MotoGP: More From Misano World Circuit – Marco Simoncelli

MotoGP: More From Misano World Circuit – Marco Simoncelli

© 2022, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

Bastianini vs Bagnaia, Quartararo fifth on Friday

Four Ducatis, one Yamaha and a three-place grid penalty add to the headlines on Day 1

Friday, 02 September 2022

Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) set a 1:31.517 in MotoGP™ FP2 to end Day 1 at the Gran Premio Gryfyn di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini top of the pile, with the Italian beating 2023 teammate Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) by just 0.114s. Bastianini took his first premier class podium at the venue here last year, and now the Beast is back and qicker than ever. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) made it a Desmosedici 1-2-3 on Friday afternoon, the top three split by 0.185s, but there was another headline from the red garage: a three-place grid penalty for Bagnaia after the Italian was slow on the line in FP1…

Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) topped FP1 from Miller and a bolting Michele Pirro (Aruba.it Racing) as the wildcard showed some early speed at a venue he knows well, and Miller and Pirro proved the only two Borgo Panigale machines in the top five in the first session of the weekend. Bagnaia was sixth, but after getting in the way of Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol), having thought the session was finished, the Italian got his penalty. Nevertheless, he can still fight for and take pole in the history books, with the penalty applied after.

It wasn’t the start to the afternoon session that Ducati would have been looking for either, as Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) and then Bagnaia crashed unhurt in separate incidents, but by the end of play the Bologna bullets would be back on top.

Before that, Maverick Viñales and Aprilia Racing teammate Aleix Espargaro found themselves P1 and P2 heading into the final 20 minutes of FP2 as the RS-GP stars looked to be back in the groove following a tricky weekend at the Red Bull Ring. Viñales, at the summit, was nearly three tenths clear of the chasing pack after setting a 1:31.882. They’d also been ahead of Bagnaia in the morning.

Miller and Quartararo leapfrogged Aleix Espargaro to split the Aprilias with just under 15 minutes left on the clock, but it was still a good showing from Noale. Next, World Championship leader Quartararo climbed to P1 by just 0.004s, but then it was time attack territory…

Just before the chequered flag, Bastianini, Bagnaia and Zarco went P1, P2 and P3 in quick succession, and Miller joined them at the sharp end of the timesheets by taking over in P3. Viñales was trying to improve his time but the Spaniard couldn’t better his earlier pace, seeing Ducati lockout the top four positions.

Provisional Q2 places

Again, Quartararo leads the non-Desmosedici charge in P5 ahead of Viñales and Aleix Espargaro, the trio within half a second of Bastianini heading into Saturday’s action. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) were late improvers to pounce into the top 10, and with the weather looking uncertain, it could prove crucial in terms of automatic Q2 promotion…

Tune into MotoGP™ FP3 at 09:55 local time (GMT+2) on Saturday morning to see what the weather brings – and whether or not anyone can improve their Friday afternoon times in pursuit of a top 10. Then it’s FP4 before qualifying sets the grid from 14:10!

FRIDAY: TOP 3

1 Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP) – Ducati – 1’31.517

2 Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Ducati – +0.114

3 Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Ducati – +0.185

 

Celestino Vietti (13). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Celestino Vietti (13). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Vietti heads top four within a tenth in Moto2™

The Italian hits back on Day 1 on home turf, with Lopez, Pasini and Fernandez on the chase

Thanks to an 1:36.573 in Moto2™ FP1, Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) tops the standings on Friday at the Gran Premio Gryfyn di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini despite a crash in the closing stages of FP2. Alonso Lopez (+Ego Speed Up) is just 0.024s in arrears and rounding out the top three is wildcard Mattia Pasini (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) – the Italian also crashed in the afternoon session.

With 20 minutes to go, Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Lopez and Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) were the only riders who had improved their times inside the top 10, as the top five remained unchanged from FP1.

After finishing FP1 in P2, wildcard Pasini then had a small crash at Turn 4 with 15 minutes to go while still in second, 0.095s off Vietti’s Friday morning pace. A few minutes later, the latter crashed unhurt at Turn 10 right in front of teammate Niccolo Antonelli, who did well to avoid both bike and rider.

