2020 MotoGP Round 12 – Aragon II
Friday Practice Times / Report / Quotes
With a fresh new contract with HRC announced on Thursday, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) hit the ground running on Friday at the Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel, nearly two-tenths clear to end the day fastest ahead of Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP).
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) made it two Hondas in the top three as he took third overall, bouncing back from a technical issue in the morning, but Honda had also made it a 1-2 in FP1 with Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) dominating ahead of Nakagami as the Japanese marque was on fire on Friday.
At the other end of the ledger the last five positions on the timesheets on Friday were all Ducati, the highest finishing Bologna bike was Zarco in 13th but the rest of the red bikes filled positions 17th through 21st…
Alex Marquez opened his weekend with absolute domination in FP1, the rookie setting a time attack to pull over four tenths clear of 2021 teammate Nakagami on his tail. Marquez did crash late in the session – a carbon copy of his moment during the race last weekend but this time it proving enough to send him into the gravel – but rider ok and already well ahead of the field. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) was fourth overall too to make more good reading for Honda, and lost out to third by just 0.010 to Championship leader Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar). Bradl also tried a new carbon-reinforced chassis on Friday.
Mir was 0.819 down but third, starting the weekend as the highest Championship challenger. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completed the top five, with Maverick Viñales the next of the top four in the title fight as he took sixth in FP1.
Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) was the top Ducati in P7 although just over a second off Marquez, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) right behind him. Aleix’s younger brother Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the top Austrian machine a fitting 0.041 off the number 41, with Crutchlow completing the top ten by just 0.010 despite a technical problem at Turn 15. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) was denied the top ten by only 0.004.
Morbidelli was fastest in the opening stages of the afternoon session as plenty of riders went immediately quicker than they did in the morning, the Italian leading from Zarco and Quartararo early doors. With ten minutes gone, ‘El Diablo’ and title rival Joan Mir played a bit of cat and mouse on track too.
Initially, the Suzuki rider was ahead and got the dashboard message of who was following him, keeping it pinned for another couple of sectors before rolling off and letting the Yamaha past. Mir then kept on Quartararo’s tail before, next time round after Turn 1, it was the Yamaha rider’s turn to roll off and let his rival through as they switched formation again. And remained close together on track…
Not long after that, Nakagami struck to take over from Morbidelli at the top, although the laptimes remained slower than Alex Marquez’ FP1 time. Next, Pol Espargaro shot up to P2 with 18 minutes to go to shuffle Morbidelli down further, but work still seemed focused on race setups for most. The classic Friday time attack was about to begin with 12 minutes to go, however, with those crucial top ten provisional places in Q2 up for grabs.
First Aleix Espargaro moved up into P3 before Championship leader Mir then became the first to depose Nakagami, a 1:41.182 seeing the Suzuki man go top of the pile with the fastest lap of the weekend. Teammate Alex Rins went P6 a few seconds after, before Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) shot into the top 10 in the session.
Mir was on another fast lap, but Nakagami then raised the bar. The Japanese rider set the first 1:47 of the weekend to go 0.251 clear of Mir and lay down quite a marker. Crutchlow and Bradl also moved into the top six as Lecuona shot to P3 with a great lap, but Nakagami was another two tenths under his time in Sector 3 next time around. A 1:47.782 saw him extend his lead even further, as Crutchlow made it an LCR Honda 1-2 moments later. Quartararo then moved up into the top three, and that was his final shot at the top.
Would anyone be able to ruin the Honda stranglehold? They would. After a red sector and then losing a little more time on a previous run at it, Viñales’ final lap of the day split the LCR Honda teammates as he slotted into second. The number 12 was only the second rider in the 1:47s, but still nearly two tenths off the top.
And so it’s Nakagami who ends the day on top on the combined timesheets, ahead of Viñales’ late lunge and Crutchlow’s P3. Quartararo was fourth overall on Friday, half a tenth off third, but he had even closer company from Mir right behind him once again, with the points leader ending the day in fifth overall and 0.018 off the Frenchman.
