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5 days ago
By motogp.com

Untouchable in Teruel: Nakagami flies highest on Friday

The Japanese star takes opening day honours at the Teruel GP as Ducati endure a difficult day

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Round 12: MotoGP™ FP2 at the Teruel Grand Prix

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Round 12: MotoGP™ FP2 at the Teruel Grand Prix

Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was the fastest rider in the opening stages of the afternoon session as plenty of riders went immediately quicker than they did in the morning. The Italian led from Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) and Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) as the Frenchman and title rival Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) played a bit of cat and mouse for a couple of laps with 10 minutes played – have the mind games started? Then, after finishing P2 in FP1 and coming into the weekend with a fresh HRC contract in his pocket, Nakagami went P1 to demote Morbidelli to P2. Still though, Alex Marquez’ (Repsol Honda Team) time from the morning was the fastest of the weekend.

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Michelin's plan for the Teruel Grand Prix

 

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro shot up to P2 as the Spaniard slotted in a new Michelin rear tyre with 18 minutes to go. A lot of the riders were continuing to look at set-ups for the race, before crunch time reared its head. A crucial time attack was about to begin with 12 minutes to go as provisional automatic Q2 places stared the riders straight in the face, but who would make it into the top 10?

With five minutes to go, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) went P3, but there were plenty of fast times about to come in. One was from title chase leader Mir, a 1:41.182 saw the Suzuki man go top of the pile with the fastest lap of the weekend. Teammate Alex Rins went P6 a few seconds after, before Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3) shot into the top 10 in the session.

Nakagami then raised the bar. The Japanese rider set the first 1:47 of the weekend to go 0.251 clear of Mir as Crutchlow and Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) went into the top six. Lecuona shot to P3 with a great lap, but Nakagami was another two tenths under his time in Sector 3. A 1:47.772 saw him extend his lead and Crutchlow made it an LCR Honda 1-2 moments later, with Quartararo going up into the top three.

The Ducatis were struggling. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) couldn’t find any time and five of the Desmosedicis were at the bottom of the standings, but further up the pecking order, Viñales broke the Honda stranglehold to go second. That lap saw Viñales join Nakagami in the 1:47s but he was still nearly two tenths away from the pacesetter and having finished P2 in FP1, Nakagami took Friday honours with a blistering FP2 effort.

After his mechanical issue in FP1, Crutchlow rises from P10 to P3 on Friday afternoon to make it a great day for Honda, Quartararo went well on the soft tyre to cement P4 – a better looking result than his P17 in FP1. Next up came Championship leader Mir who drops to P5 from P3 this morning, he sits 0.4 off Nakagami’s time heading into Saturday. After finishing P1 on the FP1 timesheets, Alex Marquez drops to P6 on the combined standings after failing to improve his time in the afternoon as the Honda man spilts the Suzuki riders. Rins goes into the top 10 in FP2 to finish P7 on Day 1.

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MUST-SEE: Mind games begin between Mir and Quartararo

Quickest KTM was rookie Lecuona as the Spaniard goes from P15 to P8 on Day 1, he sits just ahead of the Espargaro brothers. The leader of those was Aleix Espargaro, the Aprilia man takes P8 in FP1 and P9 in FP2, with Pol Espargaro dropping from P9 in FP1 to holding onto the final provisional automatic Q2 spot in P10 – 0.657 covering the leading 10 competitors.  

Aforementioned, it was a day to forget for Ducati. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) crashed unhurt in the latter stages of FP2 as five Ducatis bring up the rear of the field. Zarco was the fastest Ducati rider on track, finishing P13 overall, but Friday spells bad news ahead of the second weekend in Aragon.

FP3 will once again be vital for the riders to either hold onto a top 10 place or penetrate it ahead of qualifying. Tune in to find out what happens at 10:55 local time (GMT+2)!

Top 10 combined:
1. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) – 1:47.782
2. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.175
3. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) + 0.329
4. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.382
5. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.400
6. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.402
7. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.408
8. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3) + 0.578
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.644
10. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.657

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