Some improvements came in the final five minutes of the session, most notably Lopez moving up to P2 ahead of Pasini, with the top five covered by just 0.119s as Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) bettered their morning efforts.

Provisional Q2 places

Behind Vietti, Lopez and Pasini, Fernandez ends Day 1 in P4 only 0.094s away from top spot, with Dixon P5 after his late improvement. Sixth place Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) and seventh place Arenas both crashed unhurt while pushing for a better time, both the Spaniards are safely inside the provisional automatic Q2 places though, as are Chantra, Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) in P8, P9 and P10 respectively. The final riders set to move through as it stands are Championship leader Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2), Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team)… but it cold all change again in FP3!

Tune into that at 10:55 local time (GMT+2) on Saturday before qualifying from 15:10!

FRIDAY: TOP 3

1 Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) – Kalex –  1’36.573

2 Alonso Lopez (+Ego Speed Up) – Boscoscuro – +0.024

3 Mattia Pasini (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) – Kalex – +0.095

 

Dennis Foggia (7). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Dennis Foggia (7). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Foggia fearsome on Friday, Sasaki second

The Italian stakes an early claim as he tries to become the first rider to win three times in Moto3™ at the same venue

Leopard Racing’s Dennis Foggia has marked himself as an early favourite in Moto3™ at the Gran Premio Gryfyn di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini after prevailing by a margin of 0.382 seconds in FP2. ‘The Rocket’ lived up to his nickname by setting a 1:41.608 around the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli when no one else could go any better than a 1:41.990. Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max’s Ayumu Sasaki, the race winner a fortnight ago at the Red Bull Ring, was second fastest, with fellow Austria podium finisher Tatsuki Suzuki third but a full 0.546 seconds adrift of teammate Foggia.

Foggia had been the pace-setter by a smaller margin in FP1 on a 1:42.442 and he was first to improve that benchmark when he clocked a 1:42.361 and 1:42.323 with around a quarter of an hour to go in FP2. Suzuki soon made it a Leopard one-two when he set a 1:42.349, before Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) joined the top three on a 1:42.467.

With less than three minutes remaining before the chequered flag, Sasaki went quickest on a 1:41.990 and World Championship leader Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) jumped from 24th to second on a 1:42.158. However, Foggia hit back with his 1:41.608, following Suzuki across the stripe. Behind that top three of Foggia, Sasaki, and Suzuki is Garcia and another rider who was outside the top 14 Q2 cut-off for much of the session: John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max), who lapped as quickly as a 1:42.278.

Provisional Q2 places

Behind that top five, sixth and seventh went to MT Helmets – MSI team-mates Diogo Moreira and Ryusei Yamanaka, while Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) shook off pain from a highside in FP1 to claim eighth at 0.818 seconds off the pace. Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) and Öncü rounded out the top 10, with David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) last of those within one second of Foggia’s pace. The latter had regrouped from an early spill at Tramonto (Turn 10). Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team), Joel Kelso (CIP Green Power) and Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) are the last riders currently set to go straight to Q2.

Lorenzo Fellon (SIC58 Squadra Corse), twice, and Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) also went down during the session.

Everything could still change as FP3 begins at 9:00 (GMT +2) on Saturday, and then it’s time for qualifying for the lightweight class from 12:35!

FRIDAY: TOP 3

1 Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) – Honda – 1’41.608

2 John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) – Husqvarna – +0.382

3 Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) – Honda – +0.546

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team:

Dovizioso starts ultimate Grand Prix weekend in Misano

The WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team kicked off an exciting weekend today at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

All eyes are on Andrea Dovizioso for his final weekend as a MotoGP rider during the San Marino Grand Prix. Through all the emotions and activities, the WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team rider still sets his full focus on track action, which commenced with Free Practice one and Free Practice two today.