After finishing P1 on the FP1 timesheets, a mistake on a fast lap sees Alex Marquez drop to P6 on the combined standings by virtue of his fastest lap in the morning, that putting him only 0.002 off Mir overall. Aragon GP winner Rins ended Day 1 in P7, with Marquez splitting the Suzukis.
The quickest KTM was rookie Lecuona as the Spaniard goes from P15 to P8 on Day 1, ending Friday just ahead of the Espargaro brothers. The leader of those was Aleix Espargaro, the Aprilia man ninth overall, with Pol Espargaro holding onto the final provisional automatic Q2 spot in P10 – 0.013 off Aleix’s best.
It’s just 0.657 covering the leading 10 competitors, but the gaps don’t get any bigger. Bradl was 11th on Day 1 after another impressive performance, just 0.005 off the top ten, with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), Zarco, Binder and Morbidelli rounding out the fastest fifteen on Friday.
So where are the other Ducatis? It was a tough opener for the Borgo Panigale factory. Zarco was the quickest in P13, with Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) in 17th, Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) 18th, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) 19th, Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) – who also crashed – 20th and Tito Rabat (Esponsorama Racing) locking out the final places on the timesheets. They’ll be hoping for a lot more on Saturday morning as FP3 decides the final top ten automatic graduates to Q2.
Friday MotoGP Rider Reflections
Takaaki Nakagami – P1
“It was a good first day, I’m pretty happy with our race pace from FP1. Today was a little bit windy in FP1, but despite that we were really competitive and with the soft compound on the rear for a qualifying lap we did the best lap time. I’m riding pretty well and the bike is so good, so we’ll just try to repeat what we’re doing. Hopefully we can have another good day tomorrow and get a good result in qualifying which is so important for Sunday. Hopefully we can fight for the first or second row.”
Maverick Vinales – P2
“I think today was quite good, because I noticed an improvement. Actually, the track seemed to have less grip today compared to last week. That makes setting good lap times more difficult, but we did a good job anyway. We also need to take into consideration that we tried many things on the bike today, so that also made it hard to concentrate on getting a good rhythm. But riding consistent 1‘49s on medium tyres and with a full tank is positive. I only put in a time attack at the end of FP2, and it was good. When I did the time attack I was on my other bike, so it was difficult to do a good lap but, anyway, I‘m happy. We have reasons to be positive, because we found good things for tomorrow. Tomorrow we are going to concentrate on the rhythm, keep the good lines, do a perfect lap in qualifying, and see if we can improve the race pace a little bit in general. I know I can be really fast at the start of the race with the soft front, but we saw last week that we need to push more in the second half, so that‘s why I think the medium option will be better this Sunday.”
Cal Crutchlow – P3
“Today I didn’t feel fantastic on the bike with the settings from last week’s race. We also tried some other settings, but I think we were quite affected by the wind today and I didn’t feel 100% on the bike. We had a small technical issue in FP1 which cost us a couple of laps and in the afternoon I tried the hard rear tyre which I don’t think the track temperature was good enough to use, but we at least had to try. Then I was able to push a little bit in the second and third runs which was good enough to put me in the top three today. The team are working very, very well and also Honda are around, so I’m looking forward to qualifying day tomorrow.”
Fabio Quartararo – P4
“We tried lots of things today, especially in the rear end of the bike; some things worked, while others didn’t. There are still some things we need to improve with the bike, and to improve our race pace, but it was a positive day overall and I think we are in a good position for tomorrow. It’s been good today to follow some other riders that were successful here last week, as you can always learn something from them, and I can see where I was losing time to them. I think there are three corners that we are weaker in but I know what I need to work on and how to improve. I still have a bit of a bruise on my leg, but it isn’t bothering me and physically I’m fine.”
Joan Mir – P5
“It was quite tough today because I did a lot of laps and tried a lot of different settings in order to work towards the race, but I’m really happy and feeling positive. I did a lot of laps with a used tyre today and I think that could pay off in the race. I didn’t set a really fast lap today but I feel really good with the bike and I’m looking forward to trying to get a good qualifying tomorrow.”
