MotoGP: Miller Under Race Lap Record In FP2 At Valencia (Updated)

MotoGP: Miller Under Race Lap Record In FP2 At Valencia (Updated)

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

MotoGP FP2

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Miller, Pol Espargaro, Bagnaia: Ducati vs Honda on Day 1

Just 0.068 covers the top three after a rainy morning gives way to a sunny afternoon in Valencia

 

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

 

Friday, 12 November 2021

It was a close Day 1 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, with Ducati vs Honda at the top and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) taking final honours by the end of play. FP1 was wet before the sun came out in the afternoon and created a frenetic mini-qualifying session, leaving Miller, Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) in second and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) in third covered by just 0.068.

 

Pol Espargaro (44). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Pol Espargaro (44). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

FP1

Valencian Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) started the day on top as he impressed in the wet. The Spaniard’s 1.40.569 was good enough to beat second place Miller – who was a late crasher at Turn 1 – by 0.155s, while Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completed the top three.

Unexpected rain started to fall just before the premier class’ opening session, handing the riders some tricky conditions to deal with on Friday morning. Danilo Petrucci’s (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) final MotoGP™ weekend got off to a painful start as the Italian suffered a nasty off-throttle highside at Turn 4, but thankfully Petrux was able to walk away from the crash.

Bagnaia tucked the front at Turn 2 soon after – rider ok, as was Luca Marini (Sky Avintia VR46) as he also took a tumble.

The rain did stop and conditions improved towards the end of the session, which saw plenty of riders improve their times. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) rounded out a top five split by 0.374s, and less than a second covered the top 12.

 

Jorge Martin (89). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jorge Martin (89). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

FP2

With the track dry enough for slicks, FP2 was all action from the get-go. And just like 2021 rival Bagnaia did in the morning, World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) tucked the front at Turn 2 – rider ok. It was Bagnaia who led the way in the early stages of FP2, but Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) moved the goalposts with just over 20 minutes remaining, a 1:31.832 the new benchmark.

Heading into the ever-exciting final 10 minutes, Morbidelli led Miller by 0.071s, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and fellow HRC rider Pol Espargaro going well in the top four. New rubber than came out for many as attentions turned to the top 10 and a provisional place in Q2.

Immediately, the standings changed. Miller went top with a 1:31.409, with Andrea Dovizioso (Petronas Yamaha SRT) launching to P2. The timing screens were changing constantly though and it was a proper mini qualifying session in Valencia – Miller, Pol Espargaro and Bagnaia all exchanged P1.

Pol Espargaro then crashed on his final lap at Turn 6, rider ok, with Miller’s penultimate lap handing the Australian P1 to prove the final decider.

As well as Quartararo and Pol Espargaro, Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) and Lecuona also took tumbles.

 

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

 

Combined timesheets

With rain in the morning it’s FP2 times that make the combined timesheets. You could split the top trio of Miller, Pol and Pecco with a tyre blanket, but then there’s a bit of a gap to Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in fourth. The Spaniard is 0.409s down on P1, while Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) rounded out the top five – also 0.4s shy.

Nakagami had a solid opening day in P6, the Japanese rider just ahead of 2020 World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in seventh and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) in eighth. Dovizioso slipped to P9 by the time FP2 had ended but a top 10 is a fantastic Friday result for the Italian as he cotninues to adapt to the 2019 M1. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) occupies P10 ahead of Saturday’s action.

That starts at 9:55 (GMT +1), before the final qualifying of the season from 14:10. Pecco has six poles so far and Quartararo five… will that change in the season finale? With Quartararo down in P11 after Friday, the Frenchman will be looking to bounce back strong in the morning…

 

Remy vs Raul: Red Bull KTM Ajo split by 0.008 on Friday

The points leader deposes the rookie with a last dash to the top as a pivotal weekend begins

 

Remy Gardner (87). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Remy Gardner (87). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Day 1 of the Moto2™ title-deciding weekend is done and dusted, and it’s just 0.008s between World Championship leader Remy Gardner and Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Raul Fernandez, his sole remaining challenger for the crown. In a dry afternoon at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, the Australian’s best was a 1:35.857, with his teammate that close second and Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) keeping the top three tight as the number 37 ended Friday just 0.041s off the top too.

