More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Bagnaia blasts past Quartararo to top Day 1 in Jerez
The Italian’s speed impresses once again on Friday as he denies Quartararo, with Aleix Espargaro putting Aprilia in the top three
Friday, 30 April 2021
After Day 1 of the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, it’s an increasingly familiar name on top: Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). After some explosive flashes of speed so far this season and last year at Jerez – a track not known for best suiting Borgo Panigale machinery of late – the Italian was top of the pile once again to deny double 2020 Jerez winner Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) by 0.168. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completes the top three as the Noale factory continue to impress with the nearly all-new RS-GP.
In FP1, it was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) quickest out the blocks as the South African pulled out nearly two tenths on Aleix Espargaro to go fastest, with KTM showing a step forward early on at the venue and Aprilia retaining impressive pace. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was third in FP1, ahead of Bagnaia and Quartararo, with five factories in the top five and 17 riders split by just eight tenths of a second as action began.
FP2 saw more pulling the pin for a time attack, however, with FP3 expected to be dry but nevertheless many pushing early to at least end the day in the provisional top ten. That saw Bagnaia blast to the top late on as the Italian cut chunks off the previous best, once again showcasing his impressive step forward this season as his riding style continues to shine. Quartararo tried to reply but the Frenchman was forced to settle for second, on Friday at least.
Aleix Espargaro’s speed leaves him beaming and expecting to carry it into Saturday too, although it got a lot closer from third down. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) slots into fourth as the Italian retains his Portuguese momentum, half a tenth off the Aprilia ahead, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completing the top five.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was reportedly spotted on the 2020 chassis without the carbon fibre insert and took a big step forward as he ended the day in sixth and not just by virtue of a single push. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) turned the tables on teammate Binder to take P7 overall on Friday too, with Binder nevertheless still within that top ten and provisional Q2 graduation zone as the South African slipped into P10 late on, denying HRC wildcard and test rider Stefan Bradl.
Between the two KTMs, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was eighth and Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) ninth, with that leaving a few key names outside that top ten…
The first is Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar). The reigning Champion ends Friday in P13, right behind Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) as both look for more, although Mir has so far taken more MotoGP™ podiums from outside the front two rows of the grid than from on them. Marc Marquez, meanwhile, ends the day in P16 but seemingly didn’t push for a fast lap, leaving everyone guessing on what he’ll have in store for qualifying… especially when it’s a single lap for glory and less a question of stamina for the recovering Spaniard. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) finds himself down in P21, looking for much more as his struggles continue despite being the venue where he took his most recent podium.
That creates another tantalising FP3 though, with the session sure to bubble into a shootout at 9:55 (GMT+2) before qualifying starts at 14:10. Has Bagnaia got pole in the bag, or will Quartararo strike back? And what has Marquez got in the locker for Day 2? We’ll find out soon!
MotoGP™ Friday top five:
1 Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team – Ducati – 1:37.209
2 Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha – +0.178
3 Aleix Espargaro* – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – Aprilia – +0.437
4 Franco Morbidelli* – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha – +0.495
5 Maverick Viñales – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha – +0.517
*Independent Team rider
Lowes lunges late to lead Gardner and Dixon on Day 1
The Brit saves his best until the very last action of the day to depose Gardner, with Dixon denying Bezzecchi and Roberts for third
Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) left it late on Day 1 at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, but the Brit’s last lunge in FP2 sees him end Friday on top of the combined timesheets by just over a tenth and a half ahead of Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) leapt up the timesheets in FP2 to complete the top three, denying Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) by hundredths.
FP1 saw Gardner rule the roost and the Australian was back on top in FP2 until that last lunge from Lowes, showing consistency across both sessions once again – and it’s actually Gardner’s marginally quicker FP1 time that was his best, although his FP2 lap would also have put him P2. Dixon’s FP2 push, meanwhile, made it two Brits who moved up as crunch time for the crucial Q2 provisional places hit, moving from outside the top 20 to sit second in the session and then third as Lowes took over at the top.
Bezzecchi is another whose FP1 lap was quicker, the Italian’s by a few tenths to put him fourth overall on the combined timesheets but just 0.012 behind Dixon. Roberts completes the top five by another tiny margin as the American’s FP2 best was just 0.016 off Bezzecchi’s fastest from FP1.
