Misano MotoGP: Vinales tops first practice by half a second

Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales dominated the opening practice for the MotoGP San Marino Grand Prix, while there were technical issues for Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.

The first of two races at Misano takes place on a newly resurfaced track, with Vinales’ best of 1m32.198s already just over half a second away from the best ever lap set back in 2018.

The San Marino GP is also the first to welcome fans in 2020, with a modest, socially-distanced crowd enjoying MotoGP action on Friday morning.

KTM’s Pol Espargaro set the early pace with a 1m34.115s, having been one of a handful of current race riders to have tested on the new Misano surface in June. 

His time was bettered five minutes later by Petronas’s Fabio Quartararo, with the Yamaha rider – at the scene of his first duel for victory with Marc Marquez last year – going top with a 1m34.039s.

This was short-lived, however, as Espargaro returned to the top of the standings with a 1m33.607s, before Vinales on the works team Yamaha improved to a 1m33.479s.

With just under 25 minutes to go, Quartararo went top again with a 1m33.435s, which stood as the benchmark through to the closing stages of FP1.

The middle of the session proved tricky 2018 Misano race winner Dovizioso, with several attempts to come out on track aborted due to an issue with his factory Ducati.

Unable to fix the problem, Ducati sent Dovizioso out on his second bike in the latter stages and leaped up from outside of the top 20 to ninth.

Quartararo put his own best lap under pressure with six minutes to go and produced a 1m33.215s, which he then bettered by 0.126s to a 1m33.089s.

With two minutes to go, Vinales began lighting up the timing screens again having unusually fitted a fresh hard rear tyre, and went top with a 1m32.760s. 

On his final effort, he blasted the field away by 0.550s with a 1m32.198s to end FP1 at Misano – where he was on pole last year – ahead of Quartararo.

Unlike its rival manufacturers, Yamaha never tested at Misano in June with Jorge Lorenzo – something Quartararo questioned on Thursday when asked about it

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro tracked Vinales late on and jumped up to third as a result with a 1m32.949s ahead of top Ducati runner Johann Zarco on the year-old Avintia GP19 and the sister Aprilia of Bradley Smith.

Joan Mir was fastest Suzuki in sixth ahead of the first works Ducati of Pramac’s Jack Miller, the injured LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow – who suffered a technical issue during FP1 – Pol Espargaro and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR). 

Valentino Rossi was shuffled out of the top 10 late on for the first session of his home race, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas), KTM’s Brad Binder and Dovizioso following.

Alex Rins was a low-key 16th on his Suzuki, while Styrian GP winner Miguel Oliveira was a mystifying 2.4s off the pace in 22nd and last in the first session. 

San Marino GP – FP1 results:

Cla Rider   Bike Time Gap
1 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1’32.198  
2 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1’32.748 0.550
3 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1’32.949 0.751
4 Johann Zarco Ducati 1’33.181 0.983
5 Bradley Smith Aprilia 1’33.244 1.046
6 Joan Mir Suzuki 1’33.497 1.299
7 Jack Miller Ducati 1’33.502 1.304
8 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1’33.538 1.340
9 Pol Espargaro KTM 1’33.569 1.371
10 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1’33.654 1.456
11 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1’33.693 1.495
12 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1’33.694 1.496
13 Brad Binder KTM 1’33.828 1.630
14 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1’33.868 1.670
15 Alex Marquez Honda 1’33.921 1.723
16 Alex Rins Suzuki 1’34.040 1.842
17 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1’34.101 1.903
18 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1’34.154 1.956
19 Stefan Bradl Honda 1’34.323 2.125
20 Iker Lecuona KTM 1’34.553 2.355
21 Tito Rabat Ducati 1’34.619 2.421
22 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1’34.645 2.447
View full results

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