The Italian landed a P16 in this morning’s first session of the weekend, missing out on the top by just a bit more than one second and showing some promising signs. In FP2, Dovizioso managed to improve his lap time by 0.541 seconds compared to FP1 under the Italian sun. Yet, he went back to P20 in the combined standings, losing out 0.652 seconds to the top 10. Nevertheless, the home hero and his experienced crew already have some ideas to step forward tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Darryn Binder once again quickly started to learn the circuit on his Yamaha YZR-M1. He ended up in 24th position in both sessions, but made some decent progress. The South African MotoGP rookie improved by impressive 1.228 seconds from the first to the second session and therewith significantly reduced his gap to the front.

Free Practice three, which starts on Saturday at 09.55 local time, will offer another very important opportunity for both WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team riders to get closer to the top in order to be prepared for the all-important Qualifying, which starts just after FP4 at 14:10 local time.

 

Andrea Dovizioso (04). Photo courtesy WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team.
Andrea Dovizioso (04). Photo courtesy WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team.

 

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO

“I’m happy because in the afternoon we improved the feeling a bit with a different feeling on the front fork. My lap time was acceptable, but when I did my time attack, I used a medium front and I didn’t feel well with it. Therefore, I couldn’t push and couldn’t improve. The position doesn’t look great, so let’s see if we can use the hard tyre tomorrow with probably lower temperatures.”

 

Darryn Binder (40). Photo courtesy WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team.
Darryn Binder (40). Photo courtesy WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team.

 

DARRYN BINDER

“The first day here in Misano is done and dusted. It’s a really narrow track with quite tight corners. I found it a little bit difficult to learn today, but in FP2 I made a little step forward. I started to find a bit of a rhythm towards the end and slowly, but surely starting to understand how to get around this track. I’m looking to make some progress tomorrow and going to sleep on it tonight.”

 

 

 

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

Orange Duo Fernandez-Gardner Complete First Day of San Marino GP

Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team completed the first day of the Gran Premio Gryfyn di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, held at the 4.226km-long Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

It was a new experience for Raul Fernandez today who had Guy Coulon on his side, replacing crew chief Nicolas Goyon, exceptionally absent for the San Marino GP. In the morning, Raul’s best lap in 1’33.687 placed him nineteenth of the first session, before he slightly improved in the afternoon to 1’33.200. Confident with his race pace, he will continue his preparation tomorrow as he aims to improve his grid position qualification.

Australian Remy Gardner also returned to his KTM RC16 today on the Misano layout, one that he enjoys. In the first practice, he seemed to struggle finding confidence with the front of his machine and was twenty-third. His best lap of the day in 1’33.559 places him twenty-third overall, and he will continue his efforts on Saturday. The action will resume with FP3 at 9:55 (GMT+2) tomorrow morning.

 

Raul Fernandez (25). Photo courtesy Tech3 KTM Factory Racing.
Raul Fernandez (25). Photo courtesy Tech3 KTM Factory Racing.

 

Raul Fernandez

Position: 22nd

Time: 1’33.200

Laps: 40

“Today was really positive because we had a good race pace. We need to focus a bit more on the soft tyres if we want to be faster and get a better grid position, so we will work on this tonight. On a separate note, it was a real pleasure working with Guy Coulon today because he has so much experience. I hope that Nicolas Goyon is recovering well and I am looking forward to having him back.”

 

Remy Gardner (87). Photo courtesy Tech3 KTM Factory Racing.
Remy Gardner (87). Photo courtesy Tech3 KTM Factory Racing.

 

Remy Gardner

Position: 23rd

Time: 1’33.559

Laps: 35

“It has been a difficult day today as my pace was not great. We are lacking confidence with the front of the bike so we are trying to find a solution to get rid of this feeling in order to ride faster. Let’s see what we can do and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.”

 

 

 

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

NINTH PLACE FOR BEZZECCHI AFTER THE FIRST FREE PRACTICES AT SAN MARINO GP

Riding the Ducati Desmosedici GP, the rider of the Mooney VR46 Racing Team hits the momentary access into the Q2. Positive feelings also for Marini

Misano Adriatico (Italy), September 2nd 2022 – Marco Bezzecchi closes the Day 1 of the San Marino GP (Sunday, 02.00 pm CET) in ninth place in the combined standings just six tenths from the provisional pole (1: 31.517, Bastianini). Overall a positive Friday for the whole Mooney VR46 Racing Team with Luca Marini, 19th, but capable of a last flying lap, then canceled after the checkered flag, that would have meant the Top10.

