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The opening day of the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya threw up a four-pronged assault on top spot. Yamaha, Ducati, Honda and KTM all held a place inside a top four that was split by just three tenths of a second. Plus, and quite remarkably too, each manufacturer topped one of the four sectors around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Quartararo trying to "keep calm" after flying in Barcelona
Unsurprisingly in the first sector, which runs down the start-finish straight to the exit of Turn 2, it’s the horsepower of the Ducati that dominates thanks to Mission Winnow Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), who were first and third fastest through the opening part to the lap, sandwiching the Suzuki Ecstar of Joan Mir.
Into sector two, which continues through to the exit of Turn 5, and LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami leads the way after ending day one in Barcelona third overall. The Japanese star ahead of the Yamaha M1 of Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and the Ducati GP19 of Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati).
Dovizioso bounces back in style from Mugello frustration
Sector three takes us through to the entry of Turn 10 and this time it’s KTM on top thanks to Pol Espargaro. But he’s joined in the top three by a Yamaha and a Ducati, further illustrating that no manufacturer appears to have an advantage.
In the final part of the lap, including the fast and flowing Turns 12, 13 and 14, it’s the Yamaha M1 of Fabio Quartararo who ended fastest by an impressive 0.189. Again, however, the Yamaha M1 is joined by Danilo Petrucci’s Bologna bullet and the ever-improving KTM, on this occasion ridden by Johann Zarco.
Nakagami: "I'm suprised to be top Honda, nobody expected it"
So, whether you’re riding a bike in blue, orange, red or anything in between, nobody can brag about having the upper hand tonight. Plus, with Suzuki going under the radar with Rins and Mir and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) pushing to the absolute limit at his home GP, who knows which of the six manufacturers in MotoGP™ will claim pole position on Saturday.
Is hometown glory on the cards for Pol?