Portugal winner Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is within a tenth to take P6, beginning a run of riders whose best efforts were set in FP1. The rookie sensation just pipped veteran Jorge Navarro (Lightech Speed Up) by an infinitesimal 0.008, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Fabio Di Giannantonio is even closer in P8 and only 0.006 back, with Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) 0.030 in arrears in ninth. All four were faster in FP1, with Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) completing the top ten and the next rider with a fastest lap from FP2. The Italian also has a Long Lap Penalty to serve in the race for causing a crash last time out on the Algarve.
Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) and Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP 40) complete the fastest 14 so far, currently set to move through to Q2.
Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team), rookie teammate and reigning Moto3™ World Champion Albert Arenas, and Flexbox HP 40’s Hector Garzo are next on the timesheets, currently all set to miss the cut by just hundredths. Canet and Garzo also crashed, as did Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46), Cameron Beaubier (American Racing), Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Tommaso Marcon (MV Agusta Forward Racing), riders all ok.
Can those just on the cusp hit back on Saturday morning in FP3? Find out at 10:55 (GMT +2), before qualifying for the intermediate class from 15:10.
Moto2™ Friday top five:
1 Sam Lowes – Elf Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex – 1:41.515
2 Remy Gardner – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex – +0.160
3 Jake Dixon – Petronas Sprinta Racing – Kalex – +0.270
4 Marco Bezzecchi – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex – +0.282
5 Joe Roberts – Italtrans Racing Team – Kalex – +0.298
Rodrigo pulls the pin to rule Friday in Jerez
The Argentinean leads Antonelli by a margin and the rest by even more as he lays down a marker on Day 1
Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) was once again the fastest rider on Friday as the Gran Premio Red Bull de España got in gear at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, the Argentinean ending the day 0.256 clear of 2019 Spanish GP winner Niccolo Antonelli (Reale Avintia Moto3) on the combined timesheets. It was another tenth a half back to another former Jerez winner in the form of Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) in third too, with Rodrigo once again showing some serious speed on Day 1.
Friday at Jerez was cooler than the usual for the time of year but it remained largely sunny with a few clouds, and it very much remained a serious step down in temperature compared to the 2020 events. This time around, most therefore improved in the afternoon and FP2 saw a good few late lunges up the timesheets, including for Fenati as he took third in the combined standings late on. The top two remained the same in FP1 and FP2 however, with Antonelli topping FP1 from Rodrigo and the Argentinean reversing the order in the afternoon and overall.
A few riders who would go on the end the day within the provisional Q2 graduation zone also showed their first flashes of speed in FP1, with Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PrüstelGP) starting the day in P3 and ending it fourth overall by the close of FP2. His teammate Ryusei Yamanaka likewise impressed, ending the day in sixth. Splitting the two CarXpert PrüstelGP riders was Championship challenger Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing), who ends Friday in fifth overall despite an FP2 crash, rider ok.
Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) showed more consistent speed as he ends Friday in seventh, ahead of Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in P8. Both Acosta and teammate Jaume Masia improved in the latter part of FP2 to take provisional places in Q2 and put in some laps together during the session, with the number 5 completing the top ten as Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) managed to split the two Ajo machines to take ninth.
Currently on to join them in Q2 are Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) as he gained nearly two and a half seconds in FP2, Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) by virtue of his best lap from FP1, Filip Salaç (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3). Alcoba in P14 has the exact same laptime as the rider currently set to miss the cut – Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) – as both set a 1:46.000. The Spaniard, with his second best effort, just makes it through and the Japanese rider is left to rue an FP2 crash.
Suzuki will be one contender looking to hit back in FP3, as will the rider he just beat to the Andalucia GP win last year: John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing). The Scotsman and ended the day in P17 and will want to make his mark on Saturday to move straight through to Q2.
Find out how the pack shuffles in FP3 from 9:00 (GMT +2), before qualifying from 12:35 to decide the grid for another stunner at Jerez.
Moto3™ Friday top five:
1 Gabriel Rodrigo – Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3 – Honda – 1:45.651
2 Niccolo Antonelli – Avintia Esponsorama Moto3 – KTM – +0.256
3 Romano Fenati – Sterilgarda Max Racing Team – Husqvarna – +0.409
4 Jason Dupasquier – CarXpert PruestelGP – KTM – +0.421
5 Darryn Binder – Petronas Sprinta Racing – Honda – +0.537
More, from a press release issued by Tech3 KTM Factory Racing:
Petrucci and Lecuona start sunny Gran Premio Red Bull de España closer to the top
Throughout this first sunny day of the fourth race weekend in 2021, Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Danilo Petrucci feels more at ease with his new KTM RC16. The Italian improved from FP1 to FP2 by 0.592 seconds and missed out on the top 10 by just half a second, finishing day one in P17 overall.