Top class debut on the Ducati Desmosedici GP on the home track for Marco, very fast from the FP1 and satisfied with the 1:32.191 signed in the final minutes which means the momentary access into the second qualifying session (02.35 pm CET).

Luca is also among the most competitive guys, having to give up his last fastest lap for having exceeded the limits of the track. With his second best lap time of the day, 1:32.749, he is in the slipstream of the group fighting for the direct qualification into the Q2.

 

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

 

Luca Marini:

A real pity the canceled lap, but I have touched the green and that’s right. Overall a good day, we still lack something in every single sector, but we know which aspects to work on for tomorrow’s qualifying. We make the right decisions in view of qualifying and hit then the Q2.

 

Marco Bezzecchi (72). Photo courtesy Mooney VR46 Racing Team.
Marco Bezzecchi (72). Photo courtesy Mooney VR46 Racing Team.

 

Marco Bezzecchi:

A beautiful day: I made my debut at Misano with the MotoGP and, at the same time, it was nice to start seeing the fans in the stands. The Team did a good job, we got off to a good start and I’m quite happy. I’m only sorry for my best lap time canceled in the FP2 but I can’t complain. We work to make a step forward on the first two sectors of the track.

Pablo Nieto:

A very good start at Home GP and a real shame the canceled lap just under the checkered flag for Luca because it would have meant the Top10 for both. Overall we did a good job and we are very close to the group of the strongest guys. Let’s make the most of the field advantage, this is our home race and have fun tomorrow in qualifying and then in the race.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Prima Pramac Racing:

SAN MARINO GP – Zarco and Martin fourth and eighth respectively in free practice at #SanMarinoGP

 

Johann Zarco (5). Photo courtesy Prima Pramac Racing.
Johann Zarco (5). Photo courtesy Prima Pramac Racing.

 

It was an extremely positive Friday for the Prima Pramac Racing team at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. The free practice of the Grand Prix of Misano and Riviera di Rimini ended in fact with the fourth place of Johann Zarco and the eighth of Jorge Martin, who thus gained the virtual access to Q2 in case it rains tomorrow morning. After a crash in FP1 the Frenchman pushed hard in FP2, finishing with a time of 1’31.837, 135 thousandths of a second off the hypothetical front row. For Jorge Martin some difficulties in the morning practice brilliantly overcome in FP2 thanks to a time of 1’32.166 that allowed him to finish in eighth position.

Jorge Martín

This morning I couldn’t find the right confidence with the bike, I couldn’t express myself at my best and I preferred not to risk it. In the afternoon session we took a big step forward and I am confident for tomorrow.

Johann Zarco

It was a difficult day, we didn’t get  a great start in the first free practice session, but then we recovered great. A good fourth time in the afternoon, where we understood a lot of things, we worked very well and I am very satisfied.

 

 

 

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

MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP TAKES DOUBLE TOP-10 RESULT ON SAN MARINO GP FRIDAY

Misano Adriatico (Italy), 2nd September 2022

GRAND PRIX OF SAN MARINO E DELLA RIVIERA DI RIMINI
FREE PRACTICE

Today, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP started their second home race showing good form in the Friday free practice sessions. Riders Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli spent the day preparing dry set-ups for Sunday‘s Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini and securing a double top-10 result in the combined FP timesheets, securing fifth and tenth place.

5th FABIO QUARTARARO 1’31.843 (FP2) / 23+21 LAPS

10th FRANCO MORBIDELLI 1’32.242 (FP2) / 24+18 LAPS

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo was quick to show his hand on the Friday free practice sessions, topping the timesheets for most of FP1 and FP2. He ultimately ended the day in fifth place. Franco Morbidelli booked solid progress, turning a P17 in FP1 into a P10 in FP2.

