Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) stole the headlines on Day 1 at the Gran Premio Tribul Mastercard di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, taking to the top late on in the final stages of FP2 as a top ten shootout got underway. Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took second by only 0.005 seconds, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) – the Championship leader – only another 0.058 further back. Dovizioso was also third quickest in FP1.
With the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend looking changeable, the grid were looking to get into that top ten for provisional direct entry into Q2 qualifying. After the day dawned damp, conditions were good for slicks in FP1 but improved in FP2, setting the stage for a good battle in the final minutes.
Behind the top three in that battle, it remained incredibly tight: Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) was only 0.052 off third and just over a tenth off the top, with the 2016 winner also heading the timesheets briefly towards the end of the day’s action. He headed teammate Marc Marquez, who went down in a fast but low drama lowside at Turn 16 near the end of the second session – just getting back out on his second bike and completing the top five. Marquez was quickest in FP1, however.
Another crasher was LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, who crashed at Turn 15, but the Brit was able to rejoin and ended Day 1 in an impressive P6 despite struggling with a finger injury sustained ahead of the event. Michele Pirro – Ducati test rider – was impressive once again after going second in FP1, taking P7 by the end of action on Friday. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) took P8, having run second for some time before the times tumbled even further.
Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuk Ecstar) had a solid start to his home GP in ninth, with the Italian well set should the weather change on Saturday. The top ten was completed by another impressive performance, this time from EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) took eleventh overall despite a crash in FP1, heading another crasher on Day 1 – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Johann Zarco. Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) took P13 and edged out Reale Avinta Racing duo Loris Baz and Hector Barbera, who completed the top fifteen.
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) topped the timesheets on Day 1 at Misano, on a roll at the end of FP2 taking over from compatriot Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). Morbidelli ended the day in second but only 0.065 back – with Silverstone winner Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) completing the top three.
One big headline of a different nature was the man quickest in FP1 – Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) – who suffered a highside at the end of the first session and was subsequently declared unfit. The “Pistolas” will be gunning to get back on track at Aragon to defend his run of wins on home turf so far in 2017.
On the timesheets, that left Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) taking fourth, ahead of Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira to make it three chassis in the top five – Kalex, Suter and KTM. Championship challenger Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) was sixth quickest and will be looking to move forward on Saturday as he fights to cut his 29 point deficit to Morbidelli.
Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) was the fastest rookie on Day 1 at his second home race of the year, taking seventh after a more muted session in the morning. The rookie was only 0.002 seconds off Lüthi and edged out Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) by the same tiny margin – meaning Corsi ended Friday in P8.
One crasher in the afternoon was Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia), but the Malaysian uninjured and ends Friday in ninth for a solid start. Misano winner last year, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team), locked out the top ten.
Stefano Manzi (Sky Racing Team VR46) back up his impressive performance at Silverstone in P11, ahead of fellow rookie Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), who crashed twice on Friday but rider ok. Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) was P13, with Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team) and Axel Pons (RW Racing GP) completing the fastest fifteen on Friday.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) hit the top late on Friday at the San Marino GP, going fastest in FP2 and therefore fastest overall as all riders improved in the afternoon following a damp start to the day. Teammate Jorge Martin was second quickest despite not running the risk of testing the conditions in the morning, with Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) – winner in 2015 and second last year – keeping some good momentum after his podium at Silverstone to go third quickest.
Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team) was P4 as he continues to show his great pace of late, ahead of two key men at the top of the standings. Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), currently third in the Championship, was the first of title challengers in P5, ahead of points leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), who was sixth quickest overall.
Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) was quick to bounce back from Silverstone in seventh, ahead of compatriot Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), who went fastest in FP1 and had a fast lap deleted in FP2 - leaving the man second in the standings in P8. Two home heroes completed the top ten: Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Marco Bezzechi (CIP).
Just outside that top ten but knowing on the door was Livio Loi (Leopard Racing), who headed Sky Racing Team VR46’s Nicolo Bulega as the former Moto3 Junior World Champion ended the day in P12. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took thirteenth, ahead of Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team). Second Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Andrea Migno – winner at Mugello – locked out the fastest fifteen.
There was a performance of note from wildcard Kevin Zannoni, as the Althea Racing rider took P17 overall on Day 1.