More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Miller fastest, six factories in the top six on a tricky Friday in Valencia
A full house of MotoGP™ manufacturers, a pitlane start for Viñales and Independent Team riders locking out the top four made for an intriguing Day 1
Friday, 06 November 2020
Fastest in the morning and fastest in the afternoon: Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) is the master of Day 1 at the Gran Premio de Europa. A wet morning followed by a drying Circuit Ricardo Tormo saw the Australian set a best time of a 1:32.528 to take to the top, 0.092 ahead of second fastest Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini). Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was two tenths off Miller in FP2 to take third, fastest of the top six in the title fight. Friday also saw all six manufacturers represented in the top six, and the top four all hailed from Independent Teams.
Some drama hit for title challenger Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) though. The Spaniard will have to start the race from pitlane on Sunday, five seconds after the green light at pit exit, for an engine allocation infringement.
Miller was the fastest man in a rain-soaked start to the GP, heading Morbidelli by half a second by the end of FP1. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) was third quickest, ahead of Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) and Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who completed the top five despite a crash.
Of the other top six title challengers, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) ended FP1 in P9 just ahead of Viñales in P10. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins was in P13, whereas Championship leader and his teammate Joan Mir. The man second in the standings, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), was last on the timesheets after a tougher morning.
Throughout the session, many eyes were on Garrett Gerloff (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) as the American headed out on track for the first time subbing for Valentino Rossi on Day 1. The performance was exemplary, the WorldSBK podium finisher ending the session in P16 – right ahead of Championship leader Mir and only a second and a half off the top.
Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) crashed unhurt at Turn 2.
With the rain halting for the time being in Valencia, a few of the riders headed straight out on slicks. A dry line had appeared by the end of the Moto3™ session but there were still plenty of ominous-looking clouds hovering over the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, despite track temperatures holding at a steady 20 degrees Celsius.
On his first flying lap, Championship leader Mir set the fastest lap of the weekend – a 1:41.581, four tenths faster than Miller’s FP1 time in the wet. But the number 36 then had a moment on his second flying lap and that proved good warning that the track was still very treacherous, and the stakes high. The riders were pushing though and the red sector times were everywhere, vital track time on slick tyres ahead of what could be a wet FP3 – so crucial for an automatic place in Q2.
Despite the slight scare though, Mir was still setting the pace early doors – before Miller set a 1:37.029 to go top. From there the Championship leader was bumped down and further down to find himself in P16 with 28 minutes to go, such were the improving conditions. Meanwhile Bagnaia was feeling no ill effects from his Turn 2 crash this morning to slot into P2 midway through FP2, making it a Pramac Racing 1-2, before Gerloff stole a little more limelight.
The American enjoyed an incredible FP1 and it only continued in the afternoon. In the mixed conditions, he shot up to P5 with just under 20 minutes to go – continuing the impressive display at a track he’s never raced before. With the news that Rossi will be able to compete in the rest of the weekend confirmed on Friday, Gerloff most certainly made the most of the two sessions he was on the bike.
Meanwhile, Alex Rins had taken over at the top from Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) as the rain held off. Mir then shot up to P3 as the riders headed out on soft tyres in a pretty important final 12 minutes, with rain potentially disrupting FP3 on Saturday morning. The times were being made to count and Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) took over in P1 with a 1:33.229 as Miller moved back into P2, but then Pol Espargaro upped the ante even further with a 1:32.952. That was the benchmark with eight minutes to go.
Morbidelli and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) then took turns as nearest challenger, and drama hit for Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) as he crashed at the final corner – completing the lap at a brisk jog, back into pitlane on foot. Unfortunately, the effort to get back was in vain as his second bike wasn’t ready to head out for the final couple of minutes.