It was a cloudy start to the San Marino GP, but Quartararo was radiating confidence and ready to put his mark on the race weekend early on. Less than a third into the FP1 session, he took over the top spot with a 1‘33.075s and later improved to a 1‘33.069s and 1‘32.968s, all whilst on the same long run. He shaved off more time in the remainder of the session, saving the best for last. A 1‘32.313s on lap 23/23 earned him first place, 0.224s ahead of his closest rival.

The reigning World Champion continued where he left off in the afternoon. He was back at the top of the rankings in no time, but soon the competition got heated in the bright sunshine. With happy memories of last year‘s Title victory spurring him on, Quartararo was back in the P1 before the time attack commenced. He put his head down once more and produced a 1‘31.843s on his 21st and final lap. It earned him fifth place, 0.326s off today‘s fastest time.

Morbidelli started his home GP pushing hard and came close to a top-10 position midway through the morning session. However, he too was a rider that experienced a few wobbles in FP1 due to the lack of grip on track after yesterday‘s heavy rainfall. He ended the session in 17th place with a best time of 1‘33.562s, set on lap 13/24, 1.249s from first.

With the grip improving after the morning sessions, Morbido found some speed at the start of FP2. But with the pace picking up, it was not enough to move him up to a place in Q2 in the provisional combined FP standings. The Italian got to work until it was time to put his set-up tweaks to the test in the final five minutes. He pushed hard and posted a 1‘32.242s on lap 18/18 which put him in tenth place in the FP2 and combined FP results, 0.725s from the top.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

In general it was a pretty good day for our team. Fabio clearly has good speed and good pace from the get-go. Overall, his package is already looking strong. Today we‘ve examined where we can find further improvements, so we have a margin to work with. As for Franco, this is his home GP, and we would like nothing better than to see him have a good race weekend. He found a big chunk of time in FP2 compared to FP1, and that helped him get into the top 10. All in all, it‘s a positive start, but the times are always very close together here in Misano. For now, it seems like FP3 will also be dry, so the fight for a place in Q2 is not over yet. We will again bring our A-game tomorrow morning, to hopefully have both riders in the top 10 again and give them the chance to secure the best starting position possible.

 

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

 

FABIO QUARTARARO

I’m really happy! On the used medium tyres, I managed to get a 1’31.8s, so basically the same time we got with the new softs. For sure we can find some more improvements tomorrow. My goal is to fight for the best result possible. I don’t care too much about not finishing at the top today, but it was a shame that we didn’t get a good taste of the potential of the soft tyres this afternoon. The most important thing for tomorrow is to be in Q2 straight away. That way, in case it rains in the afternoon, we limit the potential damage. But I think, we made massive improvement in the wet this year compared to last year, with the bike and myself, so it doesn’t matter to me if it will be wet or dry.

 

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

 

FRANCO MORBIDELLI

It was a good day for us. I felt quite good this morning, and I could improve this afternoon, especially with the soft tyre. We are making steps forward. I am able to extract a decent potential from the bike now in some moments, so we got to keep going on this path and keep going. We’ll try to improve and consolidate what we have already.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Productive opening day in Misano for the Repsol Honda Team

Times were tight in the premier class again as the smallest of margins hid the potential of Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl during a day of improvements.

The torrential rain showers of Thursday were replaced by idyllic conditions as the sun shone high in the sky above the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. It was another day of close action as the majority of the MotoGP field lapped within a second of each other, the Repsol Honda Team working well to keep pace throughout the day.

Pol Espargaro was competitive once again in Misano as he spent much of Free Practice 1 circulating towards the top of the time sheets. Finding almost a second between the two sessions, Espargaro ended Friday’s on-track action with a best time of 1’32.301. This left the #44 in 11th on the combined timesheets, missing out on a provisional Q2 spot by less than a tenth of a second. A conservative strategy with the tyres for his flying lap in FP2 may have meant Espargaro left some time on track, but did provide important information if the conditions change.

