Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) ends Day 1 at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España at the top of the timesheets after setting a 1:37.909 in FP2, a time enough to edge out Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) by 0.012 as Ducati and Honda lock horns on Friday in Jerez.
It was a sun-drenched day in Jerez as the premier class completed FP1 and FP2 in perfect conditions, with the afternoon session bringing track temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius in southern Spain. And it was FP1’s fastest man Marquez who set the pace in the early stages of FP2, just like he had done in FP1, to head the Ducati of Petrucci – the Italian finishing eighth in the morning.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) had got themselves into the top six with under 20 minutes to go after quiet FP1s, but as ever, the final ten minutes would have a serious say in how Friday’s combined times would shape up.
Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was the first big mover as The Doctor went from 16th to 7th, half a second quicker than he’d gone all day. Team HRC’s Stefan Bradl – a wildcard this weekend – was sitting pretty inside the top three and fellow Honda rider Crutchlow then joined him, the British rider going quickest as the medium and soft rubber were slotted into the rear of the premier class machines. Petrucci then went top by a hefty 0.195, teammate Dovizioso going P2 shortly after.
With 2m42s of FP2 to go though, the Red Flags were waved after both Karel Abraham (Reale Avinita Racing) and Aprilia Factory Racing wildcard Bradley Smith crashed in quick succession at Turn 5, the latter heading the medical centre for a checkup afterwards.
Pitlane then re-opened for a one-lap dash for the premier class as all the riders tried to jump into or consolidate a top ten place at the end of play on Friday, with the two factory Ducatis occupying P1 and P2. However, there would be no real changes as times from FP1 and FP2 decided the combined standings order.
It’s Petrucci who heads Marquez by just 0.012, the latter failing to improve his time from FP1 to give Ducati the bragging rights on Day 1, with Dovizioso placing Marquez in a Desmosedici sandwich in third thanks to his FP2 time of a 1:38.000. Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) had a positive day, he sits 4th on a 1:38.045 that he achieved in the morning session as Mission Winnow Ducati and Repsol Honda Team go toe-to-toe in Jerez – 0.136 the gap between the quartet.
Crutchlow improved his time by seven tenths in the afternoon to sit fifth quickest on board his RC213V machine, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) the leading Yamaha man in sixth. Similar to Viñales, Takaaki Nakagami’s (LCR Honda Idemitsu) 1:38.1 in FP1 means he occupies a top ten spot in P7, as rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) ends Friday in eighth – the Frenchman another rider who didn’t go quicker in FP2. Bradl – a big improver in FP2 - and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) take away a ninth and tenth respectively on Friday as 0.555 splits the top ten.
There are some big names currently missing out on an automatic Q2 place. Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Rossi are just three who will be looking to improve on Saturday morning.
Hafizh Syahrin (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) crashed early in the session, the Malaysian heading to the medical centre afterwards with the team later confirming he’s ok. Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) suffered his second fall of the day in FP2 – rider ok.
0.9 seconds covers the top 19 in Jerez. It’s astonishingly close, so you don’t want to miss any of Saturday’s action from Andalusia – FP3 comes your way at 09:55 local time (GMT+2)!
Top 10 (combined FP1 and FP2):
1. Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1.37.909
2. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.012
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) + 0.097
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.136
5. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) + 0.195
6. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.203
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.225
8. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.300
9. Stefan Bradl (Team HRC) + 0.464
10. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) + 0.555
Click here for the full results!