MotoGP: Miller Tops Wet FP2 At Misano II (Updated)

MotoGP: Miller Tops Wet FP2 At Misano II (Updated)

© 2021, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

MotoGP FP2

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Miller leads the charge at Misano, Bagnaia 8th and Quartararo 16th

Ducati and Aprilia dominate the top three on a damp Day 1, with the title contenders a little further back on Friday

Friday, 22 October 2021

 

Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) ended a wet Day 1 at the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna at the summit thanks to a superb 1:41.305 in FP2, a lap time that saw the Australian enjoy a huge advantage of nearly a second over Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) by the time action came to a close. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) left it late to claim P3 on Friday, but the Spaniard is the only other rider to get within a second of Miller at Misano so far.

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) ended the day in P8, but Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) had an even tougher time of it as the Frenchman took P16 on the combined timesheets. Not the ideal start to a #MatchPoint weekend, but there is plenty, plenty left in the locker in Emilia-Romagna.

FP1

Zarco enjoyed a very successful opening session of the weekend as the premier class completed a rain-soaked Friday morning, the Frenchman fastest as he seeks to take home the top Independent Team rider crown this weekend. Second fastest was Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), but the eight-time World Champion was 1.4s down on Zarco’s 1:42.374. Miller was third, starting the weekend off well, as teammate Bagnaia initially did the opposite and crashed late on at Turn 8, rider ok.

 

Johann Zarco. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Johann Zarco. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) still made it three Ducatis in the top four though, with Bagnaia shuffled down to P6 as Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) impressed as the quickest Yamaha in fifth. Championship leader Quartararo started the day finishing 18th.

Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) both crashed unhurt in the opening stages of the session, and Aprilia wildcard Lorenzo Savadori was another to tumble.

FP2

Rain in the morning and in the early afternoon meant the premier class got plenty of wet weather running under their belts on Friday, but the sun did creep through the clouds for most of FP2, allowing conditions – and therefore times – to improve. Miller was quick to demote FP1 pacesetter Zarco to P2 too, with the Aussie sitting over a second clear of anyone for a while and all but two riders improving by the mid-point of the afternoon stint.

With more rain forecast for Saturday morning as well, the conditions in FP2 – wet, but much better than FP1 – could be the best the riders face in the chase for an automatic place in Q2. And Quartararo was P12 with five minutes to go, with title rival Bagnaia looking more comfortable – after his crash in FP1 – in P5. But no improvements came from the Frenchman in the closing stages, meaning Quartararo was eventually shuffled down to P16 and Pecco – as things stand – would make his way into Q2 in P8.

 

Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Aleix Espargaro took P3 by the end of the session as he seeks to stop Zarco taking top Independent this weekend, ahead of an impressive KTM push just behind. The top ten after Friday is solely European manufacturers, with Ducati, Aprilia and KTM locking out provisional places in Q2…

Combined timesheets

Behind Miller, Zarco and Aleix Espargaro, that KTM push was led by Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) as the Spaniard impressed in the tricky conditions, as he’s done a few times of late. The Spaniard ends Friday in P4 on the combined standings after finishing FP1 in ninth, with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 1.2 down on Miller but taking P5. The Portuguese rider also claimed top 10s in both sessions.

Rookie and home hero Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia) very much impressed in P6as he prepares for his second premier class race at Misano, with another impressive performance on his tail too: Savadori. The Aprilia test rider and former full timer produced some familiar, classy wet weather prowess to pocket a P7 on Friday, fractionally ahead of Bagnaia in P8.

Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) added another dash of Austria to the top ten in ninth, with Martin (Pramac Racing) currently the final rider set to move through to Q2. Which means no Quartararo. Reigning Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and San Marino GP podium man Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) also missed out, and by exactly the same 0.033 as they set identical best laptimes on Friday.

All eyes will be pointing towards the skies when the riders open their curtains ahead of FP3, with plenty of big names – including Quartararo, legend Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and COTA-winning Marc Marquez. Tune into a vital FP3 from the Emilia-Romagna GP at 09:55 local time (GMT+2) on Saturday morning to see if title leader Quartararo can claw his way into the top 10, before qualifying from 14:10!

 

Augusto Fernandez leads Gardner on a day of two halves for Moto2™

The Spaniard heads timesheets from the Championship leader, with Raul Fernandez down in eighth after a damp FP1 and a dry window of opportunity in FP2

 

Augusto Fernandez (37). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Augusto Fernandez (37). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) put together an impressive day of two halves on Friday at the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia Romagna, fast in the wet and the dry and top overall. He has close company from Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in second, with Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) locking out a top three split by less than a tenth.