FP1

Augusto Fernandez pipped Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) to top spot in FP1, with just 0.020s splitting the duo. Fernandez’ 1:45.968 in the damp conditions saw the Spaniard beat third place Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40), who had one crash and also pulled off a stunning save, by two tenths.

Barry Baltus (NTS RW Racing GP) – despite a crash – finished fourth, with Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) rounding out the top five.

Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) headed to the medical centre after an early crash, the British rider later declared fit, while Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) also crashed early in the session – not the way the Swiss rider would have been looking for at his final Grand Prix but rider ok.

Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) and Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) also crashed, riders ok.

FP2

Raul Fernandez was the pacesetter for most of the session as the riders were continually finding time on an ever-improving Circuit Ricardo Tormo. With just under four minutes to go though, Gardner took over at the summit by that 0.008s margin as we enjoyed a familiar sight at the top – a Red Bull KTM Ajo 1-2.

On his final lap, Raul Fernandez returned the favour on Gardner to go back to P1, but the Spaniard’s quickest time was then chalked off due to him having exceeded track limits at Turn 12, leaving Gardner on top. Augusto Fernandez and rookie Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) got to within a tenth of the top time as 0.087s covered the top four. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was fifth, and still only just over a tenth off the top.

There were no fallers in FP2.

Combined Timesheets

With the sun coming out in the afternoon, it’s FP2 that sets the pace. Gardner leads the way ahead of Fernandez R, with Fernandez A third. Vietti and Vierge complete that top five.

Just behind, Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) set his fastest lap on his last flyer, the British rider sixth on Friday, just ahead of Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40). MotoGP™-bound Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) ended his final Moto2™ Free Practice Friday in eighth, 0.304s away from P1, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) – also MotoGP™-bound – and Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) completing the top 10.

Will that shuffle on Saturday? After the rain on Day 1 it seems likely, so tune in for Moto2™ FP3 at 10:55 (GMT +1) before qualifying begins from 15:10.

 

Guevara fastest on damp-affected Friday

The rookie just pips Binder on Day 1, with the two split by less than half a tenth

 

Izan Guevara (28). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Izan Guevara (28). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Reigning FIM Moto3™ Junior World Champion Izan Guevara (Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team) topped FP1 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana with a 1:39.561, and after the rain came down and no one was also to improve in FP2 either, that ensures the Texas winner is the fastest man on Friday. It wasn’t by much though, with Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) just 0.048s further back. Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) completed the top three as the final race weekend of the season fires into life, the veteran Italian on form once again.

FP1

Guevara, Binder and Migno led the way and with heavy rain coming down near the end of the session, that was all she wrote. But the number 28 GASGAS rider was in the driving seat regardless as he looks to end the year on a high.

Filip Salač (CarXpert PrüstelGP) and 2021 World Champion Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) were inside the top five in FP1, and there were zero crashes to begin the weekend.

FP2

Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) topped the times in a mixed FP2, but conditions didn’t allow anyone to improve. The rain had started to fall just as Moto3™ FP1 ended, and the track hadn’t fully dried out by the time the lightweight class came back out for their afternoon session.

A mostly quiet outing played out, with Foggia fastest ahead of an impressive job from Joel Kelso (CIP Green Power). Salač was third, with Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46 Academy) fourth with more good speed. Migno was a couple of tenths further back in fifth.

Adrian Fernandez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) was the only crasher, the Spaniard heading for the medical centre but given the OK.

Combined Timesheets

With the track conditions still not ideal in the afternoon, it’s FP1 that sets the pace for Moto3™ on Friday. So Guevara lead Binder leads Migno, with Salač fourth and Acosta fifth.

Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia) put in a good morning stint in P6, ahead of Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Valencia specialist Sergio Garcia (Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing).

That’s the top ten on Day 1, but we can expect that to change on Saturday morning – and Foggia will hope so as the Italian is down in P27 overall. FP3 starts at 9:00 (GMT +1), before qualifying from 12:35 for the final lightweight class race of the season!

 

 

 

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

Interesting start to Valencia GP for Petrucci and Lecuona

With mixed weather conditions the Gran Premio dee la Comunitat Valenciana started out in a rollercoaster way for Tech3 KTM Factory Racing. Yet, drying track conditions in FP2 this afternoon delivered a clearer image of the riders’ and teams’ potential this afternoon.

