After setting the fastest time in the cooler FP1 conditions at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) takes the opening Friday honours of 2020. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was the man to beat in FP2 but with the times a good eight tenths slower in the afternoon, Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) remain inside the top three on the combined times.
After missing the opening 20 minutes of FP1 because of a penalty, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) wasted no time in getting down to business as the Frenchman set a quick handful of laps in FP2, improving on his morning time on his fourth lap. Marc Marquez was his closest challenger with 15 minutes gone as the FP1 pacesetter sat 0.2 back, with Quartararo the only rider in the opening exchanges to go better in the afternoon. Track temperatures at the start of FP2 had risen – and were continuing to rise all the time – to 54 degrees and with it being a similar time to Sunday’s race, it was a vital session to try and get a good feeling in the soaring Andalusian heat. Compare that to the track temperature of 37 degrees this morning, and you can understand why the riders were struggling to get anywhere near their best times.
It wasn’t the greatest start to FP2 for both Repsol Honda Team riders though, with both Marc and Alex Marquez crashing at Turn 8 and 2 respectively. Both riders were ok and were back on their RC213Vs in no time, with the number 93 using HRC’s updated chassis again in the second session of the weekend. Apart from the 30-minute FP4 session ahead of qualifying, FP2 was the only time the riders would get a chance to have a feel for what race conditions will be like – plenty of tyre and setting testing was taking place for the bulk of the 45-minute session.
Towards the end of FP2 though, much like we saw in FP1, the riders were pushing for some quick lap times. FP1 was a proper mini qualifying session in the final 10 minutes as that all-important top 10 starts to take shape, but FP2 was a chance to see who had some pace in the heat. And bringing the heat was Morbidelli, the Italian toppling teammate Quartararo in the latter stages with rookie Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) impressing to sit P3. Teammate Pol Espargaro penetrated the top five late in FP2 also, with Reale Avintia Racing’s Johann Zarco showing well in the high temperatures to go P7. However, the combined times remained unchanged – bar Quartararo’s improvement – ahead of FP3 on Saturday morning.
This means Marc Marquez leads Viñales and Crutchlow by less than a tenth, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) the leading Bologna bullet on Friday in P4. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir and Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller sit P5 and P6 respectively, less than two tenths shy of Marquez’ pace, with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) occupying P7 at the end of Friday’s play. A trio of KTM’s then sit pretty in a provisional automatic Q2 place, with Pol Espargaro leading Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and Binder.
So despite topping the FP2 timesheets, the Petronas Yamaha SRT duo of Morbidelli and Quartararo have work to do in FP3 if they are to infiltrate the top 10 ahead of Q1 and Q2. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and more big names sit outside the automatic Q2 places, and with 1.3 covering the field overall – just 1.5 in FP2 – FP3 is set to be a thriller.
Tune in for that at 09:55 (GMT+2) on Saturday morning to get those senses tingling ahead of the opening MotoGP™ qualifying sessions of 2020!
Top 10 combined:
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – 1:37.350
2. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.024
3. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) + 0.088
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) + 0.121
5. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.131
6. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) + 0.137
7. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.219
8. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.362
9. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3) + 0.364
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.573
Click here for Friday's results!