It was a Friday afternoon of two halves for World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix. A nasty Turn 8 highside saw the Frenchman limp back to his box in some discomfort, however, Quartararo came back out swinging to set a blistering 1:59.317 – 0.512s quicker than second place Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team). Third place on Day 1 went the way of rookie sensation Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), the Spaniard making it two Ducatis in the top three.
Crash to FP2 domination for Quartararo
After Marc Marquez’ (Repsol Honda Team) huge 170mph crash at Turn 2 in FP1, it was Quartararo who suffered a vicious off in FP2. The Frenchman highsided at the Vale chicane, a crash that caused Quartararo to hobble away after his left foot took a beating. If anyone was worrying about El Diablo’s condition, they weren’t a few minutes later when Quartararo went back out and set the fastest lap of the weekend – 0.3s clear of then session leader Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini). Sensational from the number 20.
Soft tyres aplenty were slotted in for the final five minutes of FP2, as the riders fancied getting an important banker lap time under their belts in the battle for the top 10. Miller pounced into the top two to cut Quartararo’s advantage down to less than a tenth with three minutes left, before Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) then went P2 to continue his fine Friday form in Great Britain.
However, a certain Frenchman was in another league. Quartararo was lighting up the timing screens and set a stonking 1:59.317 to go 0.8s clear, before Pol Espargaro cut it back down to 0.7s. Miller and Martin then reeled in Quartararo again but neither could get within half a second.
An intriguing battle for automatic Q2 promotion
Pol Espargaro’s 2021 hasn’t been plain sailing by any means on the RC213V, but the Spaniard – on paper at least – enjoyed a good opening day at Silverstone to finish P4. Marc Marquez is unscathed after his Turn 2 crash, the eight-time World Champion is 0.016s behind his teammate in P5. The two factory Honda riders, along with sixth fastest Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), are 0.7s down on Quartararo’s time.
Aleix Espargaro in seventh and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) in ninth are the final two riders to sit under a second shy of Quartararo, with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) sitting at just over a second down in ninth and tenth respectively.
Title hopefuls Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) find themselves outside the top 10 after the first 90 minutes of running at Silverstone, a big Saturday morning FP3 awaits in the battle for the automatic Q2 places.
After crashing at Turn 12 in FP1, Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) crashed in a similar fashion to Marc Marquez in FP2 at Turn 2 – thankfully the double World Champion is unhurt. Debutant and home hero Jake Dixon (Petronas Yamaha SRT) improved his time by 1.3s in the afternoon, the British rider making good progress to set a 2:02.601, just over a second shy of Alex Marquez.
A frantic MotoGP™ FP3 is coming up at 09:55 local time (GMT+1) on Saturday morning!
1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 1:59.317
2. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.512
3. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.622
4. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.718
5. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.734
6. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.785
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.902
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.998
9. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 1.075
10. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 1.083