Title challenger and rookie sensation Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) ended Day 1 in P8 and will be looking for more on Saturday.

FP1

Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) topped the timesheets in a wet FP1 with a 1:48.322, ahead of Augusto Fernandez just 0.063s in arrears. Rookie Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP) impressed in the wet and enjoyed a solid opening stint with P3.

Rookie Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40) rounded out the top five, as title contenders Raul Fernandez and Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Remy Gardner, the Championship leader, ended the session 10th and 15th respectively.

Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2), Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) all crashed in quick succession at the final corner early in FP1 – riders ok. Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing), Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Barry Baltus (NTS RW Racing GP) were other riders to crash unhurt as the conditions caught out a fair few.

Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) also got caught out, but the Dutchman didn’t technically crash. Instead, he pulled off a true all-timer with one of the greatest saves ever.

FP2

It was by no means perfect in the afternoon but by the end, the intermediate class were able to get in some slick running. Augusto Fernandez was fastest as he impressed in both sessions, with Championship leader Gardner the rider a close second in the afternoon, 0.076 off. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) also finished within a tenth of the top in third, with a bigger gap back to his teammate, Jake Dixon, in fourth.

Gardner was the first rider to venture out on slicks as no rain fell for large parts of the afternoon and after a couple of laps, the Australian went P1. This prompted everyone else to stick a set of slick tyres in as we witnessed a very busy final 10 minutes of the day, with every rider improving their times.

Those times were chopping and changing lap by lap, but Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was seemingly struggling to find pace. The Spaniard, second in the title fight, was 30th with under a minute to go but pulled out two personal bests to climb to what could be a crucial P8.

One headline crash saw Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) take a tumble, and sadly the American was then declared unfit for a broken left collarbone.

Combined timesheets

Augusto Fernandez, Gardner and Vierge end the day close at the top with Dixon fourth, 0.516 off. But the Brit had some breathing space of his own as Vietti took P5 but 1.223 down on Augusto Fernandez.

Lowes finished a solid P6 ahead of Ogura, with both bouncing back from FP1 crashes. Raul Fernandez is 1.4s shy of Augusto Fernandez’ and down in P8, with Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) ninth fastest on Friday. 2021 FIM Moto2™ European Champion Fermin Aldeguer (+EGO Speed Up) completes the top 10, impressing once again.

As it stands, Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP 40), Marcos Ramirez (American Racing), Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and San Marino GP podium  finisher Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) are the last currently set to graduate straight to Q2… leaving Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) the first rider looking for a way through.

Make sure to tune into Moto2™ FP2 at 10:55 local time (GMT+2) to see who will be confirmed as heading straight into Q2, before qualifying from 15:10!

 

 

Migno pips Acosta by thousandths, Foggia 23rd on wet Day 1

The veteran home hero ends Day 1 just ahead of the Championship leader, with Foggia down the order on a tougher Friday

 

Andrea Migno (16). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Andrea Migno (16). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) finished the San Marino GP on the podium and as action recommences at Misano for the Gran Premio Nolan del Made In Italy e dell’Emilia Romagna, the home hero was back at the sharp end on a wet Day 1. He beat Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) by just 0.007 on the combined timesheets, with his Rivacold Snipers teammate Alberto Surra also flying the flag for the home heroes in P3 overall, nearly three tenths off the top.

Championship challenger Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) was down in P23 and a fair way back on Acosta, but with conditions on Friday wet all day for Moto3™ and race day expected to be dry, there may well have been more to lose than gain in pushing for the top…

FP1

The morning is when Migno made his mark, topping the timesheets despite a late crash at Turn 3. The Italian set a 1:52.529 to beat teammate Surra by 0.278, with Filip Salač (CarXpert PrüstelGP) claiming P3 in the opening session.

The bigger headline, however, was a crash for Acosta as the rookie sensation highsided at Turn 6, but rider ok. He ended the session 1.7 seconds off the top in 15th in the tricky conditions, with title rival Foggia close behind in 17th.

Two fresh faces completed the top five in FP1: wildcard Mario Aji (Honda Team Asia) was fourth as the Indonesian made an immediate impression, and rookie COTA winner Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) took P5.

FP2

Acosta bounced back, more figuratively, in the afternoon, the rookie showing some wet weather prowess to end FP2 fastest and with quite a significant gap too, nearly eight tenths clear of Surra after another damp outing. Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) completed the top three with a late push towards the top, ahead of Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46 Academy) and Salač. The gaps behind Acosta all made up of mere hundredths.

Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power), Aji, Lorenzo Fellon (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Salač all crashed in FP2, all riders ok.

Foggia ended the session down in P22, the Italian not breaking into his usual frontrunning postcode.

Combined Timesheets

Migno’s morning best keeps him top, with Acosta’s FP2 effort coming up just 0.007 short. Surra takes an impressive third on home turf, with Sasaki, Salač and Antonelli completing a top six alternating between an FP1 lap and one from FP2 – with conditions stable if not dry.

Aji – who has already shown off his wet weather chops in the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship – takes P7 on his very first day in the World Championship, the Indonesian likely doing a rain dance for Sunday, with Guevara in P8 as both set their bests in FP1.

Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia) impressed for P9, ahead of Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride).

Daniel Holgado impressed on his first day standing in at Red Bull KTM Tech 3, the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship leader taking P11. Andi Izdihar (Honda Team Asia) put in a good day for P12, ahead of Toba and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), the former Misano winner the last of those currently set to move straight through to Q2. Foggia was down in that P23 overall.

Saturday brings another chance for him to move up the order, although it could be another tougher day with the weather. See how the pack shuffles first in FP3 from 9:00 (GMT +2), before qualifying for the lightweight class at 12:35. With the title on the line on Sunday, it’s the most pivotal grid of the season so far…

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Tech3 KTM Factory Racing:

Provisional Q2 spots for Lecuona and Petrucci on strong wet opening day in Misano

The Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli welcomed riders and teams for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix today with wet weather conditions. Thereby, Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Iker Lecuona showed his class from this morning. After securing a ninth in FP1, he improved his lap time in Free Practice two by 1.829 seconds to conclude Friday in a fantastic fourth position.

When the track was still mainly wet, but the sun came out in Free Practice two, Danilo Petrucci likewise lowered his time significantly. Following an eighth fastest lap in FP1, he went 1.549 seconds quicker in the second session of the weekend to eventually clinch ninth position and with it a provisional ticket to Q2 tomorrow afternoon. Yet, FP3 at 9.55 local time on Saturday will be decisive for Qualifying.

 

Iker Lecuona (27). Photo courtesy Tech3.
Iker Lecuona (27). Photo courtesy Tech3.

 

Iker Lecuona

Position: 4th 

Time: 1:42.576

Laps: 40

“I’m very satisfied about today. It was full wet in the morning and in FP2 we finished in mixed conditions. I felt really good, although we had a small issue with the front brakes in FP1, which made me not feeling comfortable, so we tried to solve it. In general, I felt good with the bike, we solved the issue for FP2 and finally, this afternoon, we improved a lot. I was riding alone and had a strong pace. In the end, we couldn’t improve with the new tyres as the track was drying out and it was very slippery. But I’m happy anyway and can’t wait for tomorrow.”

 

Iker Lecuona (27). Photo courtesy Tech3.
Iker Lecuona (27). Photo courtesy Tech3.

 

Danilo Petrucci

Position: 9th

Time: 1:42.775

Laps: 35

“This first day was almost full wet. Just at the end of the second session, the conditions were a little bit mixed. We always had a quite decent pace, even if I’m still missing a bit. We are fast, but even in the wet, we need to make another small step. I don’t know about the weather forecast for tomorrow, but on the wet, we are quite fast. For today I’m overall pretty satisfied about our work.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:

MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP SEARCH FOR GRIP ON WET EMILIA-ROMAGNA FRIDAY

Misano Adriatico (Italy), 22nd October 2021

GRAND PRIX OF MADE IN ITALY AND EMILIA-ROMAGNA

FREE PRACTICE

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team used today‘s free practice sessions of the Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna to work on their wet and mixed conditions set-ups. Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli put in a good number of laps and finished in 16th and 20th place respectively in the combined timesheets.

LOCAL TIME: 14:05 GMT+2

AIR TEMPERATURE: 20°C

TRACK TEMPERATURE: 20°C

WEATHER: CLOUDY / HUMIDITY 75%

MORE CIRCUIT INFO

16th FABIO QUARTARARO 1’43.097 (FP2) / 20 + 19 LAPS

20th FRANCO MORBIDELLI 1’43.585 (FP2) / 13 + 18 LAPS

It was a difficult opening day of the Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP. Fabio Quartararo continued his search for a good feeling in mixed conditions and ended the first day in 16th place. Despite still riding with a knee injury in the severely wet and treacherous conditions, Franco Morbidelli made encouraging time improvements. He secured 20th position in the FP2 and combined Friday free practice timesheets.

