Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, Barcelona: Friday roundup – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Mugello race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) was the man to beat on the opening day at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, ending FP2 top of the timesheets after setting a 1:38.930 – the only rider to step under the 1:39 bracket and fastest overall. The Spaniard improved his time by over 0.8 seconds from FP1 after finishing third in the morning, laying down the gauntlet ahead of qualifying on Saturday. Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was able to bounce back after a crash in FP1 and the Italian was the only rider to get within 0.4 seconds of the number 99 on Friday.
One of the biggest talking points from the opening day at the Catalan GP was Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) finishing 12th quickest on the combined timesheets, provisionally missing out on a Q2 spot unless he can improve in FP3. The Spaniard also crashed at Turn 5 towards the end of the session when pushing for a quick lap, rider ok.
Meanwhile, third on the combined timesheets was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales, improving his time by over half a second from FP1 to round out the top three in the afternoon – 0.492 off Lorenzo’s quickest lap. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was second in FP1, with the Italian slipping down to fourth quickest overall in FP2 – 0.513 behind his teammate.
2016 winner Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), quickest in FP1, was the only rider in the top 11 who failed to go quicker in the afternoon session. The Italian finished in P11 in FP2, but his time of 1:39.456 from FP1 was enough to see ‘The Doctor’ end the day fifth fastest overall. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) improved his position by one place from FP1 to end the day sixth fastest, 0.002 behind Rossi’s time and top Independent Team rider.
Fresh from signing a one-year deal with the factory Ducati team in 2019, Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) drastically improved on his 20th position from FP1 in the afternoon to finish seventh overall. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) recovered from an early crash in the session to end the day eighth quickest overall, just ahead of home rider Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) who improved by three positions from FP1 to end the day ninth.
Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) ensured he has a provisional automatic Q2 spot in FP2, the Malaysian rider finished the day an impressive tenth fastest, building on his solid FP1 session.
Can the number 93 bounce back on Saturday ahead of qualifying and get himself straight into Q2? Find out when the premier class head out for FP3 at 09:55 local time (GMT +2), before qualifying from 14:10.
Francesco Bagnaia’s (Sky Racing Team VR46) FP1 time was enough to keep the Championship leader at the top of the combined timesheets on Friday at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, leading a trio of Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) – who all set a lap time of 1:44.340.
The afternoon session didn’t see the intermediate class times tumble, with Marquez the only rider in the top five to improve his lap time in FP2, finishing the session quickest ahead of Schrötter. Mir was seventh quickest in the second Free Practice session, unable to set a quicker time from this morning to remain fourth on the combined standings – all three riders sit 0.115 behind Bagnaia.
Pons HP40 replacement rider Augusto Fernandez had a great opening day at the Catalan GP, the Spaniard was 15th in FP2, however his time from FP1 was enough to keep him fifth overall on the combined timesheets. One rider who did improve his time in the afternoon, despite a crash at Turn 10, was Fabio Quartararo (HDR – Speed Up Racing). The Frenchman ended FP2 in third to propel himself into sixth on the combined times after finishing down in 23rd in the morning.
Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), 6th in FP1, managed to claim P7 on day one in Catalunya – a solid day for the Japanese rider. The leading KTM on Friday was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who finished sixth in FP2 to cement himself inside the top ten – the South African was eighth overall after failing to improve in the afternoon.
Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP), however, did manage to go quicker in FP2, improving by over three tenths from FP1 to finish ninth overall. Rounding out the top ten was Mugello winner Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who suffered a crash at Turn 9 in FP2 towards the end of the session. The Portuguese rider was eighth in FP1 and will be fit to fight for pole come qualifying.
The Moto2™ field is looking incredibly close, with a second covering the top 22 riders ahead of Saturday’s track action. Tune in to see the intermediate class head of for FP3 at 10:55 local time (GMT +2) before qualifying later in the afternoon.
Championship leader Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrüstelGP) set the quickest time of the day on his final run in FP2 to take top honours on Friday at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. The Italian finished FP1 down in P10 after a crash, but improved his time by over a second in the afternoon to beat teammate Jakub Kornfeil by a slender 0.055 seconds.
The Czech rider built on his third-place finish in FP1 to end the day second on the timesheets, with Jerez race winner Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) making it a KTM 1-2-3 – jumping up to third on his final lap of the session after finishing FP1 in 14th. Another rider to considerably improve his position from the morning session was Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse). The Italian ended FP2 in P4 after a late run to finish 0.117 behind compatriot Bezzecchi, improving his time by nearly 1.5 seconds.
Jorge Martin’s (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) time from thie morning looked like it would remain the quickest of the day until a late flurry of times in FP2, but the Mugello race winner improved by 0.019 seconds to end the day fifth fastest. Bester Capital Dubai’s Jaume Masia ended the day in P6, leapfrogging six positions from the morning, with Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) having a solid afternoon to climb 20 positions from FP1 – the South African seventh quickest on Friday.
Scotland’s John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) climbed into the top ten on his final run, improving from P20 in FP1 to end the day eighth fastest. It was a good day for Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46), after finishing second in FP1, the Italian was able to cement a top ten finish on Friday in ninth, just ahead of Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), who was fourth in FP1.
With just 1.008 seconds covering first place Bezzecchi down to 18th place Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3), Saturday is shaping up to be a great day in the Moto3™ class, with FP3 kicking off at 09:00 local time (GMT +2).