On the other side of the Repsol Honda Team garage, Stefan Bradl was also able to find significant gains as he began his eighth weekend racing the Honda RC213V in 2022. 0.7s back from his teammate, Bradl would end the day in 21st with a top 15 position less than half a second away. The German’s objective is to continue along this line and make further gains with improvements to bike setup.

Today also saw the confirmation that Marc Marquez will travel to Misano with the intention of riding at the post-race test to further assess his physical condition. Marquez will again join the team at the circuit from Saturday to assist in the development of the RC213V.

 

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

 

Pol Espargaro

11TH  1’32.301

“It was not a bad first day, especially since I think we made a bit of a mistake with thee tyre choice for our time attack. I went with a safer option but even like this we were able to get a lot of good information for tomorrow. Even like this we were really close to the top ten, so this is a positive way to start the weekend. There’s a small amount of time between all the riders, we need to find some time tomorrow but the situation has potential.”

 

Stefan Bradl (6). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.
Stefan Bradl (6). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.

 

Stefan Bradl

21ST  1’32.978

“We worked a lot on the setup today and we were able to improve our lap time over the course of the day. It was a very normal Friday honestly, getting information about tyres and trying some things. The plan is to keep working along this path and close the distance to some potential points. There’s time to find and a few tenths will make a big difference this weekend.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Gresini Racing:

ENEA STEPS UP HIS GAME IN FREE PRACTICE AT MISANO

#SanMarinoGP Free Practice. Team Gresini MotoGP had a strong start to the San Marino GP courtesy of an excellent performance by Enea Bastianini, who topped the timesheets on the opening day of round 14. The Italian rider was hard at work today with an eye on Sunday’s race, but also found the time for a phenomenal time attack – which would grant him the direct seed to Q2 should FP3 take place under rainy conditions.

Fabio Di Giannantonio had a more challenging time as he finished the day in 17th place, one second away from his teammate. The young Italian had a hard time getting up to speed especially this morning, as he was not fully comfortable aboard his bike. There is still, however, plenty of margin to improve tomorrow, with the #49 who is aiming at would be another competitive Saturday of racing on Italian turf.

 

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

1st – ENEA BASTIANINI #23 (1’31.517s)

“Pecco and I have helped each other out, even though I believe it worked out better for me than for him, especially because I was the one ahead when the yellow flags were deployed. It was easier to set the time with him at the front, but we were quick anyway and that’s the most important thing. To start the weekend on top of the timesheets is key even though Fabio, Pecco and the two Aprilias all have great pace.”

 

Fabio Di Giannantonio (49). Photo courtesy Gresini Racing.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (49). Photo courtesy Gresini Racing.

17th – FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO (1’32.656s)

“It was a tough day and we were not quick enough. This morning, the bike was really nervous and lacked stability. We worked hard and address this issue, but it’s not enough. We’ll need another step tomorrow especially on corner entry, which is our biggest issue at the moment. I tried a time attack but the rear tyre didn’t feel too good, so I believe we have great margin for improvement tomorrow.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Racing:

THE APRILIAS SHINE ON THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE IN MISANO

MAVERICK AND ALEIX, CONSISTENTLY WITH THE LEADERS, BOTH FINISH EASILY IN THE TOP TEN

Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales started the weekend that will culminate in the GP of San Marino e Riviera di Rimini on the right foot. On the Misano circuit, they took spots in the top ten rather easily.

Astride their RS-GP machines, both riders were consistently among the protagonists, from FP1 in the morning where they finished fourth (Aleix) and fifth (Maverick). In the afternoon session, decidedly faster than the first, they held the top positions for a long time, also demonstrating great consistency in terms of fast pace. However, after putting on the tyre for their final, decisive run, only Aleix managed to improve on his time. Traffic on the track kept Maverick from being incisive on his time attack, but the times done were enough to clinch sixth place for Viñales at a time of 1’31.929.

This is an important result, especially considering the weather forecast which calls for a chance of rain during the FP3 practice session on Saturday morning. If this were to happen, the Aprilia Racing riders will already be assured of going straight through to the second qualifying session, which decides the first four rows of the starting grid.