Alex Marquez – P6
“We’ve had a good first day here in Aragon, building from last weekend and continuing step by step. I had a small crash at the end of FP1 when I was pushing for a fast lap, but I am fine, and it was right at the end of the session. The time was looking good, but we were still able to stay in the top ten. The weather is better this week which is making things a little more straight forward, still some details to focus on for tomorrow but we have started well.”
Alex Rins – P7
“Today went well. The track conditions are better this week and that makes everything a little easier. I focused on setup, to see where I can gain a bit more, especially on braking and grip levels. My last run with the soft tyre, which I prefer to the medium, felt pretty good. Tomorrow in FP3 I’ll try a few more things in order to prepare for qualifying and let’s see what we can do.”
Iker Lecuona – P8
“I’m really satisfied with today. This morning, I was already quite quick, but I knew we need to change something on the bike, because in some places we felt already at the limit. This afternoon, I tried a new base, which felt a bit strange in the beginning, but I was already faster. On my fastest lap, I was alone and I worked a lot with this changed bike to improve and finally I finished eighth, very close to the top guys. I’m really happy. I hope we can continue like this tomorrow and try to make it to Q2.”
Aleix Espargaro – P9
“I found a good feeling straight away today – much better than seven days ago. We tried two different setups on the two bikes and we were able to find the right direction to get the RS-GP working well on this circuit. In the coming days it appear that the temperatures will continue to rise, so that could help us even more. The goal in FP3 tomorrow is to confirm the top 10, whereas in qualifying it would be important to start from the first two rows.”
Stefan Bradl – P11
“I am feeling pretty good today, it’s a good boost to be further up in the time sheets. We are improving and we have had two good practices after making a good step and trying some new things. I hope to continue in this way for the rest of the weekend. There has not been a magic part that has changed, this is what we have been working on for a while with the setting of the bike. There’s a couple of things to try tomorrow as well, let’s see what it will bring.”
Miguel Oliveira – P12
“Overall it was a good day of work here in Aragón today. We improved the bike. Already since this morning I felt a bit more competitive. Now in the afternoon, it was a bit difficult for me to do the lap time. At the end, we still have a couple of things to improve for tomorrow, but in general I feel a bit more competitive than last weekend here.”
Johann Zarco – P13
“A bit disappointed with today because I am not in the top 10 and the ducatis are not as strong as we expected. I think we could have gone a bit faster with the new tire but I didn’t know how to get the most out of it. Today we have done a very good job, and we hope that tomorrow we can improve and get to Q2.”
Franco Morbidelli – P15
“Today I felt quite good and we were able to work on the bike a little bit, able to improve the feeling slightly. We improved how the bike handles mid-corner and I was able to feel the difference immediately. I’m happy about that, although the final position from today is not great. We know we need to find a little bit of speed to help us in FP3 and qualifying. The morning conditions were quite good and tomorrow it is supposed to be even better, so I’m confident of completing a lap to go straight to Q2. So, tomorrow the aim will be to try to get into the top-ten and improve the bike further, in particular under braking. We will see what happens.”
Bradley Smith – P16
“I’m quite satisfied with our work today. We tried a few new things, including a rear shock, which gave us good feedback. I’m a bit disappointed about not being able to take full advantage of the new tyre. Unfortunately, in the final stages of FP2 I found myself behind some slower riders and that basically ruined my laps. With the medium, on the other hand, I found a good feeling – decidedly better than last week – and that is a good start.”
Danilo Petrucci – P17
“Compared to last Friday, today we managed to be more consistent, but unfortunately our rivals have also made progress compared to the past weekend. We have not yet identified which rubber is suitable for the race, and we are also having grip problems in the middle of the corner, which doesn’t allow us to be fast. Fortunately, we still have some ideas to try, and we hope they will allow us to enter the top 10 in FP3 tomorrow morning.”
Jack Miller – P18
“The bike has worked well and we have taken a step forward compared to last week, I am very confident, we will continue to work hard in anticipation of Sunday’s race. Today the strong wind has bothered me a bit, especially in turns 1 and 2.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P19
“It was a difficult day, and the wind didn’t help us. Unfortunately, we have had some problems which have not allowed us to complete the work programme that we had set ourselves for today. We hope to be able to find better conditions tomorrow morning and be able to ensure a good place in qualifying”.