After Danilo Petrucci suffered a nasty crash in FP1 this morning at the wet Circuit Ricardo Tormo, he was recovering well throughout the second session of the day with quick lap times, that saw him missing out on the top 10 by just half a second. He concluded his potential last Friday in the premier class in 15th position.

At the same time, Iker Lecuona shone this morning. In full wet conditions, the local star topped Free Practice one, after he did many fast laps in succession. In this afternoon’s FP2, he landed in P16, just 0.015 seconds behind his teammate and eager to catch up on dry asphalt from tomorrow’s FP3 at 9.55 local time.

Danilo Petrucci

Position: 15th

Time: 1:32.038

Laps: 27

“Unfortunately, I suffered a heavy crash this morning and got hurt quite a bit. The good thing is, that I felt better in the afternoon and I was able to ride. Overall, FP2 was not bad. It was like the first session of the weekend. The track was not in a perfect condition, but I felt ok with the bike. For sure, we have to solve some small issues with the setup, but I’m quite confident. We are all really close to each other, so I think we can do a decent Qualifying tomorrow.”

Iker Lecuona

Position: 16th

Time: 1:32.098

Laps: 37

“This morning, I felt very strong in the wet and I was even first! In the afternoon, the conditions have been rather mixed and I struggled a lot with the electronics and with the bike in general. We couldn’t find a good base, so we still have to adjust a lot. We need to work on that in order to improve and to do a step forward tomorrow morning.”

 

 

 

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

SKY VR46 AVINTIA AT WORK IN VALENCIA TO SEW UP THE GAP

After a good FP1 in the wet, Luca has finished in 20th place in the combined standings on the Day1

Valencia (Spain), November 12th 2021 – In a Valencia with uncertain weather conditions, Luca Marini has closed in 20th place in the combined standings with a gap of just over seven tenths from the direct access into the Q2.

Very fast on the Ducati and at ease in the wet, despite a crash in the final seconds of the FP1 where he finished seventh, the rider of the Sky VR46 Avintia had struggled to keep the pace of the leading group in the afternoon session and has signed a best lap time of 1’32.229.

It was not an easy Friday: the grip was perhaps the most difficult aspect to manage. I have to get used to this type of conditions but the gap from the group is not bad and tomorrow we can get closer. We will return to work in the Fp3 also to try the H on the front.

A great adventure this Friday: in the wet Luca immediately got the feeling despite the crash in the final stages of the session. On the dry side, on the other hand, he has struggled more because on this track a perfect set-up is needed. However, we are not far: the gap is only of seven tenths from the first guys.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Second fastest Pol Espargaro targets further gains in Valencia

Fast in the wet and the dry, Pol Espargaro is determined to give the local Spanish fans something to cheer about this weekend in Valencia.

Just as the MotoGP World Championship grid was preparing to head out for their first taste of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, rain began to fall around the Valencia track. Getting progressively heavier over the course of the morning, Pol Espargaro ventured out to assess his Honda RC213V in the wet. A productive morning led to the ninth fastest time, 0.731s shy of the top and gained Espargaro and the Repsol Honda Team valuable information. Forecasts suggest the remainder of the weekend will be dry.

In the afternoon, with improved conditions, Espargaro was able to show his speed around Valencia – one of his favourite tracks on the calendar. Improving his pace with each run on track, the #44 set a best time of 1’30.939 for second overall. 0.012s behind Bagnaia, the Repsol Honda Team rider was pushing even harder on his final lap of FP2 to overcome this gap but suffered a fall at Turn 6. Espargaro walked away without injury. Flanked by both factory Ducati machines in the standings, the trio appear to have an early edge of their competition with fourth placed Rins 0.4s back.

Free Practice 3 at 09:55 Local Time on Saturday, November 13 will present Pol Espargaro with another opportunity to defend his Q2 transfer spot before battling for grid positions later in the day.

Pol Espargaro

SECOND  1’30.939

“We have had a good day today. It started in the wet and I took it a little easy because you can end your weekend in the first session if you’re not careful. In the afternoon I was feeling confident on used medium tyres. Overall it was a good second session apart from the small crash we had, but I thought something like this might happen because I was pushing a lot. The track was not in the best condition because of the rain so we have to keep working overnight to raise our level for Qualifying. It’s a good start to the weekend and I want to give the Spanish fans in the stands something to cheer about.”