In those final couple of minutes, rather crucially, Championship leader Mir was P12. His teammate Rins popped up into P8, before Mir then went P6 just before the chequered flag came out to get back into that all-important top ten. Quartararo was still lingering in P17, but that changed on his final lap as the Frenchman shot up to P6 – and Morbidelli took over at the top. It wasn’t over yet, however, as Miller then produced a late time attack masterpiece to claim P1 for the second time on Friday. Finally, Aleix Espargaro demoted Morbidelli and slotted his Aprilia into second – which also dropped Mir down to 11th. For the moment…
Behind the top three, Nakagami holds P4 overall as the Japanese rider finishes less than a tenth ahead of Pol Espargaro, with Rins’ P6 that final glorious piece to make it six manufacturers inside the top six on the combined timesheets. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) landed a last lap good enough to put the South African P7 too, the rookie finishing just ahead of Dovizioso and Quartararo. The two title contenders are joined by Championship leader Mir in the top 10 after all, however, with a lap cancelled for Crutchlow due to a yellow flag infringement and that dropping the British rider to P12. Viñales splits Mir and the Brit, P11 overall, but the number 12 knows he has to start from pitlane.
Gerloff eventually finished P19 at the end of his only day’s work this weekend, but the American was just 1.5 seconds off Miller to add quite an accomplishment to his CV. Valentino Rossi returns to his YZR-M1 for Saturday and Sunday in Valencia, having now returned the required two negative test results for Covid-19.
That’s it from Friday! Will the weather change again? Is Q2 set? How will Rossi go as he returns? Tune in for FP3 at 10:55 local time (GMT+2), before qualifying will then decide the grid from 14:50!
MotoGP™: the five fastest on Friday
1 Jack Miller* – Pramac Racing – Ducati – 1:32.528
2 Aleix Espargaro* – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – Aprilia – +0.092
3 Franco Morbidelli* – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha – +0.276
4 Takaaki Nakagami* – LCR Honda Idemitsu – Honda – +0.338
5 Pol Espargaro – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – KTM – +0.424
*Independent Team rider
Bastianini bests Lowes by just 0.057 on Friday
The top two in the Championship prove the fastest duo on a mixed Day 1 – but in reverse order
Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) left it late but turned the tables on Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) by the end of play on Day 1 in Valencia, the ‘Beast’ denying key rival and Championship leader Lowes by just 0.057. Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing) was third fastest, the American making his presence felt at the top in the afternoon. Wet in the morning and dry – ish – in the afternoon, laptimes tumbled but remained far from those set in ideal conditions.
Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) went fastest in FP1, the Swiss veteran the only rider to dip beneath the 1:49 barrier. His timesheet-topping 1:48.975 a whole 14 seconds slower than the intermediate class lap record around the Circuit Ricardo Tormo to prove conditions were most definitely wet.
Rookie Hector Garzo (FlexBox HP40) put in a strong showing to sit just a tenth adrift, with fellow Moto2™ debutant Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team Moto2) three tenths adrift of his compatriot in third. Canet’s teammate Hafizh Syahrin topped the timesheets during the early stages before suffering a highside out of the final corner, the Malaysian declared fit to continue and ending the session fourth.
Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) and man of the moment Sam Lowes sat fifth and sixth respectively, with Federal Oil Gresini’s Nicolo Bulega less than a tenth back on both men in seventh. Bastianini had a close call during the session, making an impressive save at Turn 14, and ended the session eighth. Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP40) rounded out the top 10.
Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) also crashed in FP1, as did Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia).
After a wet FP1, no rain fell in the afternoon and it allowed the intermediate class to get some valuable dry running in, although damp patches remained. In the opening exchanges, Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) – who didn’t venture out in FP1 – crashed at Turn 4. Unfortunately for the in-form British rider, it was confirmed later that he had fractured his right wrist.
Lowes was over a second quicker than anyone in the early stages of FP1, before Roberts then chopped the gap down to six tenths as Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) slotted into P3. Lowes’ session wasn’t all plain sailing though as the number 22 crashed at Turn 8 to put a slight dampener on his afternoon. By the end of the session, his substantial lead was cut significantly too – and beaten by Bastianini. Roberts completes the top three in FP2 and overall, as the combined timesheets were the same for the top 28.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) went well in the dry conditions to claim a top five, with Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) slotting into sixth as the Australian beat Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) by just 0.001. Corsi, Garzo and Bezzecchi round out the top 10 on Friday, with Lüthi, Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Bulega and Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) currently set to join them in Q2.