Likewise, Iker Lecuona was lowering his lap time significantly from this morning. The Spaniard was 1.112 seconds quicker this afternoon to conclude Friday only 0.251 seconds behind his teammate. Both, Petrucci and Lecuona have some clear ideas on what to focus on for tomorrow’s Free Practice 3, which starts at 9.55 local time.
“We tried some different things today, but more or less, we still have a good pace on race tyres, but with the new soft tyre, I can’t really improve. Our task for now is, that we need to find out why. In general, I like the bike, but I can’t go faster with the soft tyre, which is quite an issue for the start and everything, so we definitively have to focus on this tomorrow.”
“Honestly, I’m quite happy about today, as I could regain a bit of confidence with the bike while riding on my own. I was pretty consistent and tried to relax more on the bike, plus working a lot with the team. Lap by lap, I improved. On the time attack, I was alone. For sure, we still need to work a lot, but this weekend I already feel way better and I have the feeling we will arrive a lot closer to the top.”
More, from a press release issued by Honda Racing Corporation (HRC):
Stefan Bradl completes strong first day in Jerez
Riding as a wildcard in the MotoGP World Championship, HRC Test Rider Stefan Bradl ended his first day in 11th.
Completing a total of 39 laps over Free Practice 1 and 2, Stefan Bradl set a best time of 1’37.939 This time saw the German rider finish in 11th overall on the combined timesheets, 0.730s from the top spot and ending the day as the second fastest Honda. Having already raced in two Grands Prix this year and completed a number of tests in Jerez, Bradl is confident of putting together a strong weekend on the Honda RC213V.
Stefan Bradl 6
Rider – MotoGP
“Today has been good and I am happy with how we went, especially in FP2. The track was in a good condition and we were able to compare some components and work on improving the setup of the Honda. Like always, the times are super tight so we need to work on a good strategy and setting for the hot lap. Over the longer runs, we are looking good but right now the focus is going fast on Saturday.”
More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP START SPANISH GP WEEKEND WITH TOP-5 RESULTS
Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 30th April 2021
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales continued their 2021 MotoGP campaign today at the start of Round 4, the Spanish GP. They wrapped up the Friday in 2nd and 5th position respectively in the very close combined free practice results with less than a second covering the top-14 riders.
2nd FABIO QUARTARARO 1’37.387 (FP2) / 19 + 19 LAPS
5th MAVERICK VIÑALES 1’37.726 (FP2) / 22 + 20 LAPS
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales had a full programme today at the Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto in preparation for Sunday‘s Gran Premio de España. The Factory Yamaha duo ended the Friday in 2nd and 5th place respectively in the combined free practice timesheets and are in a positive mindset ahead of tomorrow‘s qualifying action.
Quartararo was greatly looking forward to starting this GP. Keen to put in the work required for a good race weekend, he hopped on his YZR-M1 in FP1 and put in 19 laps in total. He mostly focused on getting comfortable with his bike‘s settings. His best time, a 1‘38.344s set on lap 5, put him in fifth place, 0.331s from first.
The Frenchman stuck with the strategy from this morning in FP2. He mainly worked on preparing for Sunday‘s race in the afternoon and only switched to soft-soft tyres for the final stages of the session. He clocked a 1‘37.387s on lap 18/19, that earned him second place in the FP2 and the combined FP rankings, 0.178s off the fastest time.
Viñales is a fan of the Jerez track and knows like no other that the cooler morning session would be best spent preparing a set-up that suits the hotter afternoon conditions. He set a 1’38.434s fastest time on lap 15/22, securing ninth place, 0.421s from the top.
As the temperatures rose in the afternoon, the times dropped considerably. The Spaniard quietly worked on his bike for most of the available track time, but with a little more than six minutes left on the clock he gave an extra push. Having opted for the medium-soft tyre combination, he set a 1‘37.726s on lap 20/20 that earned him fifth place in the F2 and combined session times, 0.517s to first.