 

 

 

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

MIXED START ON VALENCIA FRIDAY FOR MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP

Valencia (Spain), 12th November 2021

GRAND PRIX OF VALENCIA

FREE PRACTICE

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP completed a tricky first two free practice sessions of the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana today. The wet FP1 and an almost dry FP2 offered a good opportunity for Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli to work on their feeling with the bike. The pair ultimately ended in 11th and 13th place respectively in the combined free practice results.

LOCAL TIME: 14:05 GMT+1

AIR TEMPERATURE: 21°C

TRACK TEMPERATURE: 13°C

WEATHER: CLOUDY / HUMIDITY 47%

11th FABIO QUARTARARO 1’31.708 (FP2) / 21 + 17 LAPS

13th FRANCO MORBIDELLI 1’31.832 (FP2) / 17 + 20 LAPS

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP have started the final race weekend of the 2021 MotoGP season. Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli showed their strong motivation to entertain the fans one last time this year by pushing on in wet conditions in FP1 and in cold and drying conditions in FP2. They ended the day in 11th and 13th place respectively in the combined free practice results.

Quartararo used the FP1 session to focus on improving his feeling with the bike on wet asphalt. He showed his determination to improve, completing 21 laps, the most of any MotoGP rider. His fastest time, a 1’42.081s set on lap 20, put him in 15th place, 1.512s from first.

The Frenchman had a tricky start to FP2 with a crash on his fifth lap in Turn 2. Fortunately, he was unhurt and soon rushed back to pit lane. The incident did cost El Diablo some time, but he was soon back on track. He wrapped up the session in 13th position with a best time of 1’31.708s, set on lap 16/17, 0.781s from the top in the FP2 and combined free practice results.

Morbidelli took his time adapting to the wet Valencian track in the morning. He spent the session tweaking his bike’s set-up and completed a total of 17 laps. His enthusiasm for this circuit showed in his second run, when he started to feature in the top 10. His best time, a 1’41.200s set on lap 15, briefly put him in second place three minutes before the end of the session but ultimately saw him in eighth place, 0.631s from P1.

The Italian was eager to show a strong pace again in the afternoon in drier conditions. The Yamaha rider put his head down and by the halfway stage he was leading the session with a 1’31.832s, set on a medium-medium tyre combination. The times dropped in the final minutes as many riders put in a mini time-attack, but the number-21 rider‘s fastest time, set on lap 11 of 20, kept him in 13th place, 0.905s from first.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

Even on good days Valencia is a tricky track. Today‘s wet conditions in FP1 and the drying conditions of FP2 made it even harder. But in a way, it was actually a blessing in disguise. We know that we are struggling in these conditions, so these practice sessions were a good opportunity to make further steps. Franky had a good day in both the wet and dry conditions, especially in FP2 when he didn‘t do a time-attack and only focused on race pace. He had a really good rhythm from the beginning until the end. Fabio had a difficult day overall. He wasn‘t feeling as comfortable on the bike as he usually does. We have to understand what caused it. Luckily, the weather forecasts for tomorrow onwards are predicted to be fully dry. That will permit us to try to find some improvements with the aim to have both riders in Q2. We have full confidence that we can do it.

FABIO QUARTARARO

I felt bad on the bike today. In the morning we know why that happened, but in the afternoon I had the same lack of feeling. I‘m looking forward to the meeting with the team to see what caused it and then solve it. In Portimão it was a race weekend in which we made a bad qualifying and struggled a lot because of it. But it‘s been a while since I struggled on a Friday. I think it was last year in Portimão. It‘s pretty strange, and I hope we can change it for tomorrow.

FRANCO MORBIDELLI

It was a good day. I was able to be decently fast on wet as well as on dry. I also had a good feeling on used tyres, and I had good speed. And this is positive, we should keep going like this. The team is on the right path since we started working. It‘s a while already, but we are getting there step by step. And today I felt good on the bike, the best I‘ve ever felt. That‘s a positive thing. It means that the team is working well. It is also important to be fast with used tyres, because lately I‘ve been fast with new tyres but not that much on used tyres and in the race. But we‘re on the right path.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Esponsorama Racing:

BASTIANINI AND MARINI COMPLETE FIRST DAY AT THE CIRCUIT RICARDO TORMO

Valencia (Spain), 12th November 2021

Avintia Esponsorama Racing and Sky VR46 Academy completed the first two free practice sessions of the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

The rain made an appearance during the morning session and Bastianini and Marini were able to have their first contact with the Spanish track with the MotoGP bike. The Avintia Esponsorama Racing rider was 14th, while the Sky VR46 Avintia rider finished seventh after suffering a crash without serious consequences.