Third in the standings, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) is the man currently on course to miss the cut, finishing P15 and looking for more on Saturday. Moto2™ head back out for FP3 at 11:55 (GMT +1), before qualifying from 15:50.
Moto2™: the five fastest on Friday
1 Enea Bastianini – Italtrans Racing Team – Kalex – 1:36.804
2 Sam Lowes – EG 0,0 Marc VDS – Kalex – +0.057
3 Joe Roberts – Tennor American Racing – Kalex – +0.152
4 Lorenzo Baldassarri – Flexbox HP 40 – Kalex – +0.161
5 Fabio Di Giannantonio – HDR Heidrun Speed Up – Speed Up – +0.262
Advantage Vietti after a tricky Day 1 in Valencia
The Italian goes fastest by two tenths to take the reigns on Friday, with Championship leader Arenas down in 18th
Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) was fastest on Friday at the Gran Premio de Europa, the Italian therefore also the top title challenger on the timesheets after a day of tricky conditions. Vietti led 2019 Valencia GP winner Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) by a couple of tenths, with Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) in hot pursuit in third.
Championship leader Albert Arenas (Valresa Aspar Team Moto3) ended the day down in P18, with closest rival Ai Ogura only a couple of places ahead of him. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing), meanwhile, had a day of two halves and ends up outside the top twenty overall.
Masia retained his recent grip on the top in FP1 though, nearly three tenths clear of closest challenger Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) as the day began in the full wet. Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was third quickest but four tenths down, with Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) a tenth behind him. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) completed the top five.
A good few riders fell foul of the tricky conditions. Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia), Tony Arbolino, Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PrüstelGP) and long-time session leader Suzuki were the first riders to crash, with Barry Baltus (CarXpert PrüstelGP), Khairul Idham Pawi (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Championship leader Albert Arenas going down too. The latter high-sided on the exit of Turn 4 but thankfully, despite a heavy crash, the Spaniard was ok. Alonso Lopez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) and Max Kofler (CIP Green Power) also crashed at the end of the session. All riders ok.
John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was sixth, Celestino Vietti ninth, Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) 20th and Arenas 25th.
With improved conditions, laptimes tumbled for the entirety of the field bar Ryusei Yamanaka (Estrella Galicia 0,0) in FP2. The Japanese rider suffered a heavy crash, although he was declared fit. Over six seconds off the pole position lap record was far from dry and perfect conditions, however.
Vietti led the afternoon session and therefore heads the combined timesheets by 0.201, with Garcia second as he returns to the scene of his first Grand Prix win. Fenati put Husqvarna in third, 0.018 off Garcia.
Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) kept his Friday reputation for pace as he took fourth overall, although nearly half a second back, with the Spaniard ending the day just 0.022 clear of Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) as the Czech rider completed the top five.
Some of those in the top echelons of the Championship standings ended up a little further down the timesheets by the end of play. Arbolino was sixth and McPhee tenth, but Ogura was 16th, Arenas 18th and Masia ultimately down in P21 despite topping FP1… but then, conditions are likely to change on Saturday, and again for race day.
Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Moto3) was P7, ahead of Migno and Toba as they slotted in ahead of McPhee. From 11th to 14th, Lopez, Kunii, Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) and Riccardo Rossi (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy) currently stand to move through to Q2.
How will the deck shuffle on Saturday? FP3 begins at 10:00 (GMT +1), before qualifying from 13:15.
Moto3™: the five fastest on Friday
1 Celestino Vietti – Sky Racing Team VR46 – KTM 1:45.356
2 Sergio Garcia – Estrella Galicia 0,0 – Honda +0.201
3 Romano Fenati – Sterilgarda Max Racing Team – Husqvarna +0.219
4 Raul Fernandez – Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM +0.494
5 Filip Salač – Rivacold Snipers Team – Honda +0.516