Round 14 – Aragon
Friday Practice Results / Report / Quotes
Marc Marquez’ (Repsol Honda Team) stunning and smooth 1m46.869 in FP1 sees the reigning World Champion sit over a second clear of the field after Day 1 at the Gran Premio Michelin de Aragon.
Maverick Viñales was fastest from Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team-mate Valentino Rossi in FP2 as the duo complete the top three on the combined standings.
The headlines though remained Marquez’ awesome show of speed in the first session of the weekend – despite a front end lose in the afternoon that he bounced up from. There was savage intent clear in the eyes of the Spaniard, while his competitors when glancing at the timing monitors early in FP1, looked incredulous…
Rain threatens to disrupt proceedings on Saturday, with a place in that all-important provisional Q2 graduation zone seemingly up for grabs on Friday given the forecast, thus the intent by many to put a fast lap in the locker on Friday. From Marquez though it seemed more than that, it looked as though he wanted to stamp his authority and demoralise the opposition… The final part of his quote on Friday was just to rub a little more salt in the wounds of the riders he had just flayed mercilessly…
Marc Marquez – P1
“Today we started very well and actually we ended quite well too. In the morning we did our time attack, I felt good and with the potential weather tomorrow I thought it was best. It was a quite good lap! In the afternoon we worked a lot with used tyres and unfortunately had a small crash but we learned a lot from it. Aside from this little fall everything went well and I think there’s still some more time to find.”
Maverick Viñales – P2
“Things are going well so far. We‘re trying the new parts at the moment and are working a lot on the bike. I‘m not really concentrating on my rhythm or on setting fast laps, because we need to work a lot on the bike and try to understand in which direction to go. We are working really hard and are very pleased with the lap times because things are going the right way. We need to keep working, keep exploring the new bike items and see if we can get an advantage with the new exhaust. It‘s very important that we‘re inside the top 10, we did a good job today. We‘ve improved a lot in the rain, so I‘m not really worried should it be wet tomorrow. I know that we can be in the top 5 if it rains, so that‘s very important, but our main goal is getting on the first row tomorrow, have a good start on Sunday, and try to move forward. This is a track where I‘ve always been fast, so I‘m very pleased to be in these first places today.”
Valentino Rossi – P3
“I’m very happy! In the morning we had a lot of problems, but in the afternoon, in FP2, we were able to improve the electronics, the engine brake, and also the acceleration of the bike, so I feel better now. We still have a lot of work to do, but it’s important to be inside the top 3 on the Friday. The weather forecast for tomorrow isn’t fantastic, so everybody tried really hard to stay inside the top 10 today because FP3 might be wet. Usually when we make improvements in the dry it’s the same in the wet. Maybe we have a chance tomorrow to try and understand if we’re stronger in the wet conditions.”
The best of the rest…
And joining the top three in that top ten as it stands were many a usual suspect – with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) one surprising name to be left out. If it’s wet in FP3, the Silverstone winner may have his work cut out for him.
There were no such issues for Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) as the French rookie showed off his now customary impressive pace by taking fourth and ending the day as top Independent Team rider. ‘El Diablo’ slotted in just behind the Monster Energy Yamaha duo of Viñales and Rossi in FP2, with the Iwata marque dominating the afternoon…although Marquez’ morning hot lap remained out of reach.
Viñales spent much of that afternoon chipping away at his rival’s advantage and a few positions chopped and changed in the top five and ten, but a late rush for provisional graduation to Q2 soon changed the tone again.
Rossi was one who needed a boost up the order after finishing FP1 outside the top 15, and Quartararo was on the edge too. Ultimately, both would shoot up the timesheets and safely end the day in P3 and P4 respectively, just ahead of another stunning performance from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s man of the moment Pol Espargaro. After a solid FP1 within the top ten, the Spaniard ends the day in an ever-impressive P5 overall.
Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) slipped from fifth to sixth overall, although the KTM ahead only got the better of him by an infinitesimal 0.050, with LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow then even closer in seventh – only 0.008 in further arrears.
Jack Miller – P6
“We started much better than the Misano weekend and this gives us great confidence. We did a good job with the tyres and collected a lot of data. We are easily in Top 10. If it were to rain tomorrow we would be directly in Q2 and this would allow us to work on the race pace even in wet conditions.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) kept the trend going as he ended the day only 0.027 off Crutchlow; the Italian eighth by the end of play after ending FP1 in P4.
Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) impressed on Friday to take ninth and give himself a shout of a place in Q2, and he could be the only Suzuki rider there after Rins just lost out.
A late lunge from Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was what got the Silverstone winner and the older Espargaro brother ends Friday in tenth to make it every manufacturer in the top ten on Day 1 in Aragon.