Quartararo had a difficult outing on a soaking opening day at the Misano circuit. He had a lot on his plate in the morning, focusing on confirming the feedback on set-up solutions used in the wet FP1 session in Austin three weeks ago. His 1‘45.477s best time, set on the last lap of a very long second run, put him in 18th place, with a 3.103 margin to first.

The Frenchman had the goal to get higher up the rankings in the afternoon. He found a way to climb up the FP2 order midway through the session. But with the track conditions changing from wet to half-dry, some dicey moments during his mini time-attack cost him a top-10 placement. His best time, a 1‘43.097 set on lap 9/19, put him in 16th place in the combined as well as the FP2 results, 1.792s from first.

Morbidelli enjoyed a positive start to the Emilia-Romagna GP weekend. The wet track conditions didn’t faze him, and he gradually improved his time. Setting a 1‘44.054s at the end of the morning session, he briefly held a place inside the top 3. The Yamaha man ended the tricky FP1 outing in fifth place, 1.680s from first.

The local hero continued working on his bike‘s set-up in the afternoon. Thanks to this tweaking, he was able to drop under the 1‘44s-mark on the drying track at the end of the session. He set a 1‘43.585s on his last attempt for 20th place both in the FP2 and the combined timesheets, with a 2.280s margin to first.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

It was a difficult first day for us at the Emilia-Romagna GP, especially when the track was drying. We suffer a lot in mixed conditions in general. Franky’s situation in FP1 and also Fabio’s when FP2 was still completely wet were not so bad. Both riders were quite comfortable with the general behaviour of the bike. For sure, we are not at all happy about our current position, but we still have two more practice sessions to improve. On a positive note, Franky’s condition got better. It’s true that you can’t force yourself over the limit too much in these conditions, but he was still able to do a proper evaluation of his current fitness level. We will put in the hours tonight to come up with a solution to make both riders feel more confident tomorrow in similar circumstances.

 

Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.
Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.

 

FABIO QUARTARARO

FP1 was quite difficult. In FP2 I was really happy because from the first lap I improved my lap time from FP1, and I managed to get a good place. I was P7 when I stopped, but as soon as the track dried it was a disaster. I had no feeling, and it was like we had completely changed the bike. But I feel like this is ‘a normal weekend’. I’m not saying there’s no pressure, but I feel like it’s normal. We take today as something we need to improve, because next year it will surely be important to be consistent and in a better position if we have rain races. It’s a little bit frustrating not to be in the top 10 today, because I feel that in the full wet we would have had the potential. It’s tough, but we will try to make a great result in FP3.

 

Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.
Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.

 

FRANCO MORBIDELLI

Today was a tricky day. But this morning I felt good with the bike. The team did a wonderful job in improving the setting compared to Austin. They did a lot of homework and gave me a better package this morning. Unfortunately, this afternoon it was not our condition. We struggle a lot when the track is drying. We need to work on that for sure but, speaking for myself, I am quite happy about today because we made a step. At least in the wet, the feeling is much better compared to Austin and Misano 1. I‘m curious to see what it will be like in the dry. I hope we will notice the same increase in our performance, so let‘s see what the weather brings tomorrow.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Sky Racing Team VR46:

P6 FOR LUCA MARINI AFTER THE FIRST FREE PRACTICES

On a Day1 with uncertain weather, the rider of the Sky VR46 Avintia hits the momentary access into tomorrow’s Q2

Misano Adriatico (Italy), October 22nd 2021 – Excellent start for Luca Marini in the first free practice sessions of the Home GP in Misano Adriatico. On a day with uncertain weather, the rider of the Sky VR46 Avintia made the most of the potential of his Ducati and finished with the sixth best lap time in the combined standings.

Satisfied with the progress in the last testing session on this track of the last September, Luca took the pace of the strongest guys from the FP1 and was the protagonist of a further step forward in the afternoon session. He has signed a good 1’42.601  which means the momentary direct access into tomorrow’s second qualifying session.

 

Luca Marini (10). Photo courtesy Sky Racing Team VR46.
Luca Marini (10). Photo courtesy Sky Racing Team VR46.

 

Luca Marini:

I am very happy with today’s result, I had really good feelings in the wet and also in the end of the session with a drier track. The last lap was ok: I only had one attempt after the tire change. The plan was to stay out with the S, but the track was then dry and I back into the garage to change with M. I made no mistakes and I hit a good lap time also useful for tomorrow if it continues to rain in the FP3 .

