Takaaki Nakagami has finished the opening session at the Brno circuit fastest, as the top 16 was covered by half a second
Following on from his impressive performance in the Andalucian Grand Prix, Takaaki Nakagami has ended the opening session of the Czech Grand Prix on top by +0.011s over Suzuki’s Joan Mir and Red Bull Factory KTM’s Pol Espargaro.
Espargaro led the majority of the first 45-minute session of the weekend, but was toppled by, firstly Joan Mir and then Takaaki Nakagami.
Johann Zarco is another rider who seems to have picked up where he left off in Jerez. The Avintia Ducati rider ended the session in fourth place, ahead of Maverick Viñales. Viñales suffered a big crash at the penultimate corner as he came towards the end of his first flying lap. The crash forced the Monster Energy Yamaha rider to sit out the first half of the session, but returned to action and jumped straight into the top half of the timesheets.
Andrea Dovizioso returns to a happier hunting ground in the Brno circuit, the Italian and his Ducati have been at the forefront of the victory battle in recent years, and once again looks like he will be in the mix come Sunday. The 34-year-old’s best time of a 1:57.632 was +0.279s off Nakagami’s 1:57.353. Danilo Petrucci made it three Ducati’s inside the top ten, putting his Desmosedici GP20 in seventh position.
Fresh from his 199th Grand Prix podium, Valentino Rossi jumped inside the top then towards the end of the session. The 41-year-old had been languishing down in 15th for the majority of free practice one, but a run at the end of the session on the harder michelin tyres saw Rossi leap inside the top ten, only +0.293s off the pace.
Rossi was ahead of his compatriot Franco Morbidelli who put his PETRONAS Yamaha SRT in ninth, with LCR Honda CASTROL’s Cal Crutchlow completing the top ten.
Aleix Espargaro and the Aprilia team are searching for the pace they showed in pre-season testing, wrapping up the session +0.436s off the pace in 11th place, with Alex Rins and MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo down in 12th and 13th.
14th and 15th positions were filled by Pramac Racing Ducati’s with Australian Jack Miller leading Francesco Bagnaia, who suffered a fast crash at the end of the session.
Brad Binder will be disappointed with his outing on the MotoGP bike in Brno. The South African has a lot to prove after two difficult Grand Prix’s in Jerez, despite having podium pace. Binder launched his RC16 inside the top five on two occasions, but had both laps cancelled for exceeding track limits, demoting the former Moto3 champion to 16th, ahead of his 2021 team-mate, Miguel Oliveira.
Leading Repsol Honda rider, Alex Marquez, finished 18th ahead of Tito Rabat and Bradley Smith.
Iker Lecuona and Marc Marquez’s stand-in rider, Stefan Bradl, completed the field.
MotoGP action returns this afternoon for free practice two with the green flag being waved at 14:10 local time as the fight for the top ten positions continue in Brno.