Fresh from his latest MotoGP contract, Takaaki Nakagami has ended the opening day of action fastest, +0.175s clear of Maverick Viñales and +0.329s ahead of team-mate Cal Crutchlow.
Nakagami enjoyed a positive first day of MotoGP action ahead of this Sunday’s AlcanizGP, rounding out his Friday running as the man to beat, setting a 1:47.782 which left the LCR Honda Idemtisu man over a tenth of a second clear of Viñales and a further +0.154s ahead of team-mate Crutchlow.
It was a positive day for Honda, who since losing their number one rider has secured two MotoGP podiums with Alex Marquez, who set the Friday morning pace. Relying on his FP1 time, the younger Marquez brother ended the day in sixth after “not risking another crash” in the afternoon session.
Fabio Quartararo looked all at sea in last Sunday’s 23-lap Grand Prix, finishing outside of the points despite starting from pole. The Frenchman’s Friday wasn’t the greatest of days, shaking his head and visibly frustrated with the feeling of his PETRONAS M1 Yamaha. Quartararo, the former championship leader spent a handful of laps behind Joan Mir, the new championship leader, who finished in fifth, behind the Yamaha man.
Alex Rins wrapped up his opening day in seventh. The Aragon race-winner worked at his race rhythm as he aims to improve the race-winning set up of the Suzuki as riders battle warmer temperatures this weekend. Rins was just +0.408s off Nakagami’s top time.
The top KTM came in the form of MotoGP rookie Iker Lecuona, who after two 45-minute sessions found himself inside the top ten ahead of Saturday morning’s third free practice session. The Spaniard led the Espargaro brothers, with Aleix splitting the KTM duo.
Stefan Bradl backed up Honda’s successful Friday, debuting a new chassis, the German ended the day 11th fastest just +0.662s off the pace.
Franco Morbidelli has work to do on Saturday as he hopes to elevate himself from the 15th place he finds himself in overnight, while Pramac Ducati rider Jack Miller found himself in 18th after having his best lap deleted over half an hour after the session concluded.
Sticking with Ducati’s, the Italian manufacturer has work to do with Johann Zarco being the top Bologna bullet in 13th. Le Mans winner Danilo Petrucci was 17th ahead of Miller and team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. Francesco Bagnaia and Tito Rabat round out the field.
The third and final MotoGP session kicks off on Saturday at 10:55 local time as the fight for Q2 continues.
Featured image: MotoGP.com