Ruben Xaus:

These are the Fridays we need, which give us extra motivation. Generally we are further behind after the free practices and then we always have to recover for Saturday. Today, however, we are already at the level of the group and tomorrow we will be back on track with less pressure to make the most of the work done in the testing session here.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Esponsorama Racing:

POSITIVE START FOR BASTIANINI AND MARINI AT MISANO

Misano (Italia), 22nd October 2021

Avintia Esponsorama and Sky VR46 Avintia completed the first day of the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna, where rain was the main protagonist at the Misano circuit.

Enea Bastianini was 12th in the combined practice times with a time of 1:42.842, achieved in the afternoon session. In the second free practice, the track conditions improved compared to the first one, which allowed a notable improvement in the times.

Luca Marini finished the first day 6th with a best time of 1:42.601. The Sky VR46 Avintia rider has done a great job since the morning, and allows him to place himself in positions of direct access to Q2, waiting to dispute the third free practice.

Tomorrow at 9:55 a.m. the third free practice of the premier class will start, followed by the fourth free practice and qualifying of the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna.

 

Enea Bastianini (23). Photo courtesy Esponsorama Racing.
Enea Bastianini (23). Photo courtesy Esponsorama Racing.

 

#23 ENEA BASTIANINI

“It was a positive day and I’m happy with my performance. It was a pity because for 40 thousandths I’m out of Q2, I still have to improve in wet conditions. In FP2 we made a small step forward and finally I finished 12th. When the track dried up I felt more comfortable on the bike, even so, everything was very tricky. Overall I’m happy with my first day in Misano and tomorrow we will try to improve to be in Q2.”

 

Luca Marini (10). Photo courtesy Esponsorama Racing.
Luca Marini (10). Photo courtesy Esponsorama Racing.

 

#10 LUCA MARINI

“I am very happy with today, I had a very good feeling in the wet and also in the final part of the second session with the drier track. The last lap was good and I only had one attempt after the tyre change. The initial plan was to go out on the soft tyre, but the track was already dry and I went back in at the last moment to put on the medium one. I didn’t make any mistakes and I got a good lap time that will be useful for me tomorrow if it continues to rain in FP3.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:

ÁLEX MÁRQUEZ TOP HONDA ON DAY ONE AT MISANO

Álex Márquez finished the opening day of free practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as the leading Honda bike following a rain-affected day at Misano. The premier class have gathered for the second race weekend of the season in Rimini and the LCR Honda CASTROL rider showed real potential as he just missed out on the top 10.

With a fully wet track to contend with in FP1, Álex suffered an early fall but was still able to take 14th position. Conditions were more favourable in FP2 as sunshine dried out the circuit and the LCR man only dropped out of the top 10 in the closing stages, ending in 13th spot and just ahead of his brother Marc.

 

Alex Marquez (73). Photo courtesy LCR Honda.
Alex Marquez (73). Photo courtesy LCR Honda.

 

Álex Márquez – 13th

(1’42.879)

“Wet track all day today. During FP1, on the second lap, I had a huge crash, but I was not injured and the bike wasn’t damaged too badly, so it didn’t really change our plans. In the morning, I had a good feeling, although I wasn’t able to be really fast in the end. In the afternoon, it was wet again, but the track was drying lap by lap and at the end I was trying to push – while in the top 10 – but I wasn’t able to improve on the last lap and I finished outside the top 10 by one tenth. Tomorrow, we need to make a step, it looks like FP3 will be half wet and half dry, so all possibilities are open and we have to be ready for everything.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:

TAKA TARGETS IMPROVEMENT AT MISANO

Takaaki Nakagami endured a tough start to the Emilia Romagna GP as Friday’s free practice sessions were impacted by wet conditions. The MotoGP paddock have returned to Rimini for the second race of the season at Misano and the LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider struggled to find rhythm on a slippery circuit.

Rain in the morning meant FP1 took place in full wet conditions and Taka did not get much time out on the circuit, ending the session in 22nd place. Sunshine broke through in the afternoon to ensure there was a drying track for FP2, but Taka had to settle for 23rd position and will now be hoping for improved weather on Saturday.

 

Takaaki Nakagami (30). Photo courtesy LCR Honda.
Takaaki Nakagami (30). Photo courtesy LCR Honda.

 

Takaaki Nakagami – 23rd

(1’44.075)

“They were tough sessions today, both FP1 and FP2. It was wet conditions and especially in FP2 it was quite tricky as in the last 10 minutes conditions were changing a lot and lap by lap the dry line was getting wider. But it was good for us to have two sessions in wet conditions because we can try to improve (in those conditions). It looks like it will be dry tomorrow and Sunday, so we’ll have to prepare well for dry sessions.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Friday weather masks Repsol Honda Team gains

Both Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro worked throughout the day to improve the feeling of their respective Hondas, tricky conditions hiding their progress.