 

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

 

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ

“I’m pleased. I arrived here with a few doubts but I felt good today. Especially if we are talking about consistency, with the medium tyre the pace and sensations were outstanding for this being the first day. I struggled a bit with the soft where I expected to be able to improve my time more. We’ll have to work on this because we know how important qualifying is here in Misano. In the event of rain, grip on the track is good since it was resurfaced a few years ago but I still hope to be able to finish the weekend in the dry!”

 

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

 

MAVERICK VIÑALES

“We did great! I had fun riding and I am extremely pleased with the way we worked today. The pace is already good and we are definitely moving in the right direction. There are obviously still details to work on but the potential is there and we know we can improve, especially on the flying lap. In any case, already being provisionally in Q2 is important just in case it rains tomorrow morning but we know that if it’s dry, times will drop even more and we’ll have to give it our all to stay out front. For the race, starting from the front row will be fundamental and we’ll do our best to be there!”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:

RINS HINTS AT FORM AS WATANABE SETTLES INTO SAN MARINO

Alex Rins: 14th – 1’32.365 (+ 0.848)
Kazuki Watanabe: 25th – 1’36.019 (+ 4.502)

An air of excitement filled the Team Suzuki Ecstar pitbox on Friday morning as Kazuki Watanabe, substituting for the injured Joan Mir, made his MotoGP debut at the Misano World Circuit. The Japanese rider took a steady approach to the first session of the day, while Alex Rins showed strong early pace as he jumped into second place. The times were tight at the top as always, and Rins closed FP1 in eighth place, just half a second from first place.

Warmer conditions in FP2 meant the session was prime for good performances, but with everyone pushing hard, crashes were almost guaranteed. Rins was hampered by an off at Turn 15, just when he was getting into his rhythm at the half-way point of the session. He quickly returned to the track for a last push but missed the Top 10 by a small amount; less than a 10th of a second. Nevertheless, he felt positive about the early feel of his GSX-RR in San Marino.

Kazuki Watanabe improved his time by more than a second compared with the morning session, and this boost put him within 105% of the top time, the necessary ‘cut off’ to be allowed to continue and race. Both Watanabe and the team were proud of this achievement on the opening day.

 

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

 

Alex Rins:

“Today was a good day and I was unlucky with the crash because it dropped my confidence and then I didn’t really have time to push again. Before that I was getting quicker and feeling pretty good, especially my pace. When I had my crash, I had an incident with a marshal because he grabbed me and it set my airbag off, and I’ve already been to apologise, but I’d like to say again that I’m sorry for him. Let’s hope the weather stays dry tomorrow and we hope that in FP3 we can make the cut for qualifying.”

 

Kazuki Watanabe. Photo courtesy Team Suzuki ECSTAR.
Kazuki Watanabe (92). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki ECSTAR.

 

Kazuki Watanabe:

“In the beginning it was a real debut, it’s practically the first time I’ve ridden this bike or this track, so it was a strange feeling but a great one. Lap by lap, I got used to the bike more and gained confidence in FP2 – which was more difficult in FP1 because it was all a bit overwhelming; everything on this bike is extreme compared with the superbike. Towards the end of today I really started to enjoy riding, so I’m ready to try again tomorrow.”

Livio Suppo – Team Manager:

“Alex was doing a good job in FP1 and the beginning of FP2, but unfortunately, he had a crash when he switched onto the hard tyre and he lost a bit of confidence and time – which meant he couldn’t get into the Top 10. But, despite the crash, he’s had a good start to the weekend. I’m very happy for Kazuki, he’s improving step by step, it’s not easy to get into the 105%, and he’s already achieved this target so we’re feeling good.”

 

 

 

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

ÁLEX MÁRQUEZ UPBEAT AFTER ENCOURAGING START AT MISANO

 

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

Álex Márquez made an eye-catching start as free practice for the San Marino Grand Prix got underway at Misano. The LCR Honda CASTROL rider ended the opening day just outside the top 10, but was amongst the early pacesetters and is hopeful of further progress on Saturday and a strong qualifying position on the starting grid.