Overall, we‘ve had a quite positive first day in Jerez. The track temperatures were significantly lower today than they were last year in July, so that meant the settings had to be adjusted and also the riders had to adapt. In terms of speed, we are happy, but we have some clear points of improvement on our list for tomorrow. Fabio suffered from an unexpected tyre drop. We will try to improve this by adjusting the settings and we also count on the improvement of the tarmac as the weekend progresses. On Maverick’s side, we were able to improve the set-up of his bike today, adjusting the area that was a weak point for him at the last GP. But we still have to work a bit more on the balance of the bike to improve cornering. We were able to take time in today’s sessions to already explore some tyre options, which is always fruitful when preparing for a race. Most likely, we will work more on the race set-up in FP4, because we expect that all riders will use FP3 as a ’mini time-attack session‘ to get into the top 10, as per usual.
First of all, I’m feeling good on the bike, that’s important. We have great pace, but we are struggling with used tyres, which is strange. Last year, when the conditions were much hotter, I felt zero drop on the rear tyre. Today, I felt quite a big drop in the morning and the afternoon, so we need to check what’s happening. We already have a clear idea of what to try tomorrow, and I think it’s going to work. I’m feeling great and have great confidence with the bike.
I don‘t know about my chances in the race yet, we will have to see on Sunday. It‘s very important to understand the level of the bike. We have tried some important things on track. I think it‘s good and that we have quite a fast consistent rhythm, and we can also be fast on one lap. Today, I didn‘t have an amazing feeling on the bike, but anyway we were there, in the top 5. It was quite a solid day. Basically, we feel good, and I think tomorrow we can make a good step forward.
More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:
ANOTHER GREAT START TO THE WEEKEND FOR ALEIX ESPARGARÓ AND HIS APRILIA
THE SPANISH RIDER IS THIRD AND HAS A GOOD PACE AT THE END OF THE FIRST DAY IN JEREZ
LORENZO SAVADORI IS ALSO LOOKING GOOD AS HE IMPROVES IN THE SADDLE OF HIS RS-GP
The good trend for Aleix Espargaró and his Aprilia RS-GP, already among the protagonists in the early races of the season, found confirmation on the first day of practice in Jerez.
Aleix finished the first two sessions comforted by his time, finishing third (1’37.646) and staying consistently in the top positions.
But he especially demonstrated an extremely consistent pace: Aleix was the only rider on the track to lap below 1’38 five times. His second run was spectacular with 1’37.9, 1’37.8 and 1’37.9, all in a row. He then finished his third run with a 1’37.6 and a 1’37.7.
In short, it was a good start that places him among the candidates to go straight through to the Q2 session tomorrow, decisive in defining the grid for the Spanish GP on Sunday.
Lorenzo Savadori closed out his Friday with the 19th best time (1,38.594), seven tenths of a second from the top ten. With such close standings, a sign of the great balance in the MotoGP championship, any progress at all is important and Lorenzo continues improving.
“It’s only Friday, but being fast right from the first lap is important. Especially looking at the pace in race configuration, I think I was one of the more competitive riders. Tomorrow I expect the track conditions to change and that could shake things up for everyone. In any case, there is no doubt as to our speed, even if I was unable to improve a lot in the time attack on the soft tyre. On a track like this one, overtaking is no simple thing, so our goal for tomorrow will have to be the first three rows at the very least.”
“Today was a good day, despite the fact that I wasn’t able to make a difference on the soft tyre. These are things that are part of my growing process in this category. The positive thing is that we figured out where we need to make changes to improve more, so we’ll try already tomorrow.”
More, from a press release issued by Sky Racing Team/VR46:
P15 FOR LUCA MARINI AFTER THE FIRST FREE PRACTICES AT THE SPANISH GP
In Jerez the rider of the Sky VR46 Avintia is just a few tenths from the direct access to the Q2.
Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), April 30th 2021 – A very demanding first day at work in the garage but with more than positive feelings for Luca Marini and the Sky VR46 Avintia in Jerez de la Frontera where the Spanish GP will be hosted on Sunday.
Progress continues on the Ducati for Luca who closes in 15th place in the combined standings of the Day1 and he is just 3 tenths of a second from the Top10 and the direct access to the Q2 with a best lap time of 1.38.274.