Conditions were undoubtably wet as the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix began on Friday, rain steadily getting heavier throughout Free Practice 1. Both Repsol Honda Team riders got straight to work in the wet conditions as the forecast remains mixed for the remainder of the weekend. Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro were able to improve their times over the course of the session, going faster even as more rain fell.

Ending Free Practice 1 in second place, Marquez was able to again show the speed he’s had in the wet all year. Conditions would slowly but steadily improve as the day went on, the sun even making a brief appearance during Free Practice 2 but the circuit remaining wet. Improving his time by 0.9s, Marquez finished the second Friday session in 14th and 14th overall. The eight-time World Champion is confident that today did not show his full potential in the wet and is ready to work tomorrow to improve no matter what the weather decides to do.

Espargaro’s 1’45.204 from Free Practice 1 saw him end the morning in 15th, 1.4 seconds behind his teammate. A quick fall at Turn 13 saw Espargaro walk away unharmed, the #44 quickly returning to the Repsol Honda Team garage and heading out on his second RC213V. Even with the crash, the afternoon session saw massive gains for Espargaro who improved his best lap by over 1.5 second and more than halved the distance to Marquez. Still there is more to come from Espargaro who is eager to show his speed in Misano as he hunts more rear grip.

Action resumes at the Misano circuit on Saturday with Free Practice 3, a final chance to enter the combined top ten for a Q2 spot, starting at 09:55 Local Time. Forecasts are again calling for a high chance of rain, today’s lessons will need to be put into action once more.

 

Marc Marquez (93). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.
Marc Marquez (93). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.

 

Marc Marquez

14TH  1’42.883

“The day started quite well and in the morning we had good speed, in the afternoon the session was a bit more complicated. I wasn’t able to find the perfect lap in the afternoon but even so, it seems our level in the wet is not as high as it normally is. I don’t think our true position is 14th in the wet but we need to understand what is happening more. It was important to make the most of today because the forecast for tomorrow and also Sunday remains uncertain.”

 

Pol Espargaro (44). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.
Pol Espargaro (44). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.

 

Pol Espargaro

19TH  1’43.470

“Today was a little bit more difficult than we expected, also for all the Honda riders, the bike was missing some grip but we were able to make some improvements. When I crashed I was probably feeling the best I felt all day, my time was improving so it’s a shame to fall but we learned some things with it. At the end, we need to look to tomorrow and see what we can do. If it’s dry we will see what we can achieve because we had a really good test here. If it’s still wet, it gives us a chance to improve our current feeling.”

 

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:

TWO APRILIAS IN THE TOP TEN ON THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE IN MISANO

ESPARGARÓ THIRD AND SAVADORI SEVENTH TO PLACE THE RS-GP HIGH ON THE SHEETS

DIFFICULT WEATHER HINDERS VIÑALES’ APPRENTICESHIP

At the end of a day made difficult by track conditions, two Aprilias place in the top ten.

After fighting to find grip in the two Friday sessions, Aleix Espargaró took home a nice third place (1’42.291) and, not far behind him, wild card Lorenzo Savadori took an outstanding seventh place with a time of 1’42.615. Both had to battle with poor grip on the asphalt that was wet due to the copious rainfall during the morning session, progressively drying out during the afternoon session, but not enough to let them use slicks.

These difficult-to-read conditions hindered Maverick Viñales who, still in the early phases of adapting to the RS-GP and limited in his familiarity with it, paid a higher price than his two teammates for the complicated situation, finishing in twenty-first place with a time of 1’43.679.

 

Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

ALEIX ESPARGARO’

“When the conditions are difficult like today, being in the top ten is always fundamental. This morning, with an extremely wet track, I didn’t have the best sensations. I was lacking grip. We worked on it and managed to improve in FP2, partly because the track was drying out. I waited until the final minutes to try for a fast lap, knowing that I would find an almost-dry line where the rain tyres heat up quickly and it worked. For tomorrow, our plan will depend heavily on the weather, considering the fact that it will probably be a dry race on Sunday.”

 

Maverick Vinales (12). Photo courtesy Aprilia.
Maverick Vinales (12). Photo courtesy Aprilia.