In the afternoon and in dry conditions, all the riders were able to improve their times. Bastianini suffered a crash that affected him for the rest of the session, where he finished in 20th position. Marini was 21st.

Tomorrow at 9:55 the third free practice will start, where Bastianini and Marini will try to get a position that will give them direct access to Q2 of the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana qualifying.

#23 ENEA BASTIANINI

“I’m not happy. This morning with the rain it didn’t go too well and in the afternoon I crashed, in general I didn’t feel very confident. Anyway, we will focus on doing a good job tomorrow in the third free practice and get a good qualifying position.”

#10 LUCA MARINI

“It was not an easy Friday. The grip was probably the most difficult aspect to handle. I have to get used to this kind of conditions, but the gap to the group is not big and tomorrow we can get closer. We will work again in FP3 and try the hard front tyre.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:

DIFFICULT CONDITIONS IN VALENCIA ON THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ TWELFTH AND MAVERICK VIÑALES EIGHTEENTH AFTER THE FIRST TWO SESSIONS

The final round of the 2021 Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing Championship season, which is being held on the Valencia circuit, kicked off in the rain that characterised the first day of practice. For all the riders, it was an entirely interim session, postponing the hunt for the best times to the second session.

It did not rain for FP2 in the afternoon but temperatures were cool and the asphalt, still damp here and there, never got any warmer than 13°C. These are historically hostile conditions for the RS-GP which kept the riders from expressing their full potential. Both Aleix (twelfth but just 89 one hundredths behind the leader) and Maverick (eighteenth with a time of 1’32.214) finished the day outside the top ten.

This means that weather conditions will play a key role tomorrow and the predictions say that they’ll be better.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’

“Unfortunately, we’re struggling at the beginning of this weekend too. The conditions definitely didn’t help us because we struggle to get the tyres up to temp and that prevents us from having grip. We’re working on it. Tomorrow we plan to make a substantial change to the bike’s geometry, precisely to try to find more grip, which is what has been limiting us in the last few races.”

MAVERICK VIÑALES

“The weather conditioned our day today. This morning was not a simple one in the wet and even in the afternoon, the grip wasn’t the best. Valencia is a track where you can learn a lot and we need that as we continue to grow with this new bike. Hopefully the conditions will be a bit more stable tomorrow so we’ll be able to keep working and trying to take a step forward.”

 

 

 

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

ÁLEX MÁRQUEZ ENCOURAGED BY PACE AT VALENCIA

12 November 2021 | Valencia GP Practice

Álex Márquez remained upbeat as mixed weather conditions complicated matters for the MotoGP class on the opening day of free practice for the season-ending Valencia GP. Fresh from his superb display in Portugal, the LCR Honda CASTROL rider again demonstrated potential on the RC213v despite ending Friday’s sessions in 14th position overall.

With an unexpected deluge of heavy rain hitting FP1, Álex and his team took the chance to try out some wet settings in a low-key session. But with the track drying out for FP2, the Spaniard showed the kind of pace he produced at Portimao to maintain a top-10 position, but was unfortunate to drop out in the closing stages as his final flying lap was chalked off for track limits.

Álex Márquez – 14th

(1’31.852)

“It was a surprise for the whole team this morning that we had heavy rain, so we just took it quite easy, tried a few things that we had on plan for wet conditions and didn’t take too many risks as we knew that this afternoon and tomorrow would be dry. This afternoon in the dry I was feeling really good from the beginning and was in the top seven or eight all the time as we tried something new on the bike that worked well. Unfortunately, in the last time attack I touched the green, so track limits and my flying lap that was P8 or P9 disappeared, but that’s how it is. Tomorrow we need to be focused because we had good rhythm and pace, we just need to adjust a few details.”

 

 

 

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

TAKA SIXTH FASTEST ON DAY ONE OF VALENCIA GP

12 November 2021 | Valencia GP Practice

Takaaki Nakagami made an encouraging start as free practice for the closing round of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship got underway at Valencia. Chasing a positive result to sign off the season on a high, the LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider was fast throughout on a day of mixed conditions and looks well placed to qualify directly for Q2.