Pecco Bagnaia – P20
“This afternoon we made some change and I really enjoyed. I think we took a big step forward from the morning session to the afternoon session. I have a better feeling than last week but we still need to improve but I have good feelings.”
Tito Rabat – P21
“It has been a difficult day in which things have not turned out quite as we expected. Today we have focused more on working towards the race and tomorrow we will look for a fast lap “
Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager
“It’s been positive today, the riders were putting in good laps and both of them are in the Top 10, which is especially good considering that the second week at the same circuit usually means everybody becomes more competitive. We worked a lot today in terms of geometry, settings, and tyres. So now we’ll analyse the data overnight and see if there’s anywhere we can improve compared to last weekend.”
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director
“We used today‘s session mainly to work on perfecting last Sunday‘s race setting, using the data we collected as well as Maverick‘s post-race feedback. He felt a drop of the tyre after one third of the race distance. But apart from that, the area that he asked us to improve for this GP was the grip on the maximum lean angle. Both in FP1 and FP2 we continuously tried different solutions until he did a time attack at the end. The weather and track conditions today also allowed us to test the medium tyre option, which we couldn’t try last time, and we collected important information for the final tyre choice for Sunday’s race. In FP3 we will keep working on the direction we took today. If the rider is satisfied when the setting is finalised, we will also dedicate some time to working on race pace during FP4. Of course, it remains a strange situation for our team to have only one rider this weekend. The good news is that Vale is feeling better. He doesn‘t have Covid-19 symptoms anymore and hopes that his test results this Monday will be negative so he can join us again for the races in Valencia.”
Friday MotoGP Combined Practice Times
Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) continued his familiarity with the top of the timesheets at MotorLand on Friday in the Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel, the Brit ending the day fastest overall. Jorge Navarro (Lightech Speed Up) ran him close, however, just half a tenth off to bounce back from a crash in FP1. Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) ended the day in an impressive P3, 0.260 off the top.
Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) struck late in FP1 to top the first session of the weekend, denying Aragon GP winner and teammate Sam Lowes with a late 1:52.623 to pull 0.134 clear of the Brit. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Lightech Speed Up) kept his pace rolling from last weekend to complete the top three, another two tenths down, and showing Speed Up’s pace at the venue once again.
The morning began with a few familiar names from the Aragon GP fighting it out for first as Lowes, Di Giannantonio and Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) proved the fastest out the blocks, with Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) also very much in touch. The two Sky Racing Team VR46 riders were leapfrogged by the flag, however, with Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) all leaping up the timesheets later in the session. They locked out fourth to sixth in that order, leaving Bezzecchi down in seventh.
Navarro was eighth in FP1 and just lost out to Bezzecchi by 0.010, the Spaniard also recovering from an early crash to bounce back. Navarro in turn got the better of ninth-placed Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) by an equally tiny gap of 0.014 as it closed up throughout the tight top ten.
Luca Marini ultimately completed that top ten in FP1, denying Championship leader Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) by a smidge as the ‘Beast’ finished the morning in P11. Aragon GP podium finisher Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), meanwhile, took P17…
Almost immediately in FP2, Lowes went six tenths quicker than his teammate in FP1 and on his next lap, the Brit was faster again. Lowes was lightning out the box but so was Edgar Pons (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) as he found time too.
After a good start to the session though, Pons crashed at Turn 8 and subsequently, his Kalex-Triumph slid through the gravel, down the hill and back onto the track at the Turn 9 apex. The session was briefly red-flagged with just under 25 minutes to go to clear the gravel.
Once underway again, Bezzecchi became the next to crash, the Italian at Turn 3 – rider ok. Lowes sat 0.2 clear of Garzo and Jake Dixon inside the top three at that point, but the number 22 would be next to take a tumble. Almost identical to Pons’ incident, gravel once again brought out the Red Flags.
Once back underway for the second time, with nine minutes left on the clock, Navarro was able to cut Lowes’ advantage down to less than a tenth. There were a few more improvers late on near the top too, so it’s Lowes leading Navarro ahead of Garzo, with Di Giannantonio and Joe Roberts rounding out the top five – the American just 0.001 off ‘Diggia’.
