Ducati leads the pack at the end of Day One, with Miller and Bagnaia on top.
Ducati Lenovo Team’s Jack Miller topped the timesheets at the end of Day 1. While improving on his time from the first session, Miller was a high-flyer throughout the day, remaining in the top 3 in both practices.
Following close behind was the Aussie’s team mate, Pecco Bagnaia. Just 0.035s behind, the Italian made strides in FP2 compared to the earlier session’s 8th position. The pair’s results on the first day of the season further demonstrates the Factory Ducati’s continuously strong form from the tests at the beginning of the month.
Fabio Quartararo once again starts the season strong, ending in P3 today. This third position matches that of his results from the test; with the Frenchman upgrading to the Factory Yamaha team this year, we hope that Quartararo will be as competitive as in 2020 come race day, and hopefully more consistent as the year goes on.
Pramac Racing’s Johann Zarco is one of note at the end of FP2. Improving considerably from the opening session, with a lap time of 1:53.586, Zarco bumped himself up the board a further 9 positions, sitting just 0.011s behind Quartararo.
Suzuki ECSTAR’s Alex Rins has remained consistent throughout today, achieving P7 in FP1 and P5 in FP2, while defending champion Joan Mir has had a mix of results. Starting strong with a 5th place result in the first session, Mir sank down to P11 at the end of the day. Despite the appearance, Mir has in fact made advancements when it comes to lap times, with an improvement of 1.341 seconds in the second session.
The Petronas Yamaha SRT pair have both had rather decent results today. Franco Morbidelli lead the charge in Free Practice 1, with a time of 1:54.921 – the only 54-time set in the session, FP2 saw the younger Italian improve on his time by another 1.245 seconds, finishing the day in 7th place. Petronas rookie Valentino Rossi also boosted his lap times in the second session, but remained comfortably in 9th in both practices. With both riders in the Top 10, Petronas also looks strong for the coming race.
Despite rounding out the Top 10 on the combined timesheets, Pol Espargaro had a rocky first day. With crashes in both sessions, Repsol Honda’s frontman ended FP1 in 15th. However, regardless of crashes, Espargaro remained the top Honda on Friday; with LCR riders Alex Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami ending today in 12th and 14th respectively, and Stefan Bradl – Repsol’s ongoing replacement for Marc Marquez – residing in 18th.
The rookies across the grid also improved on times in FP2, with Pramac’s Jorge Martin taking the lead in 13th. The Esponsorama duo Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini finished in P15 and P17, with times of 1:54.225 and 1:54.432. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Lorenzo Savadori rounds out the grid in 22nd, with a fastest time of 1:55.674, while teammate Aleix Espargaro continues his strong run in Qatar, with a P2 and a P8 in the two sessions.
With Qualifying just around the corner, will we see a change in formation, or are we playing witness to the 2021 championship contenders? Stay tuned to find out!
MotoGP’s Free Practice 3 begins at 15:15 Local Time (GMT +3).
Feature Image: Gold and Goose