MotoGP: Pol Espargaró on Top in Morning Misano Test
The first of two test sessions have been completed in Misano, with KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaró leading the charge ahead of this afternoons session.
The Spanish rider set a time of a 1:32.054, fractionally quicker than his fastest lap in Qualifying one which saw him progress into Q2.
Espargaró was +0.128s clear of Joan Mir, fresh from his podium, Mir will be looking at further boosting his race pace ahead of this weekend’s second race on the Adriatic coast. The Suzuki rider was ahead of first-time MotoGP podium finisher, Francesco Bagnaia.
Alex Rins wrapped up the first four-hour session in fourth ahead of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, who will find this test as a blessing given his woes with the 2020 Michelin rear tyre. The Italian will work on further developing his riding style and the set up of his GP20 Ducati as he looks to protect his championship lead this coming weekend.
Takaaki Nakagami is one of two HRC riders on track today, with both Stefan Bradl and Cal Crutchlow out due to injury. The Japanese rider lies sixth overall ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales in seventh. Team-mate, Valentino Rossi, is currently lying in 16th, however, it’s clear that ‘The Doctor’ is yet to look for a lap time. His YZR-M1 featured a new exhaust, as the 2004 style M1 pipe makes a reappearance in a bid to find more mid-range power. Finding mid-range power can also preserve engine life, as the riders aren’t so reliant on the strong power higher in the rev range.
Fabio Quartararo will be looking to bounce back from a disastrous San Marino weekend, crashing twice and retiring from the race. The Frenchman has been busy testing the new radio communication system, something we saw Stefan Bradl complete during the race weekend. Quartararo’s best time comes as a 1:32.353, around the sort of race pace the podium trio were doing before Rins, Mir’s and Bagnaia’s 1:32 charges.
Completing the top ten is Esponsorama Racing’s Johann Zarco and Repsol Honda’s Alex Marquez, who could benefit from a back-to-back race with an extra days track action thrown in the middle.
Miguel Oliveira had a quiet opening Misano race, the Portuguese rider finished 11th and currently lies 11th after the morning session.
Aleix Espargaro, Jack Miller, Danilo Petrucci and Brad Binder completed the top 15, with the aforementioned Rossi in 16th. Bradley Smith and Tito Rabat round out the field.
Testing action resumes at 14:00 local time.