The Jerez track with the MotoGP is really tough: all the turns are so close practically you can’t breathe. However, it is always a beautiful track. I am happy with the work done today, so many positive feelings. We have continued to work on the position on the bike and made a good step forward. Also on the set up we changed something compared to Qatar and Portimao, we can still do a little bit on the rear to be perfect, but I’m happy. On the tires choice, we need to understand exactly what to do with the front for the qualifying and then decide between medium or hard on the rear for the race even if at the moment I’m not able to completely excluding the soft. After the first day of free practices I am a second of gap from Pecco (Bagnaia) and for the first time here it is not bad at all.
Jerez is always a fascinating and special track even if for MotoGP, compared to Qatar and Portugal, it is much smaller. Compared to the other tracks, Ducati is struggling a little more here because when the temperature rises, the bike slide a lot and no longer hold the trajectories as you want. One aspect to work on for the race. Overall a good day with Luca very close to the direct access to the Q2.
More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:
Spanish GP – Johann Zarco in top ten after the first day, Tito had a positive first experience with the bike
The show has begun at the Spanish GP. After the first day of free practice, Johann Zarco finishes in ninth position whilst Tito Rabat comes in at twenty-third in the combined standings. Johann Zarco is off to a positive start and sets the sixth fastest lap-time in FP1. During FP2 he worked with the team to improve both his confidence with the bike and his speed. He set his best lap-time, 1: 37.888, on the sixteenth lap of the afternoon session. Tito Rabat had his first experience with the bike this morning in FP1. It was a positive first session for the Spanish rider, in which he started to get familiar with the bike. Despite a harmless crash, Rabat improved his time by 5 tenths of a second in the afternoon (1: 39.023), compared with his previous FP1 lap-time.
I am very happy to have had the opportunity to come back to MotoGP and ride on an official bike. This morning I felt good, and we worked to try and gain as much confidence as possible with the bike. I made a mistake in FP2 and I crashed but nonetheless, I am happy because I improved on my FP1 lap-time.
I am happy with today, the team and I worked very well together, and we focused on the set-up to improve the feeling with the bike as much as possible. It will be very important to set a good lap-time tomorrow and remain within the top ten.
More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:
Repsol Honda Team looking for more tomorrow
Times were tight at the top of the time sheets as another weekend of premier class action began in Jerez, Pol Espargaro ending the day 14th with Marc Marquez less than 0.2s behind in 16th.
There were clear skies throughout the day as the MotoGP World Championship continued the 2021 campaign with round four in Jerez. The start of the Gran Premio Red Bull de España saw less than a second splitting the majority of the field in both sessions.
Wasting no time in the morning, Pol Espargaro was straight out on track as he began to learn the 4.4-kilometer-long circuit as a Honda rider. An off-track excursion for Espargaro midway through Free Practice 1 did little to upset his overall pace in the session. A time of 1’38.433 saw Espargaro end the morning in eighth place. Shaving a further three tenths off his time in Free Practice 2, the #44 finished the day in 14th overall and within a second of the fastest time. As in previous weekends, his main goal for Saturday is a spot Q2 to start further ahead on the grid.
Marc Marquez’s second race weekend of the season got off to a steady start as the eight-time World Champion worked to tune his Honda RC213V for the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto. Ending the first session of the day in third, Marquez spent the second Friday session working further on the setup of his bike as he continually assesses his physical condition. Ending the opening day as the 16th fastest rider overall, Marquez was the only one who did not improve their time in FP2.
Saturday morning offers a final chance for riders to improve and move into the combined top ten for a guaranteed place in Q2. Free Practice 3 is scheduled to start at 09:55 Local Time and both sides of the Repsol Honda Team garage are determined to show their potential in Jerez.
“At the end of the day we couldn’t take the most profit from the new tyre, so our position is a little lower than it could have been. But we have been working a lot to understand the limits of the bike and where we can push. We already feel better with the bike than we did in Portimao and I think we can achieve something interesting on Saturday. The goal is Q2 but our race pace is not looking too bad. It’s good to be at such a familiar track with more consistent conditions.”
“The approach of the weekend is a bit different to Portimao, our aim is to keep our physical condition more constant throughout the weekend, so we weren’t pushing as much today. Tomorrow is the time to push and overall, I feel quite good on the bike, I’m happy with where we are at this moment. There’s still some work to do on the physical side of things, my position on the bike is still not perfect but we are able to push when we need to. We keep working on everything and improving step by step.”
