Less than a tenth covered Ducati and Honda as a dry FP2 plays out in Valencia; World Champion Quartararo outside the top 10
In a dry MotoGP™ FP2, Ducati Lenovo Team’s Jack Miller landed the fastest lap to take the final Day 1 honour of the season. The Australian set a 1.30.927 on Friday at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana to beat second place Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) by 0.012s, with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) seeing the top three split by a mere 0.068s.
Wet FP1, dry FP2
With the track dry enough for slicks, FP2 was all action from the get-go after a wet FP1. And just like 2021 rival Bagnaia did in the morning, World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) tucked the front of his YZR-M1 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 was the benchmark.
Heading into the ever-exciting final 10 minutes, Morbidelli led Miller by 0.071s, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and HRC teammate Pol Espargaro going well in the top four. Lots of soft rear Michelin tyres were slotted in though, as attentions turned to the top 10 – and provisional automatic Q2 promotion.
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. It was a proper mini qualifying session in Valencia – Miller, Pol Espargaro and Bagnaia all exchanging P1. Pol Espargaro crashed on his final lap at Turn 6, rider ok, with Miller’s penultimate lap handing the Australian P1.
Provisional Q2 qualifiers – World Champion Quartararo 11th
You could split the top trio 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 – 0.4s shy also. Nakagami had a solid opening day in P6, the Japanese rider is 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, Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) occupies P10 ahead of Saturday’s action.
Shoulder Cam is back! Watch a full lap with Fabio Quartararo
Quartararo had a tricky day at the office in both wet and dry conditions. The crash early in FP2 didn’t help his cause, and the current King of MotoGP™ has work to do to grab an automatic Q2 place.
Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) and FP1 pacesetter Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) crashed midway through the session, Turns 2 and 11 caught out the Italian and Spaniard, both riders were ok.
Will conditions stay dry for MotoGP™ FP3 on Saturday morning? Find out at 09:55 local time (GMT+1) as we now look forward to the final qualifying day of the season.
Top 10 combined:
1. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1:30.927
2. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.012
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.068
4. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.409
5. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.469
6. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.500
7. Joan Mir (Tem Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.586
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.594
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.670
10. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.676