Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) stole the headlines on Day 1 at the Gran Premio Tribul Mastercard di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, taking to the top late on in the final stages of FP2 as a top ten shootout got underway.
Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took second by only 0.005 seconds, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) – the Championship leader – only another 0.058 further back.
Maverick Vinales – P2
“I feel good, because I did many laps on the tyres and that was the work I wanted to do, especially during FP2, getting the tyres to work for the full amount of laps of the race. Honestly, I‘m quite surprised that the rhythm was really good and I‘m quite happy about how the bike was working. Still we have to improve, because the lap times weren‘t as fast as we thought we could do. I‘m using the 2018 prototype chassis, because already when I tested in Misano, I felt good and more comfortable on the bike, which is really important for me, as a rider, to be ‘in the flow‘. I will continue to use it until the end of the season, because it has been an improvement.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P3
“I’m pleased with the job we did today, even though we found conditions that were different from the test so we had to revise our set-up. In any case we’ve got a good pace, but I haven’t yet found the perfect feeling with my bike. We are in line with the quickest guys, but I’m sure that many riders will go quicker tomorrow, so we’ll have to work to our best to remain in the group of top riders tomorrow.”
With the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend looking changeable, the grid were looking to get into that top ten for provisional direct entry into Q2 qualifying. After the day dawned damp, conditions were good for slicks in FP1 but improved in FP2, setting the stage for a good battle in the final minutes.
Behind the top three in that battle, it remained incredibly tight: Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) was only 0.052 off third and just over a tenth off the top, with the 2016 winner also heading the timesheets briefly towards the end of the day’s action.
Dani Pedrosa – P4
“This morning the track conditions were not 100% after the yesterday’s rain, and even though they improved this afternoon, the grip wasn’t as good as when we came here for the test about two weeks ago. Anyway, we were able to do quite a lot of work, especially on the tyres, looking to understand which one adapts better to the track, and also on the suspension settings. Tomorrow we’ll keep working on the tyre choice and we’ll also concentrate to improve in the third sector, where we’re still missing something.”
Pedrosa headed teammate Marc Marquez, who went down in a fast but low drama lowside at Turn 16 near the end of the second session – just getting back out on his second bike and completing the top five. Marquez had been quickest in FP1, however.
Marc Marquez – P5
“I’m quite happy with today. Just the small crash at the end was a bit of shame, but in general I felt good on the bike from the beginning, which is positive. We also started FP2 very well, but then we decided to try a few different things on the setup that didn’t work as expected. That aside, I’m feeling comfortable at this track and we’re working very well. Tomorrow we’ll work more on the tyre choice, focusing on the hard option in order to make a few comparisons with what we did today.”
Another crasher was LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, who crashed at Turn 15, but the Brit was able to rejoin and ended Day 1 in an impressive P6 despite struggling with a finger injury sustained ahead of the event.
Michele Pirro – Ducati test rider – was impressive once again after going second in FP1, taking P7 by the end of action on Friday.
Michele Pirro – P7
“It was a positive day and even though the conditions changed a lot between the morning and the afternoon, we managed to carry out our set-up work programme in view of the race. However we still have to modify something in the electronics and the suspension because we are finding a lot less grip than in the test we did here in August. I’m confident for tomorrow and I hope to do a good qualifying.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) took P8, having run second for some time before the times tumbled even further.
Jorge Lorenzo – P8
“It was rather a difficult day today because after the rain that fell last night, the track conditions changed a lot and there is a lot less grip than in the test three weeks ago. I hope the track will improve tomorrow, but in any case we have to work hard to adapt the bike to the new conditions.”
Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuk Ecstar) had a solid start to his home GP in ninth, with the Italian well set should the weather change on Saturday.
The top ten was completed by EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat.
Tito Rabat – P10
“Today has been a very positive one and we have been able to build on the good feeling we discovered with the bike at the last round in Silverstone. I have good confidence with the front-end and good rear grip, and this allows me to push harder without feeling so much on the limit. I felt very strong in FP2 and it is good to see myself in the top 10. You never know what can happen in MotoGP, particularly with the weather, so it is always important to try and get in a good lap time when you can. Even if it is dry for FP3 then let’s hope I can be fighting for the top 10 again because it would be great to get into Q2.”
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) took eleventh overall despite a crash in FP1, sporting a new aero-fairing and heading another crasher on Day 1 – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Johann Zarco.
Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) took P13 and edged out Reale Avinta Racing duo Loris Baz and Hector Barbera, who completed the top fifteen. Less than a second covered that top 15.
