Ducati P1 – but with the premier class’ most successful rider at the track, Lorenzo, as the title rivals take P3 and P6
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) was quickest on Day 1 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, taking to the top late on in FP2 as a number of high profile crashers also marked the session, including FP1’s fastest Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). Lorenzo has the most premier class wins at the venue, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) – then man with the most wins at Valencia across all classes – hot on the chase in was second. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) the quickest of the title challengers in third to complete the good news for the Borgo Panigale factory on Friday.
Iannone ended Day 1 in fourth on combined times, ahead of Rookie of the Year and top Independent Team rider Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3). Marquez was sixth but showed good pace, with Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) taking P7 after a stunning session in the morning – and exactly the same laptime in both sessions, down to the thousandth.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was eighth, with Ducati Team test rider and wildcard Michele Pirro putting in another impressive performance to go ninth quickest overall. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) impressed once more, close to the top in the morning and then able to complete the top ten by the end of action.
It was a more difficult first day for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo, with Valentino Rossi in eleventh to edge teammate Maverick Viñales in P12. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was thirteenth despite a crash as he returns from injury, with Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) and Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) the final of the fastest fifteen on Friday.
Day 2 of the #FinalShowdown kicks off on Saturday with a final push for automatic graduation to Q2, before qualifying in the afternoon from 14:10 (GMT +1).
Oliveira on a roll: KTM quickest on Day 1
Portuguese rider fastest on Friday at Valencia after two wins on the flyaways
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) dominated Day 1 at the Valencia GP, fastest in FP1 and repeating the feat in the afternoon for a clean sweep. That’s following the first two 1-2 results for KTM at Phillip Island and Sepang, with the Austrian marque making a real mark on the intermediate category in their first season in Moto2™. Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) was fastest rookie and second quickest overall, just ahead of another rookie in the form of second Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Brad Binder.
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) was P4 on the opening day, just ahead of FP1’s second quickest, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). Marquez made a late charge in the first session, and improved his laptime in the afternoon. Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was sixth fastest.
Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) took P7 and was the first non-improver from FP1, followed similarly by recently-crowned Champion Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). Ricky Cardus (CarXpert Interwetten), standing in for injured Moto2™ runner up Tom Lüthi, had a stunner to stay close to the new Champion, lining up in ninth after Day 1. Compatriot Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) completed the top ten.
Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) was just outside the top ten on Day 1, but just ahead of Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team), who took twelfth. Augusto Fernandez (Speed Up Racing) had an impressive first day in P13, with Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) locking out the fastest fifteen.
Moto2™ qualify on Saturday afternoon, before the race at 12:20 (GMT +1) on Sunday – Morbidelli and Nakagami’s last chance for another win before both graduate to the premier class.
Home hero Martin masters Day 1 at Valencia
Del Conca Gresini Moto3 rider heads the timesheets at the final round
Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) opened the Valencia GP on top after a top three in the morning and the quickest lap of the day in FP2. The Spaniard, gunning for his first win, was just ahead of compatriot Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) in second – with Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) and Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team) making it a clean sweep for the home heroes in the top four.
Weather was sunny and clear although cold earlier in the day, and the field had a full day of running uninterrupted by the weather. Headlines were stolen in FP1 by reigning Champion Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) as he took a tumble, but the Majorcan was quick to his feet and improved from outside the top twenty following the incident to go fifth fastest overall. Another high profile incident interrupted FP2 as Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) suffered a crash and left compatriot Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) with nowhere to go, with fastest rookie Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team) just beating Bulega to sixth overall.
Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) took eighth as he gears up to try and make history and equal Mir’s win count, with Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team) taking ninth despite a crash on Day 1, and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) completing the top ten.
Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) was P11, ahead of Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and a stunning debut for Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup winner and wildcard Kazuki Masaki (Asia Talent Team) in P13. Dennis Foggia (Sky Junior Team VR46 Academy) – double FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Champion and wildcard this weekend – was fourteenth, with Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team) locking out the fastest fifteen on Friday.
Tomorrow is qualifying ahead of the final race of the season, with Mir looking to equal Valentino Rossi and Fenati looking to equal Mir.
Text and photos courtesy of MotoGP.com