 

MAVERICK VIÑALES

“Definitely a different day from what I expected. I had hoped to do a bit better, but we also need to consider my lack of experience on the Aprilia in the wet. A positive aspect is that in these conditions, all the reactions are slower and clearer, which makes it even easier for us to see which areas we need to improve in. Right now, I’d say that’s braking. I’ll compare data now with Aleix and Sava who demonstrated a good pace and we’ll try to make a step forward tomorrow.”

LORENZO SAVADORI

“I told my mechanics again today that I could wait to get back to riding a MotoGP bike. I missed it! To be honest, the conditions today helped me. You push less in the wet and the turn angles are reduced, so that’s good for my ankle since I suffer when I have to apply pressure. In any case, I’m pleased with the position. The goal for tomorrow could be to go straight through to Q2. It will be difficult, but we’ll try.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:

SUZUKI KEEN TO MAKE A SPLASH ON RETURN TO ADRIATIC COAST

Joan Mir: 11th – 1’42.842 (+ 1.537)

Alex Rins: 15th – 1’42.944 (+ 1.639)

Team Suzuki Ecstar made a welcome return to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli to kick off the 16th round of the season. Conditions were somewhat different to last month’s visit, however, with chilly temperatures and heavy rain dominating day one.

Joan Mir and Alex Rins opted for a tentative start to FP1, taking the time to get a feel for conditions as several sections of the track were waterlogged. The pair stayed out for long runs though and were able to build their confidence and improve their set-up. This work resulted in Mir finishing 10th and Rins 16th.

In the afternoon the rain had subsided but the track remained very wet, with no chance of a switch to slick tyres. Although the riders were able to try the medium-soft combination as the temperature around Misano rose a little. Mir and Rins both did well to improve, and with around 15 minutes left in the session they were both well inside the Top 10. Despite the progress made, the GSX-RR duo slipped to 11th and 15th on combined at the end of FP2.

 

Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki ECSTAR.
Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki ECSTAR.

 

Joan Mir:

“My feeling in the wet was OK in both sessions, and I felt quite competitive. It was interesting because I actually felt better when the track was at its wettest. When it started to get a little bit drier I didn’t feel as good, so we need to improve in those conditions. I had the speed during FP2 but then on my final exit I didn’t feel great with the track being drier and I couldn’t go faster. I’m a bit frustrated not to get provisional passage to Q2 by being in the Top 10 today, but I’m still quite close to the Top 10, so I’m not too concerned. I know that I have more potential, so it’s just a question of finding better grip in the dry.”

 

Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki ECSTAR.
Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki ECSTAR.

 

Alex Rins:

“Unfortunately I’m outside the Top 10, which is a bit strange because I felt much better in FP2 with the used rear tyre, I felt more confident than in the morning. But as the track dried I found that the grip level wasn’t as good, and then I couldn’t improve my time. We collected a lot of information from the race here last month, and also from the test, and hopefully we can implement some of that if the conditions improve. I managed to try some laps with different tyres today so that was useful.”

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“After the Misano test last month we found some improvements and we were looking forward to trying them here, but unfortunately this first day has been wet and we couldn’t do it. Our pace in these difficult conditions actually wasn’t too bad though, so we’re feeling optimistic. In the end Joan and Alex missed out on the Top 10 today, so we need to find something more tomorrow.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:

Second home GP of the season at Misano begins for Rossi and Dovizioso

Italian duo Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso 22nd and 24th on wet first day of EmiliaRomagnaGP

The second GP of the year at Misano got underway for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team today with mixed conditions for Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso, who ended the Gran Premio Made in Italy e dell’Emilia Romagna opening day 22nd and 24th respectively.

Rossi, who is competing in his final home GP this weekend, had a good start to FP1, before opting to stay in the garage for a time as heavy rain fell. Heading back out for the final 12 minutes, he ended FP1 12th with a 1min 44.751secs lap. The afternoon’s FP2 session saw the sun come out and the track start to dry, so Valentino waited until the end of the 45 minutes to set his fastest lap of the day – 1min 43.789secs –, which placed him 22nd in both FP2 and overall.

Also enjoying a home GP, Dovizioso had a steady start to FP1 and took his time in acclimatising to the wet conditions. After sitting out of the worst of the rain, the Italian set a 1min 45.881secs time on his final lap and ended FP1 21st. Andrea was quick to improve upon his morning time and at the halfway point of FP2 his fastest lap was 1min 44.643secs. ‘Dovi’ was unable to better this time in the second half of the session and ended FP2, and the day, 24th.

Tomorrow’s track action for Rossi and Dovizioso will begin with FP3 at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT), and end with the two MotoGP Qualifying sessions at 2.10pm local time (8.10pm MYT).

