Not many would have predicted a Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) top two at the end of the first two Free Practice sessions at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, but that’s exactly what happened at Mugello. The Italian and Frenchman making it the first time in over 11 years that two rookies have ended a MotoGP day quickest, Jorge Lorenzo and James Toseland the duo to last do it in Qatar 2008 qualifying.
Before the rookies came to the fore, it was Championship and Italian GP FP1 leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) who was sat at the top of the times for most of FP2. Every rider apart from LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) had improved on their FP1 times with just under 20 minutes to go but as is accustomed in MotoGP™ FP2, most of the action came in the final ten minutes.
Aforementioned, Marquez sat at the top of the tree and it was a quintet of Ducatis who were his closest challengers, before Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales jumped into the top four. Fellow Yamaha rider Quartararo then went to P3 as the timing screens lit up with personal best and session best times. Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) then went P1 before Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro stuck in the first 1:46 of the weekend.
Petrucci and Quartararo then exchanged fastest session times before an Italian was on the march, Bagnaia launching himself to the summit with seconds to go to take top spot honours on Friday ahead of Quartararo and Petrucci, with Pol Espargaro claiming a fantastic fourth. Bagnaia improving drastically from a P17 in FP1 to delight the home crowd, with Quartararo, Petrucci and Espargaro cementing top ten places.
A solid FP2 sees Viñales take P5 and a provisional automatic Q2 place, the Spaniard struggling to 14th in FP1, with Friday morning pacesetter Marquez ending the day sixth. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins earns a top ten place in FP2 after sitting 11th after FP1, with LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow sitting eighth – 0.438 splitting him from Bagnaia. There was a late crash for Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller in FP2, the Australian finished 9th in the second session to drop from 6th as he heads tenth place Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT).
Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crashed at Turn 11 midway through FP2 – rider ok.
The top 18 are split by less than a second and with the likes of Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati), Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Repsol Honda Team’s Jorge Lorenzo – among others – outside the provisional Q2 places, FP3 looks set to be a cracker.
Don’t miss FP3 on Saturday morning at 09:55 local time (GMT+2).
Top 10 Combined:
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) 1:46.732
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) +0.046
3. Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) +0.131
4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.2344
5. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.241
6. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) +0.330
7. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) +0.435
8. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) +0.438
9. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.453
10. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) +0.536