The premier class were caught slightly off-guard by heavy rain in the morning which meant FP1 took place on a slippery track. Taka adapted well to the wet conditions and ended 10th  fastest, before underlining his liking for the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in a dry FP2 by taking 6th  spot on the timesheets.

Takaaki Nakagami – 6th

(1’31.427)

“We had a good start today in both sessions, FP1 and FP2. It was different conditions, wet in FP1 and dry in FP2, in both sessions we were able to stay in the top 10, especially FP2 when we had quite consistent lap times and good pace. I’m quite happy about today, although we still need to improve the braking stability, but that was the only main issue really. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow morning’s session and qualifying and our target is to get a first or second row place in qualifying.”

 

 

 

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

FINAL ROUND OFF TO A GOOD START FOR TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR

Alex Rins: 4th – 1’31.335 (+ 0.409)

Joan Mir: 7th – 1’31.513 (+ 0.586)

The final race weekend of the season got underway at Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia with FP1 on Friday morning. A sudden and unexpected downpour just moments before the start of the session made life difficult for the riders and teams as they adjusted the bikes and tentatively headed out on track.

Despite a few crashes among the field and challenging conditions, Joan Mir and Alex Rins put together a good session, and as the flag came out they got into fifth and 11th.

FP2 was much brighter and the track was mostly dry with just a few damp patches. Both riders were able to go out on slick tyres from the beginning of the session. FP2 was an important one being the first dry session of the weekend so far, although it’s likely that it won’t be the splitter for qualifying because tomorrow morning’s forecast is warm and bright. Rins had strong pace, especially in the latter half of the session, getting into the Top three and eventually closing FP2 in fourth. Mir was likewise improving as the session went on and he became more comfortable. He made it into seventh place. Both riders in the provisional Top 10 is a strong start for the final round of the year.

Joan Mir:

“It was a positive day for us, trying two different conditions. This morning I felt great in the wet and I was able to build up a good performance from the beginning, so I was pretty happy with that. Then in the afternoon I still had some work to do with the dry set-up; I didn’t feel fully confident. But the base is fine, so I feel quite optimistic for tomorrow. Let’s see what we can do, I’m looking forward to it.”

Alex Rins:

“My first day here in Valencia wasn’t so bad, it’s a shame that FP1 was wet because it was almost like a wasted session – the forecasts say we won’t get any more rain this weekend. But you know, you have to tackle each session as it comes. In FP2 I had pretty good pace and we made a good step today. Let’s try to get the best set-up for tomorrow and attack for qualifying.”

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“Despite the weather forecast saying otherwise, FP1 was actually wet and then FP2 was dry. So each session was approached differently, especially with the tricky conditions. This morning we didn’t really work on set-up, which was done in the afternoon when the track was dry. For the moment, both riders are looking quite strong, and despite still having things to improve on, they are both running in the Top 10. So tomorrow we’ll continue our work and see how the qualifying goes.”

 

 

 

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

Top-ten for Dovizioso in final Free Practice Friday of 2021

The opening day of the ValenciaGP ended with Andrea Dovizioso ninth and Valentino Rossi 21st

There were mixed fortunes for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s MotoGP riders, as they experienced varied conditions on the opening day of the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, with Andrea Dovizioso ninth and Valentino Rossi 21st.

Waiting 15 minutes before heading out in FP1, to see what the rain would do, Dovizioso used the time to adjust to the conditions, before setting a 1min 42.182secs lap at the end of the 45 minutes. He ended FP1 in 18th place. The drier conditions of FP2 suited the Italian, who was able to stay inside the top ten for the majority of the session. ‘Dovi’ momentarily held second with a 1min 31.597secs lap, but ultimately ended FP2 ninth.

Rossi opted for a risk-free strategy in the wet FP1 this morning, heading out 15 minutes into the session for four unclassified laps around Circuit Ricardo Tormo, the fastest of which was 1min 52.981secs. The afternoon’s FP2 session proved to be a challenging one for the Italian, who will make his final MotoGP appearance this weekend. At the end of the 45 minutes Valentino’s best lap – 1min 32.285secs – placed him 21st.

FP3 for Dovizioso and Rossi will begin at 9.55am local time (4.55pm MYT) tomorrow, with the first of the two MotoGP Qualifying sessions getting underway at 2.10pm local time (9.10pm MYT).

