It was a tight first practice session as Fabio Quartararo led the Petronas SRT for a 1-2 lead in the inaugural Emilia Romagna MotoGP at Misano. This is the third time that the MotoGP has returned to the same circuit for a Grand Prix following the Tuesday tests.
Franco Morbidelli in the sister Petronas Yamaha bike had set the earlier pace recording 1m 33.194s but KTM’s Pol Espargaro took over the lead moments later recording a lap time of 1m 32.390s. Morbidelli was not present in the Tuesday’s test due to stomach problems as later on shot to the top barely 15 minutes gone in the practice session recording 1m 32.365s in the timed lap, the 25-year-old would then go ahead to better his lap in the final 15 minutes recording 1m 32.224s.
Ducatti’s Andrea Dovizioso later on went to snatch the lead from Morbidelli in the 6 final minutes recording 1m 32.152s on the soft tyres. The Ducatti rider had been struggling in the San Marino race weekend but the change in the bike’s set up seems to have done the magic.
Dovi’s time was the benchmark briefly as Joan Mir in the Suzuki GSX-RR took the lead recording a lap time of 1m 31.926s. Quartararo later took on the Suzuki as he recorded 1m 3.889s and finished the session with 1m 33.721s lap.
Franco Morbidelli opted for the hard tyre as the session was coming to a close and made a lap that was just 0.090s slower than Fabio Quartararo as KTM’s Pol Espargaro coming third as the session came to an end, despite his efforts coming on top briefly in the closing stages.
Suzuki’s Joan Mir was pushed to fourth as Miguel Oliveira on the Tech 3 KTM closely followed in fifth. Takaaki Nakagami took the sixth position on the LCR Honda. Ducatti’s Andrea Dovizioso 1m 31.152s lap time got him the seventh position as Avintia’s Johann Zarco with his updated Avintia chassis took the 8th slot.
Maverick Vinales who took the pole position at the San Marino GP took the 13th position though he didn’t participate in the final stages of the time attack. His teammate Valentino Rossi ended up 17th as he also did not go for a fast lap later on. Suzuki’s Alex Rins had a near miss at turn 5 and avoided crashing but 10 minutes later, a crash was inevitable at the Quercia corner around turn 8. The 24-year-old Suzuki rider took the 16th position as KTM’s Brad Binder and Pramac’s Jack Miller finished 14th and 15th respectively.