 

Valentino Rossi (46). Photo courtesy PYSRT.
Valentino Rossi (46). Photo courtesy PYSRT.

 

Valentino Rossi

22nd (1’43.789)

I have mixed feelings about today. I was happy this morning and we started the day quite well because I was quite fast in the wet, where there was a lot of water on track, and I was able to ride in a good way. I also was not too far from the top-ten. Unfortunately in the afternoon, when there was less water and the track was starting to dry, I suffered in the mixed conditions. The bike was difficult to ride in places and I lost a lot of grip, it wasn’t the best session for us. The forecast is mixed for tomorrow and I hope we can have a dry day, but if it rains then I hope it is like this morning because I think we are more competitive in those conditions.

 

Andrea Dovizioso (04). Photo courtesy PYSRT.
Andrea Dovizioso (04). Photo courtesy PYSRT.

 

Andrea Dovizioso

24th (1’44.643)

I didn’t feel too good in the wet conditions and we are struggling a lot with grip, so that’s why I’m not as fast as I’d like. Today we faced two different conditions in the two sessions and I didn’t make a good lap time in either of them. We have some work to do tonight to be better tomorrow. My target is to work towards the top-ten by the end of the season, but I don’t think this will be possible here at Misano. I’m still not completely used to the bike, so it will be difficult to make a perfect lap tomorrow to be in that top-ten. We’ve done one race here already and the test after that, so what we learned then should help me tomorrow and Sunday.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Lenovo Team:

Emilia Romagna GP. Jack Miller tops Day 1 of free practices at Misano in the wet. Eighth Pecco Bagnaia. Eighteenth Michele Pirro

At the end of a wet first day of free practices for the Grand Prix of Made in Italy and Emilia Romagna, Jack Miller was the fastest man at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”.

The Ducati Lenovo Team rider had managed to finish in third place during this morning FP1, despite being unable to find the perfect feeling immediately with his Desmosedici GP due to the low track temperatures and rain. On the other hand, in this afternoon’s FP2, when the sun shone down again in the final minutes of the session, Miller was able to push hard right from the start on the still-wet track to top the combined timesheet with a fast lap in 1:41.305.

On the other side of the garage, teammate Pecco Bagnaia finished eighth. As he was sixth after FP1 this morning, despite a crash at the end of the session, the Italian rider improved by over a second and a half in the afternoon. However, as he went on the green, his last lap time – that would have seen him finishing third – was cancelled, relegating Bagnaia down into eighth position.

Michele Pirro closed in eighteenth place. The Ducati Test Team rider, who is taking part in the Emilia Romagna GP as a Wild Card this weekend, could not make good use of the time available in FP2. Pirro will aim to improve his performance and secure a top ten finish in tomorrow morning’s FP3 before tackling the official qualifying for the sixteenth round of the 2021 MotoGP season, starting at 2:10 pm, at the end of FP4.

 

Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1st (1:41.305)

“I’m satisfied with this first day of work here at Misano. Despite the rain, the track conditions were good right from the start, and we could take advantage of a good level of grip right from the first session. Unfortunately, this morning I struggled to get the tyres up to temperature and took a few risks during the session. We made some changes for FP2, and with the warmer temperatures in the afternoon, I felt more comfortable straight away and pushed from the first minutes of the session. Now we have to continue working in this direction to take another step forward ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying: I’m determined to do well in this final part of the season.

 

Francesco Bagnaia (63). Photo courtesy Ducati.
Francesco Bagnaia (63). Photo courtesy Ducati.

 

Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 8th (1:42.669)

“I finished only eighth, but only because I couldn’t complete my last lap as I went on the green. Looking at the ideal times, I could have been second in the combined classification. Being fast here is very important for us, and for sure, being on our home track is an extra motivation to stay ahead. Let’s see how the weekend develops. In the wet, there are a lot of strong riders, but we have shown that we have a good pace, and if the race is dry, we know we have a lot of potentials. The important thing will be trying to stay in the top ten in tomorrow morning’s FP3, which could be held in the wet”.

Michele Pirro (#51 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 18th (1:43.413)

“It was quite a peculiar day. At the start of FP2 this afternoon, there was a lot of water on the track, so I waited for the conditions to improve before going out. When the track started to dry out, I went back out on new tyres, but I made many mistakes and couldn’t really express our true potential. That’s how the first day went, but I’m confident that tomorrow we can aim for the top ten in FP3 and have a good qualifying session.”

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