Andrea Dovizioso

9th (1’31.597)

Today isn’t important but I’m still happy to be inside the top-ten. From the start I had a good feeling and I was able to do a good lap time. I don’t think every rider showed their true pace, especially as the conditions were tricky, but overall it has been better today. Let’s see what happens tomorrow when everyone is pushing at 100%. Everything is new for me at each track, but I think this one is okay for our bike. However to have good speed is one thing, to be consistent for a whole race is another matter. Tomorrow it will be important to try to be in Q2, but also to work on our race pace.

Valentino Rossi

21st (1’32.285)

It was a difficult Friday because the conditions were quite bad. This morning it was very cold and there was a lot of water on track. Fortunately this afternoon was fairly dry, but there were still some damp patches and that made it a bit dangerous, especially with these temperatures. The layout of this track makes it very difficult and I think it might be the most difficult track for me. The place is great though with all the fans and it’s always a good atmosphere. I didn’t feel fantastic with the tyres and we didn’t have a lot of grip. It’s just the first day though, so we have to do some work. I hope that it remains dry, that the track improves and that we can improve the setup of the bike.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

Valencia GP – Jorge Martin finishes in fifth whilst Johann Zarco in tenth position after the first day of free practice sessions.

The activities of the Grand Prix at the Riccardo Tormo Circuit were off to a start today. The Pramac Racing riders Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco marked the fifth and tenth best times in the combined standings. The free practice sessions in the morning took place in wet conditions. Luckily the weather conditions improved throughout the course of the day, allowing them to ride on a dry track in the second session. Jorge Martin marked his best time at 1:31.396 on the last lap of the FP2 session. He finished in fifth place. A time of 1:31.603 earned Johann Zarco the tenth position.

Jorge Martín

I am very happy with this first day of free practice sessions. It’s a track where I am confortable and have a lot of fun. I am very motivated and I know that we can do very well here.

Johann Zarco

This morning it was very cold and it was raining. It wasn’t easily to acquire the right feeling on the track. In the evening on the asphalt I set the tenth-best time, but I am satisfied. We have worked well. We need to be able to take a small step forwards.

 

 

 

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

Miller ends Friday of Free Practices at the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana on top. Bagnaia closes with the third-fastest time overall

Mixed track conditions affected Day 1 of free practices for the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, held today at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo of Cheste, near Valencia (Spain), and stage this weekend of the final Grand Prix for the 2021 MotoGP season. After a first rainy FP1 session, the sun shone down again this afternoon, allowing the MotoGP riders to improve their lap times on a mostly dry track.

With the tricky conditions of the asphalt, it was once again Jack Miller to set the pace. After closing FP1 this morning in second place, despite suffering a crash after going wide at turn one, the Ducati Lenovo Team rider continued to impress also on the slick tyres this afternoon, as he set the best time of the day in 1:30.927 with the soft tyre in the final minutes of FP2.

Pecco Bagnaia also had a positive day. Despite suffering a crash in the wet, he could find his rhythm immediately to finish FP1 in sixth place. In the afternoon, with the semi-dry track, the Italian rider was able to immediately feel comfortable on his bike, eventually setting the third-fastest time of the day in 1:30.995, just 68 thousandths behind Miller.

Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1st (1:30.927)

“I’m delighted with this first day here at Valencia, which is one of my favourite tracks on the calendar! The bike is working really well here, and both in the wet this morning and the dry this afternoon, I felt comfortable straight away. I had a small crash in FP1: I went wide in the first corner, but as soon as I touched the paint, it was like hitting the ice! Apart from that, I’m enjoying riding here, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the weekend has in store for us”.

Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 3rd (1:30.995)

“It was my best Friday ever here in Valencia, so I’m very happy. I felt good on the bike straight away, and we already have a clear idea of what we need to change to improve further. This morning in the wet, I crashed at Turn 2, a place where I crash every year, but then I quickly found my rhythm again. Even this afternoon in the dry, although the conditions were not easy because of the little grip and the wet patches, we were very fast. I’m satisfied and ready for our last qualifying session of the season tomorrow”.

The Ducati Lenovo Team riders will be back on track tomorrow at 9:55 am for FP3, while qualifying for the final Grand Prix of the 2021 MotoGP season will take place from 2:10 pm local time, at the end of FP4.

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