Pol Espargaro takes first blood as MotoGP hit Rossi’s hometown

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

The year of Independent Team glory continues as Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider rules Day 1 at the #SanMarinoGP

After Movistar Yamaha MotoGP home hero Valentino Rossi went fastest in FP1 at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, his teammate and arch-rival Jorge Lorenzo struck back in the afternoon to initially top FP2 – before Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro made good on his great form in the morning to take the top spot. Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa was finally second quickest by the end of the day, ahead of home hero Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) – who took over in FP2 as the fastest Italian on Day 1.

Pol Espargaró, who had a big crash at the start of the British GP that saw him forced to pass a medical on Thursday ahead of the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, showed incredible pace during the first session of the day before pushing himself even further up to take the top spot in FP2 and prove fastest on Friday. 3-time world champion Dani Pedrosa got back to his front-running best at Misano, as he narrowly missed the top to end the second session and day in P2. Pedrosa, a former winner at the track, was the fastest Honda on Day 1 as teammate and points leader Marc Marquez ended Friday in P5.

Andrea Dovizioso was third fastest as the Ducati rider put in a last dash for the top, with red sectors but ultimately not quite taking over at the front. ‘DesmoDovi’, who twisted his knee in a crash in a private Ducati test at Misano before the British GP, looked on good form and leads the Borgo Panigale factory’s charge at another home venue, as teammate Andrea Iannone missed FP2 and underwent Medical Examination after a fast lowside crash in FP1.

Austrian GP first-time winner Iannone will be assessed once more on Saturday morning, with the Italian initially returning to the box before undergoing further examination at the mythical manufacturer’s second home race of the year.

Reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was fourth fastest after topping the second session of the day for a time, as the 5-time world champion gets back on soil that has seen him enjoy incredible success. Lorenzo’s race rhythm was consistent as is often the case, as the ‘Spartan’ just beat teammate Valentino Rossi in the combined times on Friday as the morning’s fastest rider ended the day P6.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) suffered a lowside in FP2 and ended the day in P7, ahead of Octo Pramac Yakhnich rider and compatriot Scott Redding. Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) was ninth, ahead of Silverstone winner Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who had a more difficult afternoon to round out the top ten.

One on-track incident of note saw Aleix Espargaro and Rossi get close in the final corner, with the Italian making sure Espargaro had a clear idea of his opinion on the event.

Jack Miller did well in FP1 but struggled as the temperatures rose in the afternoon.

Jack Miller – P16

“I felt great this morning and the bike was really comfortable to ride. I was really happy and I felt inside my comfort zone when I did my best lap in FP1. But it was a completely different story this afternoon and I couldn’t even get close to my best lap time even though it felt like I was pushing like crazy. I just didn’t feel comfortable. The track temperature increased by around 20 degrees and it completely transformed the performance of the bike. It is a big disappointment and I’ve got to look through the data tonight to come up with a solution for FP4 and qualifying tomorrow when it will be hot again.”

Click Here for Quotes and Images from the entire MotoGP field after day one at Misano

Jack Miller
Jack Miller
MotoGP 2016 Misano Free Practice Results - MotoGP
MotoGP 2016 Misano Free Practice Results – MotoGP
Nakagami remains top as FP2 concludes on the Riviera di Rimini
Takaaki Nakagami (JPN)
Takaaki Nakagami (JPN)

Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) went fastest on Friday at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, after proving the quickest man on track in FP1 and retaining the momentum to keep the top spot at the end of the day.

Reigning champion and points leader Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) was second quickest, with Lorenzo Baldassari (Forward Racing) proving the top Italian in P3.

Nakagami, who won his first race in the Dutch GP earlier in the year, has a great record at Misano World Circuit and will be looking to chase his second GP win of the season. With the championship so close at the top, contenders for the win who find themselves slightly further down the leaderboard could play a big role in the remainder of the season, and Nakagami staked his claim once again as a Moto2 frontrunner.

Zarco is another whose record at Misano makes for impressive reading, including the victory in 2015 on his way to the title, and the Frenchman faced down Day 1 of his pivotal weekend well with the second fastest time of the day. The gap at the top is now only ten points between Zarco and closest challenger Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40), with Rins also having a good start to the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini; in P4 on Friday. Fellow championship frontrunner Sam Lowes (Gresini Racing Moto2) had a more difficult day 1 at Misano, as the Brit was P12 on the timesheets by the end of FP2.

Lorenzo Baldassari (Forward Racing) put in a last dash in FP2 to take P3, with Silverstone winner Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) completing the top five in a solid first day of action in Misano. Jonas Folger made good on morning promise to end the day in P6 as the fastest Intact Dynavolt GP rider, with Simone Corsi the second home hero on the timesheets for Speed Up Racing. His compatriot Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) was eighth fastest on Day 1, just ahead of Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP). Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) completed the top ten on Friday at his home circuit of Misano, with teammate Alex Marquez ending the day in P13.

MotoGP 2016 Misano Free Practice Results - Moto2
MotoGP 2016 Misano Free Practice Results – Moto2
Bastianini lays down a marker on the Riviera di Rimini
Enea Bastianini (ITA)
Enea Bastianini (ITA)

2015 winner Bastianini leads the way into Saturday at home venue Misano

After an FP1 session that saw 2015 winner Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) take the top spot, the afternoon in Misano saw hotter track temperatures take over but the 2015 winner keep his place at the top of the timesheets, as the local rider dueled it out with Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Brad Binder. Binder, who leads the title chase by 86 points, ended the day in P2, ahead of Leopard Racing’s Austrian GP winner Joan Mir.

Bastianini took his first win at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in 2015, and the return to home soil for the Italian got off to a great start as he topped both sessions of the first day. Looking to move back up ahead of compatriot Francesco Bagnaia (Gaviota Mahindra Aspar) in the title fight into P3, the ‘Beast’ made his intentions clear on Friday. Binder, after a technical issue cut his FP1 slightly short, was back out in force on Friday afternoon as the South African points leader hovered near the top and was fastest for a time, before ending the day in P2. With an 86 point cushion at the top of the standings, Binder will feel confident ahead of qualifying. Joan Mir was third fastest with an impressive lap time for the Leopard Racing rookie, although the Spaniard did suffer a run off on another attempt at a hot lap. With the raw pace looking impressive, the Austrian GP winner set himself up well for the San Marino GP in P3.

Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) impressed on day 1 on the Riviera di Rimini to go fourth fastest, ahead of Bastianini’s rookie teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio, who had another great day in the world championship to lock out the top 5. Title contender Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was sixth, with Livio Loi (RW Racing GP BV) in P7 in an impressive Friday showing. Philipp Oettl (Schedl Racing GP) remained in P8 at the end of the day with his FP1 laptime, ahead of Andrea Migno. Migno was the fastest Sky Racing Team VR46 rider at their home GP in P9, with teammate Nicolo Bulega ending the day in P13.

Local rider Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) was ninth fastest in FP2 and tenth on combined times, ahead of Gaviota Mahindra Aspar rider Jorge Martin. Martin’s teammate Francesco Bagnaia was unable to finish his Friday as planned after a problem with the clutch, and was down in P17 for the final few minutes of the second session before ending up P25. The Italian and polesitter last time out will be looking to quickly move up the timesheets when he gets back out on track on Saturday as qualifying takes place for Mahindra’s 100th race in the world championship.

MotoGP 2016 Misano Free Practice Results - Moto3
MotoGP 2016 Misano Free Practice Results – Moto3