More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:
Fourth place and good race pace for Franco on Jerez opening day
Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi end first day of Spanish GP action fourth and 21st respectively
A strong start to the SpanishGP from Franco Morbidelli saw him end the opening day at the Jerez circuit fourth, despite opting to focus on his race pace. PETRONAS Yamaha SRT team-mate Valentino Rossi also opted not to set a time attack lap and was 21st.
In what proved to be an extremely tight FP1 session, where the top 17 riders were separated by only 0.858secs, Morbidelli posted an initial time that placed him inside the top-three. After the 45 minutes, he ended FP1 12th, just 0.479secs shy of the top (1min 38.492secs). Franco proved to be one to watch in FP2, holding the top spot for the majority of the session with a 1min 37.704secs lap. Although he opted to remain on the medium tyre for his final run to keep working on race pace, while most other riders opted for the soft, his earlier time saw him end the day fourth.
Team-mate Rossi’s first laps of the SpanishGP weekend saw him sit just outside of the top-ten positions. With warmer temperatures expected in the afternoon session, the Italian used FP1 to work on the set up of his bike. At the end of the 45 minutes, his best time of 1min 39.299secs put him 20th. Valentino continued to focus on race pace and finding his rhythm around the Jerez circuit in FP2. He looked set to improve on his final lap, but unfortunately it was deleted due to exceeding track limits. Rossi ended the day 21st with a 1min 38.698secs lap.
Free Practice 3 will get underway for Morbidelli and Rossi tomorrow at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT), before the two MotoGP qualifying sessions begin at 2.10pm local time (8.10pm MYT).
This track seems to suit our bike, it worked very well here throughout today and I’ve had a really good feeling with it as well. There were some areas I identified this morning that I thought could be worked on and we were able to improve them this afternoon. The pace is good, we just need to see what it will be like on a hot lap, but we have a good base to move forward from. I’m quite happy that we were able to get into the all-important top-ten for tomorrow, as we were focusing on the race pace. We need to keep on working and trying to adjust to improve those things that we are lacking, but we have started off very well today.
In the past Jerez has always been a good track for me and I have some great memories from here. Unfortunately today was very difficult and I was suffering with rear grip issues, especially with the soft tyre. The warmer track conditions in the afternoon helped to give us a bit more grip and we were a bit better as a result. I do think our race pace is better than our one lap pace though, as it was the soft tyre that we struggled with more. I would have been a few positions higher, but I touched the green on my final lap and so they cancelled it. We’ve tried to work on the setting today to improve things but the feeling was still similar. It’s important to be within the top-ten in FP3, so we will try some more things tomorrow and try to be better. Usually the track improves day-by-day so we will see what happens.
More, from a press release issued by Ducati Lenovo Team:
Bagnaia tops Day 1 of free practices of the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez. Twelfth Jack Miller.
Francesco Bagnaia set the fastest time on Day 1 of free practices for the MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix, scheduled for this Sunday at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Andalusia.
Fourth at the end of FP1 this morning, the Italian rider was able to take full advantage of the last minutes available in this afternoon’s FP2, stopping the clock at 1:37.209 and taking the top spot at the end of Friday.
Jack Miller, seventeenth in FP1 this morning, improved his best lap time by almost a second in the afternoon session, ending FP2 in twelfth place in 1:37.965, 756 thousandths behind his teammate.
Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1st (1:37.209)
“Jerez is a track that I like and that suits my riding style with the Desmosedici GP. Last year I was fast, but this year I’ve definitely taken a step forward. This morning, even though I was struggling at the beginning with the low temperatures, after a few adjustments, I was able to regain feeling with my bike and set the fourth fastest time. In the afternoon, we worked on the race pace, first with the hard tyre and then with a used medium tyre, with which I was able to put in a good lap time. In the final minutes of FP2, I finally tried the time attack. I’m pleased with the way we’ve worked so far and confident for tomorrow’s qualifying”.
Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 12th (1:37.965)
“All in all, it’s been a positive first day: I’ve worked a lot on my feeling with the Desmosedici GP, trying to find the right pace for the race, lap by lap. Unfortunately, in the time attack this afternoon, I made a small mistake in the last sector. We’re not far off, and now we’ll work to try to improve even further tomorrow”.
The Ducati Lenovo Team riders will be back on track tomorrow, Saturday 1st May, at 9:55 am local time for FP3, before heading into qualifying for the Spanish GP starting from 2:10 pm, at the end of FP4.
