News 18 Jul 2020

Opening day at Jerez led by Marquez as MotoGP returns

Miller sixth on the combined time-sheets following Friday practice.

Image: Supplied.

MotoGP officially returned on Friday in the Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, the benchmark set by Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez in FP1 the quickest of all on day one.

The defending champion posted a 1m37.350s in the morning to lead the way – all except Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) unable to improve in the afternoon heat.

Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was just 0.024s in arrears and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) completed the top three, less than a tenth off the top.

FP1 saw the action get underway as an eager Bradley Smith (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) rolled out of pit-lane as the first MotoGP bike out in an official race weekend session this year. Meanwhile, Quartararo had to sit out the first 20 minutes of the session though, with the Frenchman given a penalty for training on ‘illegal’ machinery.

In the afternoon it was Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) who proved the man to beat in FP2, but the times were a good eight tenths slower in a sweltering afternoon. Quartararo was second in the more race similar conditions, with rookie Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) impressing in third.

FP2 also saw the first two race weekend crashes of the season – Marc Marquez and rookie teammate Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), with both low-siding out separately and unhurt.

Overall though, it was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) who took fourth as the veteran Italian really cranked up the pace after a more anonymous day on the Wednesday test time-sheets, looking strong despite being on the way back from a collarbone injury, with Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) fifth.

Australia’s Jack Miller (Pramac Racing Ducati) was sixth on combined times, leading Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM), who led a trio of KTMs in the top ten overall on Friday. Rookie Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3) was ninth and Binder 10th.

Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing) was P11 after a solid day, ahead of Morbidelli on the combined times, with Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) next up in 13th on Friday. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was 14th, with Quartararo ending the day in 15th.

Moto2 belonged to Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), the Italian topping the time-sheets in FP1 with a 1m41.410s and FP2 to lay down the gauntlet for his rivals. He topped Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) and Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46). SAG Racing Team rider Remy Gardner was P18.

In Moto3, Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) set a 1m45.663s to lead Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing). The scorching lap of Rodrigo was beneath the existing pole position and lap records at Jerez.

Despite only completing two laps in FP2 and suffering a crash at turn two, Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) took charge of the Enel MotoE World Cup on day one at 1m48.531s, with Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Niccolo Canepa (LCR E-Team) inside the top three. Josh Hook (Pramac MotoE) was P13.

Detailed results