News 10 Sep 2016

Pol Espargaro leads opening day of MotoGP at Misano

Championship contenders outside of top three places on Friday.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

The year of Independent Team glory continues as Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro ruled day one at the San Marino Grand Prix.

After Movistar Yamaha MotoGP home hero Valentino Rossi went fastest in FP1 at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, his teammate and arch-rival Jorge Lorenzo struck back in the afternoon to initially top FP2.

However it was Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro who made good on his great form in the morning to take the top spot when all was completed.

Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa was finally second quickest by the end of the day, ahead of home hero Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), who took over in FP2 as the fastest Italian on day one.

Pol Espargaró, who had a big crash at the start of the British GP that saw him forced to pass a medical on Thursday ahead of the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, showed incredible pace during the first session of the day before pushing himself even further up to take the top spot in FP2 and prove fastest on Friday.

Three-time world champion Dani Pedrosa got back to his front-running best at Misano, as he narrowly missed the top to end the second session and day in P2. Pedrosa, a former winner at the track, was the fastest Honda on day one as teammate and points leader Marc Marquez ended Friday in P5.

Andrea Dovizioso was third fastest as the Ducati rider put in a last dash for the top, with red sectors but ultimately not quite taking over at the front.

‘DesmoDovi’, who twisted his knee in a crash in a private Ducati test at Misano before the British GP, looked on good form and leads the Borgo Panigale factory’s charge at another home venue, as teammate Andrea Iannone missed FP2 and underwent Medical Examination after a fast lowside crash in FP1.

Austrian GP first-time winner Iannone will be assessed once more on Saturday morning, with the Italian initially returning to the box before undergoing further examination at the mythical manufacturer’s second home race of the year.

Reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was fourth fastest after topping the second session of the day for a time, as the five-time world champion gets back on soil that has seen him enjoy incredible success.

Lorenzo’s race rhythm was consistent as is often the case, as the ‘Spartan’ just beat teammate Valentino Rossi in the combined times on Friday as the morning’s fastest rider ended the day P6.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) suffered a lowside in FP2 and ended the day in P7, ahead of Octo Pramac Yakhnich rider and compatriot Scott Redding.

Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) was ninth, ahead of Silverstone winner Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who had a more difficult afternoon to round out the top 10. Australian Jack Miller was 16th on Friday.

One on-track incident of note saw Aleix Espargaro and Rossi get close in the final corner, with the Italian making sure Espargaro had a clear idea of his opinion on the event.

Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) went fastest on Friday at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in Moto2, after proving the quickest man on track in FP1 and retaining the momentum to keep the top spot at the end of the day.

Reigning champion and points leader Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) was second quickest, with Lorenzo Baldassari (Forward Racing) proving the top Italian in P3. Australia’s Remy Gardner stopped the clocks in 23rd.

After an FP1 session that saw 2015 winner Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) take the top spot, the afternoon in Misano saw hotter track temperatures take over but the 2015 winner keep his place at the top of the timesheets.

The local rider dueled it out with Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Brad Binder. Binder, who leads the title chase by 86 points, ended the day in P2, ahead of Leopard Racing’s Austrian GP winner Joan Mir.