LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami has come out on top by four tenths of a second in MotoGP™ FP1 for the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, but it had been much closer than that. The Japanese rider was already fastest in a top four covered by just 0.031 seconds when he bolted on new medium compound Michelin slick tyres, front and rear. It was then that a late flying lap yielded a time of 1:46.662 around the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello for number 30.
Before Nakagami’s rise, the Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia had been quickest on what is home soil for both rider and manufacturer. He had clocked a 1:47.070 which Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) came so very close to matching when the Spaniard set a 1:47.071. Then, just before the half-hour mark, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) did match it – a 1:47.070 exactly – before Nakagami’s 1:47.040.
They ended up the top four while the rider who won the French GP a fortnight ago, Gresini Racing’s Enea Bastianini, was fifth-quickest with a 1:47.186 on his GP21-spec Ducati Desmosedici. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) was only 0.005 seconds slower again, while Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) ended up seventh, in a session during which he had an early tour through the gravel.
Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) took eighth, ahead of Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) with an identical time, Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) in 10th, and World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) in 11th. Ducati test rider Michele Pirro (Aruba.it Racing) ended up 12th, Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was last of those within a second of Nakagami’s pace, in 15th position, and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) went 19th-quickest.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) ran across the grass on the way to San Donato (Turn 1), of all places, when he had a close call with Aleix Espargaro. Also notable was Espargaro’s Aprilia team-mate Lorenzo Savadori, the Noale manufacturer’s test rider running with a car-style rear wing on his RS-GP.
FP2 starts today at 14:10 (GMT +2).
MotoGP™ FP1 Top 10:
1. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) – 1:46.662
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.408
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.408
4. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.409
5. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 0.524
6. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.529
7. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.653
8. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.705
9. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.705
10. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.721