Rins will be joined by the likes of Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in looking up at the sky on Saturday morning and hoping it’s dry.
Jorge Lorenzo was able to steadily improve his lap times and close in on the fastest riders. With only seven-tenths splitting riders from second to 11th in the combined times, just a few tenths offered massive potential gains. A best time of 1’49.710 from FP2 saw the five-time World Champion end just a second from a spot in the top ten as he worked to improve the feeling on his bike, but P20 makes it seem as though he is a long way away from being competitive. Adding further insult is the fact that his team-mate is almost three-seconds faster…. Jorge Lorenzo ultimately ended the second practice session as the fastest rider through the speed trap though, hitting 334.4 km/h.
Jorge Lorenzo – P20
“We struggled with the feeling today and I was hoping to be more competitive after our stronger start in Misano. In the afternoon I was able to improve a bit, but still I am looking to close the gap more. Sadly it looks like it will rain tomorrow which makes it a little harder for us as we will have less time to set up the bike but I will be able to do some running in the wet.”
MotoGP Aragon Friday Combined Times
Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) is the rider to beat heading into Saturday courtesy of his fastest time in FP1 at the Gran Premio Michelin de Aragon, with second fastest Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) also setting his fastest lap in the morning. Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40) completes the top three on Friday, his time from FP2 his best effort.
Both Fernandez and Marini had over sixth tenths of an advantage heading into FP2 at MotorLand Aragon and for the most part the session was quiet in terms of laptime improvements. However, after finishing FP1 in a solid sixth, the likes of Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) made some moves.
Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) then moved into P4 on the combined times before he stopped on track with some sort of issue, and ultimately it was session over for the Swiss rider, while Marini was busy setting the fastest lap of the session – but not overall. Baldassarri finished third in FP1 and he soon found himself back in the same position on the combined times as the clock ticked down in FP2, but no one could match Fernandez. The Misano winner was struggling to find time in the afternoon and took the flag in P8, but he would remain quickest overall.
Despite topping FP2 by over two tenths, Marini wouldn’t beat his Friday morning time as he remains behind Fernandez heading into Saturday’s action. Baldassarri was able to find time to close the gap from 0.8 to 0.6 and take third, with Lowes’ good day continuing in FP2, the Brit finding three tenths to climb from P6 to P4. Title race leader Marquez sits over six tenths off his main rival on Day 1 at his home Grand Prix, the Spaniard slipping down one place to P5 overall by the end of play.
Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) – the top KTM rider on Day 1 – climbed the combined standings during the final 10 minutes of FP2 to take P6 and P7 respectively, with Lüthi able to keep P8 despite his late drama. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) finished ninth in both FP1 and FP2, with ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team’s Tetsuta Nagashima completing the top ten.
Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up), Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) are currently the last who stand to move through to Q2 if the weather, as it’s expected to, changes on Saturday. Leaving the likes of Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) heading for Q1…
Moto2 Aragon Friday Combined Times
|17||F.Di Giannanto||SPEED UP||1m53.676|
Andrea Migno (WWR) blasted out the blocks in the Gran Premio Michelin de Aragon on Day 1, going quickest overall to beat Misano winner Tatuski Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) to the top by just 0.086. Less than a tenth behind the duo at the top, Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) ensured the timesheets stayed tight in third.
On a scorching hot day expected to turn wet by tomorrow, getting a place in the top 14 – and therefore a provisional place in Q2 – was high on the agenda. And that’s something Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) misses out on, with the man second in the Championship ending the day in P16. The lightweight class had a last minute shootout at the end of FP2, with riders heading out for a one-lap dash with three minutes remaining. Red sectors were lighting up the timing screens and it was Suzuki who beat his own time by 0.4 seconds initially, but Migno would leave it as late as possible to fire in the best time of the day by just 0.086. Arbolino jumped from P15 in FP1 to P3 in FP2 to once again sit at the sharp end of the field.
WWR’s Jaume Masia sits P4 at the end of Day 1, 0.218 off his teammate’s time on home turf, with Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completing the top five on Friday by virtue of his last flying lap.
Filip Salac (Redox PrüstelGP) slipped from P5 to P6 in FP2 but it was nevertheless a positive day for the young Czech rider, with Riccardo Rossi (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) having a good showing in P7 on the combined times thanks to his best lap in FP1, although the Italian had a tougher time in the afternoon. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) ends Friday in P8 after going second quickest in the morning, with Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) and Japanese rookie Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) completing the top ten.
So where’s Championship leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing)? Down in P11, although he’ll be safely through to Q2 should the weather change, as key rival Canet heads for Q1…
Moto3 Aragon Friday Combined Times
|11||L.Dalla Porta Ita||HONDA||1m59.260|