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:
TAKA FINISHES DAY ONE IN JEREZ AS TOP HONDA
Takaaki Nakagami made an encouraging start to the Spanish Grand Prix as he ended the opening day of free practice in 6th position. Building on his superb top-10 finish at Portimao last time out, the LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider showed excellent pace in both sessions at Jerez to leave himself well-placed ahead of qualifying on Saturday.
In warm and dry conditions in southern Spain, Taka demonstrated the kind of consistency that was his hallmark throughout last season. The Japanese star was eventually edged down into 11th in a tight FP1 session, despite being less than two tenths behind Marc Marquez in third. But he would finish the day as top Honda in the combined times as he improved in FP2 to secure sixth spot overnight, having gone second fastest at one point.
Takaaki Nakagami – 6th
“It was a good day for us and a good start to the Spanish GP. Overall, P6 is a good result and I’m happy with my feeling on the bike. In all the sessions I was able to be consistent, which was good to see. Each outing was really positive, but we definitely need to go another few tenths faster in FP3 to improve. Hopefully we can make a 36, even a high one, to stay in the top 10, this is our first priority for tomorrow morning.”
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:
ÁLEX MÁRQUEZ TARGETS IMPROVEMENT IN JEREZ
Álex Márquez will look for improvement on Saturday after a tough start to free practice at the Spanish Grand Prix. The LCR Honda CASTROL rider could not find the kind of rhythm he showed at Portimao in the last round and ended the day in Jerez down in 20th position on the timesheets.
Back on home soil, the Spaniard tried out various set-ups at the Circuito Jerez, but could not make the progress he hoped for. He was 16th in a competitive FP1 despite being less than a second off the session’s fastest lap. But he was only able to improve by two tenths in FP2 and now has work to do ahead of qualifying tomorrow.
Álex Márquez – 20th
“It was not the best day for us, obviously. We didn’t get at any moment the feeling on the bike to push, so there are a lot of things to improve tomorrow. We tried two different bikes today and this probably confused me a bit. Tomorrow, we need to be more clear in what we do, but first of all, I’m the person who needs to improve my riding style, so from the morning I will try to improve to be closer. I hope tomorrow we’ll make a big step and be closer to the front guys to make a good qualifying.”
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:
PACE HOTS UP BY THE SECOND ON DAY 1 IN JEREZ
Alex Rins: 8th – 1’37.847 (+ 0.638)
Joan Mir: 13th – 1’38.040 (+ 0.831)
The Circuit of Jerez – Angel Nieto has welcomed the MotoGP™ paddock for the fourth round of the 2021 Championship, and the classic Spanish GP is sure to be a wild one, with perfect weather and tight times due to dominate proceedings.
Team Suzuki Ecstar got off to a steady start in the morning’s FP1, which saw much cooler conditions than last year’s summer slot at the circuit. Joan Mir had a few issues which delayed him joining the action, but after that both he and Alex Rins reported good feelings onboard their GSX-RRs and they were able to close the session, which saw the top 19 covered by one second, in 10th and 14th respectively.
Conditions were optimum for FP2, and the Suzuki pair set about putting in some long consistent runs, gradually bringing down their lap times, before doing a short time attack at the end of the session. Both Mir and Rins managed to get themselves into the Top 10 with just minutes to go, but they were shuffled back a few places by the time the chequered flag was out, the team closed Friday with Rins in eighth and Mir in 13th.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“The first day in Jerez has been so-so for us due to a few issues in FP1 and that delayed our work on the settings. But we were able to make up for this in FP2 and the riders began to prepare for the race, and we were quite happy with the feelings and pace. There are still more improvements to make so we’ll work on this in the morning and in FP3 we’ll try to do some fast flying laps.”
“It was a good day and I finished up in eighth, although I expected that I would be closer to my rivals when I put the soft tyre in, and able to set a slightly faster lap. But I’m ready to push again tomorrow. This morning in FP1 I was struggling a bit with the bike, but we fixed the issue and I felt good after that. I think tomorrow will be very close, and even FP3 will be like a qualifying session!”
“We had some trouble at the start of the day with the electronics on the bike, and I lost a bit of time, so I ended up doing a lot of laps on the medium tyre and I didn’t really get the chance to do a time attack with a soft tyre. But even on the used tyre my feeling was quite good and I’m happy about that. Bike problems are all part of the game, and we solved it quickly, so I’m ready for tomorrow.”