News 9 Sep 2017

Petrucci edges Viñales in Friday's MotoGP practice at Misano

Australia's Miller 18th on day one at San Marino's 13th round.

Source: Supplied.

Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) stole the headlines on day one at the Misano’s 13th round of the MotoGP World Championship, taking to the top spot late in the final stages of FP2 as a top 10 shootout got underway.

Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took second by only 0.005s, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) – the championship leader – only another 0.058s further back. Dovizioso was also third quickest in FP1.

With the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend looking changeable, the grid were looking to get into that top 10 for provisional direct entry into Q2 qualifying. After the day dawned damp, conditions were good for slicks in FP1 but improved in FP2, setting the stage for a good battle in the final minutes.

Behind the top three in that battle, it remained incredibly tight: Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) was only 0.052s off third and just over a tenth off the top, with the 2016 winner also heading the timesheets briefly towards the end of the day’s action.

He headed teammate Marc Marquez, who went down in a fast but low drama lowside at turn 16 near the end of the second session – just getting back out on his second bike and completing the top five. Marquez was quickest in FP1, however.

Another crasher was LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, who crashed at turn 15, but the Brit was able to rejoin and ended day one in an impressive P6 despite struggling with a finger injury sustained ahead of the event.

Michele Pirro – Ducati test rider – was impressive once again after going second in FP1, taking P7 by the end of action on Friday. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) took P8, having run second for some time before the times tumbled even further.

Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuk Ecstar) had a solid start to his home GP in ninth, with the Italian well set should the weather change on Saturday. The top 10 was completed by another impressive performance, this time from EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) took 11th overall despite a crash in FP1, sporting a new aero-fairing and heading another crasher on day one – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Johann Zarco. Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) took P13 and edged out Reale Avinta Racing duo Loris Baz and Hector Barbera, who completed the top 15. Australia’s Jack Miller (Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS) finished the day in 18th.

Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) topped the timesheets in Moto2 at Misano, on a roll at the end of FP2 taking over from compatriot Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). Morbidelli ended the day in second but only 0.065s back – with Silverstone winner Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) completing the top three.

One big headline of a different nature was the man quickest in FP1 – Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) – who suffered a highside at the end of the first session and was subsequently declared unfit. The ‘Pistolas’ will be gunning to get back on track at Aragon to defend his run of wins on home turf so far in 2017.

On the timesheets, that left Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) taking fourth, ahead of Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira in fifth. Aussie Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) was 21st fastest in the intermediate division.

In Moto3, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) hit the top late on Friday, going fastest in FP2 and therefore fastest overall as all riders improved in the afternoon following a damp start to the day.

Teammate Jorge Martin was second quickest despite not running the risk of testing the conditions in the morning, with Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) – winner at Misano in 2015 and second last year – keeping some good momentum after his podium at Silverstone to go third quickest.

Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team) was P4 as he continues to show his great pace of late, ahead of two key men at the top of the standings. Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), currently third in the championship, was the first of title challengers in P5, ahead of points leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), who was sixth quickest overall.

Bikes are scheduled to be back on track tomorrow for qualifying, followed by race day on Sunday.