Jorge Martin put in a late lunge back towards the front as the Aragon GP winner took sixth, 0.415 back. Dixon drops to P7 overall, with Gardner, Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Pons rounding out the top 10.
Bezzecchi was forced to settle for 11th on Day 1, ahead of Fernandez as the Spaniard took P12 by virtue of his FP1 time. Hafizh Syahrin (Inde Aspar Team) was next up, with Championship leader Bastianini rounding out the fastest 14 and currently the last rider set to move through to Q2…
So where’s Marini? Down in P23 after a tougher day on the timesheets.
Friday Moto2 Combined Practice Times
|4||F.Di Giannanto Ita||SPEED UP||+0.289|
|27||L.Dalla Porta Ita||KALEX||+1.644|
Aragon GP winner Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) remains the man to beat at MotorLand after Day 1 of the Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel, going fastest in FP1 and no one able to depose him in the afternoon. It was close, however, with Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) fastest in FP2 to cut the gap to just four thousandths. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) completed the top three, still within a tenth and a half of the top.
Masia started where he left off last weekend, the Spaniard leaving it late but topping the session from Fenati. Everybody inside the top 17 improved in the final five minutes in a late dash for the top, and Masia’s 1:58.076 was enough to see him take it.
Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) opened his weekend in fine form in third overall, with times already homing in on what would have been good enough for the front two rows of the grid last weekend and much warmer track and ambient temperatures on a sunny Teruel Friday.
Championship leader Albert Arenas (Solunion Aspar Team Moto3) started the weekend fourth on the timesheets, maintaining his solid speed at the venue, ahead of an impressive return for Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team), who was fifth. The Italian is back from his mandatory self-isolation after contact with a case of Covid-19, and he missed the Aragon GP – so it was his first taste of the track since last year.
Fresh from re-signing with Petronas Sprinta Racing, John McPhee was sixth tenths adrift on Friday morning in sixth, closely followed by Alcoba and Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46). Completing the top ten were Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse).
Second in the Championship, Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia), started the weekend in P24.
There was only one crasher: Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46). The Italian slid out at Turn 8 aka the Aragon corkscrew, no harm done.
In the afternoon it was Aragon GP poleman and podium finisher Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) who led for much of the middle part of the session, but Alcoba struck late to go fastest and then beat his own best to guarantee P1 in FP2 by just under a tenth and a half. Third in the afternoon went the way of Rodrigo, and the Argentinean rider was also the protagonist of some drama as he crashed at Turn 14 and Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PrüstelGP) had to take some avoiding action through the gravel, riders ok.
Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) was fourth fastest in the afternoon ahead of a much improved session from Ogura in fifth, the two with a little clear air ahead of McPhee in P6 once again. Arenas was tenth ahead of Arbolino, with Vietti down in P16.
The overall timesheets, however, are a mix of FP1 and FP2 – and the top was decided by just 0.004 in favour of Masia. The Aragon GP winner’s FP1 lap edged out Alcoba’s FP2 best, with Fenati’s FP1 time putting the Husqvarna rider in third overall.
Fernandez lost out to Fenati by just 0.008 as he was forced to settle for fourth, with Rodrigo and Binder locking out fifth and sixth courtesy of their afternoon laptimes as well – and split by just 0.005. Öncu was shuffled down to seventh overall with the FP1 lap that saw him end the morning in third, again by a tiny margin – this time 0.006.
Ogura was eighth overall and the fastest of the top five in the Championship, with three key competitors right behind him. Arenas was the next as he took P9 but 0.187 off his closest Championship rival, with McPhee completing the top ten ahead of Arbolino. As it stands, Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing), Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) are currently the last riders with a provisional place in Q2… with Vietti ending the day in P15 overall and unable to improve in the afternoon.
Friday Moto3 Combined Practice Times
MotoGP World Championship Standings
2020 MotoGP Calendar
|12||25 October||MotorLand Aragón|
|13||08 November||Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo|
|14||15 November||Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo|
|15||22 November||Autodromo Internacional do Algarve|
Aragon Schedule (AEST)