we need to improve and work in a good way if we want to fight for the race. Getting a first or second row for tomorrow will be very important. It’s such a long track, so you need to start at the front.”
Marc Marquez – P6
“Today we worked just with the tyres for the race. I am still a little bit sick from yesterday and also the bike wasn’t 100% either, hopefully a good night’s rest will help us both to be back at 100% tomorrow! Even like this we aren’t far and we just need to keep pushing tomorrow. It’s Friday and we didn’t put a new tyre in at the end so we are still feeling good.”
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) is pushing to recover from a tougher French GP, was seventh quickest on Friday, ahead of LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow in eighth.
Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) took P9 after a late crash for the Australian that dropped him out of the running for the front row.
Jack Miller – P9
“I was going very fast in the time attack but I found some riders who were slowing down and I crashed. I am still very satisfied because the feeling is extremely positive and the race pace is good. Tomorrow I will give my best in FP3 to qualify directly to Q2. I’m confident.”
Italian Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completed the top ten and list of provisional automatic graduates to Q2.
Andrea Dovizioso – P11
“All in all, we’re actually not that far. I still haven’t found the best feeling with my Desmosedici GP, even though we’re quite competitive in terms of race pace. During FP2 we tried and compared two quite different setups, both with positives and negatives, so now we need to be smart putting together all the data to find the best possible compromise. As we were expecting, compared with recent years, there are more fast riders who can fight at the top and some of our advantages perhaps are not that obvious anymore, but we’ve just started and I’m confident that working methodically, as we always do, we’ll be in the mix both during qualifying and the race.”
So who’s missing? Dovizioso is in P11 so not far off, with Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) just behind him despite a big off for the Frenchman.
Aliens Valentino Rossi is P18 and Jorge Lorenzo P20 after Day 1, and the two have a combined total of 13 premier class wins at Mugello.
Valentino Rossi – P18
“It was a difficult day, I expected to be more competitive, but already from this morning I wasn’t very fast. I wasn’t feeling very well, and I wasn’t able to ride in a very good way. In fact, my position is quite bad, so we have to improve. This afternoon we tried the hard tyres, but the pace isn’t fantastic. We need to improve in other areas than just top speed, because the other Yamahas are quite fast.”
Jorge Lorenzo – P20
“Of course we can’t be happy with 20th, it’s not a good position to be in. But today at the end of FP2 everyone fitted the soft and I stayed working with the harder tyre because I feel we will be able to profit more tomorrow morning. My pace is not so far from everyone else but we still need to improve our one lap pace a bit. I think we could have been top ten with a new tyre. Tomorrow we will see.”
FP3 will be pivotal for both Lorenzo and Rossi, but there’s no need to panic just yet: with good weather forecast it should provide a thrilling time-attack from the whole grid and they’re sure to play a part on Saturday morning.
Sky Racing Team VR46’s Luca Marini concluded the opening day of the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley as the man to beat in Moto2, leading FP1 and following it up by going fastest in FP2. It was close, however, with Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) just 0.008 seconds off by the end of play. 2017 winner Mattia Pasini (Petronas Sprinta Racing), replacing the injured Khairul Idham Pawi, made it two Italians inside the top three as he ended Friday in third.
Lüthi’s teammate Marcel Schrötter was back at the sharp end under the sunny Tuscan skies on Day 1 too, with both Dynavolt Intact GP riders finding a big improvement from FP1. Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) rounded out the top five and was top rookie on home turf, making it a top first day for the team as neither Marini nor Bulega have finished inside the top five so far this season so far.
MB Conveyors Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro was P6 and just over half a second adrift of Marini, and he was the first non-Kalex rider once again, although closely followed by the Red Bull KTM Ajo of rookie Jorge Martin after a solid opening day from the Spaniard.
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), meanwhile, was the only man in the field not to improve on his FP1 time and as a result slipped to eighth overall. The French GP winner crashed out at Turn 1 halfway through the session and was unhurt but as a result ended the session two tenths off of his best lap from the morning.
Italtrans Racing Team’s Enea Bastianini was ninth quickest ahead of fellow Italian rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up) after a top day for the debutants – four of them were in the top ten – with veteran Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) in 11th as he looks to repeat his Le Mans pace on homesoil.
Ahead of FP3 on Saturday, the provisional remaining places in Q2 are heading to Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), with Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri in 18th after Day 1. He is, however, only 0.902 behind Marini and made a pretty good comeback after a tougher Friday in Jerez…
Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Marco Bezzecchi, meanwhile, was the source of some drama as he crashed out at Turn 5 but, despite a trip to the medical centre, he was thankfully declared fit for his home round and will be back out on track for FP3.
|10||F.Di Giannanto Ita||1’52.793||1’52.617||0.631|
|30||D.Ekky Pratam Ina||1’57.967||1’55.549||3.563|
SIC58 Squadra Corse’s Tatsuki Suzuki took top Moto3 honours on Day 1 at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, putting in a 1:57.467 in FP2 to fend off a superstar Friday from Italian wildcard Kevin Zannoni (RGR TM Official Team). Second Italian Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) completes the top three at Mugello – all within an incredible half a tenth – with Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) on the chase in P4, just 0.073 off the top and after topping FP1.
Beautiful sunny skies met the grid on Friday and the timesheets in Moto3 made for a spectacle in themselves: Suzuki’s fastest lap was 1.6 seconds quicker than he went in the morning, Zannoni two seconds faster and Arbolino over a second – with many of the big improvers leaving it late. The likes of Antonelli also shaved a good chunk off their laptimes in the afternoon but he was a consistent presence in the top echelons, as was John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) as he ended the day fifth overall.
Another close trio followed from P6 to P8, with Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3), Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) locked within just over half a tenth. Rodrigo was also second in FP1, but Sasaki and Ramirez both made huge improvements in both laptime and position by the end of play in FP2.
Italian veteran Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers), who won the race in 2014, was ninth fastest and just over three tenths off Suzuki, with Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) completing the top ten in a solid opening day for the South African.
Some names looking for more on Saturday will be Championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) down in P12, key rival Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) in P14 and Qatar winner Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia), who ended Day 1 in a difficult P23.
It’s the fastest 14 on the combined times after FP3 who’ll go straight through to Qualifying 2, has Friday decided it or will we see a Saturday morning shuffle?
|14||L.Dalla Porta Ita||1’58.608||1’58.127||0.660|
World Championship Standings
MotoGP World Championship Standings
Moto2 World Championship Standings
|3||Jorge Navarro||Speed Up||64|
|18||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Speed Up||13|
|22||Dominique Aegerter||MV Agusta||5|
|23||Khairul Idham Pawi||Kalex||3|
|27||Stefano Manzi||MV Agusta||1|
|34||Gabriele Ruiu||MV Agusta||0|
|35||Dimas Ekky Pratama||Kalex||0|
Moto3 World Championship Standings
|2||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Honda||60|