The Spaniard immediately looked at ease as the MotoGP class took to the track for FP1, topping the timesheets in the early stages before finishing the session in 14th. He improved again in FP2 and, despite ending the day in 15th overall, is only two tenths outside the top 10 and well-placed to make a push for Q2.

Álex Márquez – 15th

(1’32.418)

“It was a solid day, I think the riding style and performance was quite good today, I felt at a really good level on the bike and that’s the most important thing. We need to keep working like this as we still have some things to improve, but it was one of my best Fridays of the season and, in terms of rhythm, the best one. So we need to keep going like this, the team is working really well and we’ll try to carry on like we did today.”

 

 

 

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

TAKA TARGETING IMPROVEMENT AT SAN MARINO GP

 

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

Takaaki Nakagami will look to push on at Misano tomorrow after working hard on his set-up on the opening day of free practice for the San Marino Grand Prix. The LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider ended up in 16th position overall on Friday, but is confident of improvement when the MotoGP class return to the track ahead of qualifying.

The Japanese star took 15th in another tight FP1 session, finishing only three tenths outside the top 10. He made various adjustments in FP2, improving his lap-time by almost a second in the afternoon and, despite having to settle for 16th, is looking forward to battling for qualification exemption in FP3 tomorrow morning.

Takaaki Nakagami – 16th

(1’32.566)

“Today was a bit of a tough for us, we were able to improve performance a little bit in FP2 and we tried two bikes with different set-ups. We got some important data for the second day and now we’ll try to improve and find a good balance for the bike with the small details. We’ll try to make a good lap-time in FP3 tomorrow morning and hopefully we can then prepare for the qualifying session (Q2). I’m really looking forward to the second day of the San Marino GP.”

 

 

 

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

Bagnaia second and Miller third after Friday’s free practice for the San Marino GP

Four Desmosedici machines in front of everyone on the first day of Ducati’s second home round at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli with Bastianini first, ahead of Bagnaia, Miller and Zarco.

Ducati Lenovo Team riders Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller finished in second and third position on Friday’s free practice for the San Marino GP, the second home round for the Borgo Panigale-based squad, held this weekend at the Misano Adriatico circuit.

After picking up a three-grid penalty for Sunday’s race for inadvertently slowing down two other riders in FP1, Pecco also suffered a crash in the early stages of FP2, but that did not prevent him from closing out his Friday on a positive note. After returning to the track for a final time attack, the Italian rider was, in fact, able to post the second fastest time of the day in 1:31.631, 114 thousandths of a second behind Enea Bastianini, first with the Desmosedici GP of the Gresini Racing team.

Jack also had an excellent first day at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. After closing FP1 with the second best time, the Australian rider continued to be quick in the afternoon, finishing third behind his teammate. Completing an all-Ducati quartet, Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) set the fourth fastest time, 135 thousandths behind Miller.

 

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

 

Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 2nd (1:31.631)

“Friday certainly didn’t start as we expected: this morning in FP1, I slowed down a lap early, thinking I had taken the chequered flag, and I was rightly penalised. In the afternoon, I crashed after touching the white line. Despite that, I managed to be fast straight away and finish the day on a positive note, setting the fastest time. Now it will be crucial to do a good qualifying because, even if I get pole position, I will be forced to start from fourth on the grid because of the penalty.”

 

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

 

Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 3rd (1:31.702)

“Being in the top ten today is definitely positive, considering that we don’t know what the weather will be like tomorrow morning in FP3. The bike is working well, and we haven’t had to change much; we just adapted the setup to the new track conditions, which have more bumps than before. After each outing, we made changes that allowed us to go in the right direction, and I also felt good with the rear medium tyre. Overall it was a positive first day, and I hope to continue this trend until Sunday”.

The Ducati Lenovo Team riders will be back on track tomorrow at 9:55am, Italian time for FP3, while qualifying for the San Marino GP will start at 2:10pm, at the end of FP4.

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