The opening day of action on the sun-blessed Adriatic Coast proved to be a challenging one for Jack Miller, who was unhurt in a small crash at the first corner in the second session. While content with his pace in race trim, Miller was not able to improve his speed by as much as he’d anticipated in FP2 after finishing an encouraging 13th in FP1. Further underlining the competitive nature of this year’s MotoGP World Championship, Miller may have found himself down in 18th place this afternoon, but he was only 1.1s off top spot.
Jack Miller – P18
“I feel reasonably happy with how the bike is feeling today but you can see from the final position that there are some places we can improve. It seems of late that when the guys switch to the time attack at the end of the session they can find a bigger chunk of time than me. I’m only able to find a couple of tenths on a new tyre than my pace on a used medium option. My race pace is not bad but we’ll need to find some more speed in FP3 tomorrow morning to try and get into that top 10 for Q2. Hopefully it will be dry so we get a good crack at it.”
MotoGP 2017 – Round 13 – Misano – Friday Combined Practice Times
ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 0.601
ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 0.683
BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team 0.706
BAZ Loris 76 FRA Reale Avintia Racing 0.823
BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Reale Avintia Racing 0.906
REDDING Scott 45 GBR Octo Pramac Racing 1.035
FOLGER Jonas 94 GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1.091
MILLER Jack 43 AUS Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1.180
ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1.268
ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team 1.447
SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1.611
LOWES Sam 22 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1.672
RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 1.821
Home hero 1-2 Pasini heading compatriot and Championship leader Morbidelli on Day 1
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) topped the timesheets on Day 1 at Misano, on a roll at the end of FP2 taking over from compatriot Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). Morbidelli ended the day in second but only 0.065 seconds back – with Silverstone winner Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) completing the top three.
One big headline of a different nature was the man quickest in FP1 – Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) – who suffered a highside at the end of the first session and was subsequently declared unfit. The “Pistolas” will be gunning to get back on track at Aragon to defend his run of wins on home turf so far in 2017.
On the timesheets, that left Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) taking fourth, ahead of Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira to make it three chassis in the top five – Kalex, Suter and KTM. Championship challenger Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) was sixth quickest and will be looking to move forward on Saturday as he fights to cut his 29 point deficit to Morbidelli.
Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) was the fastest rookie on Day 1 at his second home race of the year, taking seventh after a more muted session in the morning. The rookie was only 0.002 seconds off Lüthi and edged out Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) by the same tiny margin – meaning Corsi ended Friday in P8.
One crasher in the afternoon was Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia), but the Malaysian was uninjured and ends Friday in ninth for a solid start. Misano winner last year, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) locked out the top ten.
Stefano Manzi (Sky Racing Team VR46) backed up his impressive performance at Silverstone in P11, ahead of fellow rookie Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), who crashed twice on Friday but rider ok. Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) was P13, with Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team) and Axel Pons (RW Racing GP) completing the fastest fifteen on Friday.
Remy Gardner suffered a fall in the morning, but bravely returned to the track and then, in FP2, he pushed non-stop before ending up less than a second behind pacesetter Pasini but in the incredibly tight field that was only good enough for 21st.
Remy Gardner – P21
“Overall it was an ok day but we have to keep pushing. This morning, I had a small crash and I think I fell on a wet patch of asphalt. I damaged my finger, but I went back out on the track. Then, in the afternoon, FP2 was better yet, we are still searching for some more with the bike and the handling. We need to work hard this evening so that we can be ready for tomorrow, where I will do my best like always.”
Di Giannantonio stamps some authority on the #SanMarinoGP
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) hit the top late on Friday at the San Marino GP, going fastest in FP2 and therefore fastest overall as all riders improved in the afternoon following a damp start to the day. Teammate Jorge Martin was second quickest despite not running the risk of testing the conditions in the morning, with Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) – winner at Misano in 2015 and second last year – keeping some good momentum after his podium at Silverstone to go third quickest.
Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team) was P4 as he continues to show his great pace of late, ahead of two key men at the top of the standings. Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), currently third in the Championship, was the first of title challengers in P5, ahead of points leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), who was sixth quickest overall.
Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) was quick to bounce back from Silverstone in seventh, ahead of compatriot Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), who went fastest in FP1 and had a fast lap deleted in FP2 – leaving the man second in the standings in P8. Two home heroes completed the top ten: Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Marco Bezzechi (CIP).
Just outside that top ten but knocking on the door was Livio Loi (Leopard Racing), who headed Sky Racing Team VR46’s Nicolo Bulega as the former Moto3 Junior World Champion ended the day in P12. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took thirteenth, ahead of Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team). Second Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Andrea Migno – winner at Mugello – locked out the fastest fifteen.
There was also a performance of note from wildcard Kevin Zannoni, as the Althea Racing rider took P17 overall on Day 1.
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