Maverick Vinales led a factory Yamaha 1-2 by 0.142 seconds from Valentino Rossi in first practice for the inaugural MotoGP Andalusian Grand Prix at Jerez.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, MotoGP’s revised 2020 calendar features several rounds run on the same circuit, with the first Andalusian GP taking place at Jerez just a week after the Spanish GP.
With the field already having four days of running under their belts at Jerez, FP1 was a rather muted affair for much of it as most focused more on longer runs rather than a time attack.
Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro set the initial pace on the RS-GP, before his KTM-mounted brother Pol took over at the top of the timesheets on the factory KTM.
The younger Espargaro brother immediately bettered his 1m37.790s to a 1m37.497s, which stood as the benchmark for most of the morning.
It wasn’t until the closing moments that the top 10 order started to get shuffled, with Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbidelli taking over top spot with a 1m37.416s.
The Italian would be demoted by his mentor Rossi on the works team Yamaha, who moved two tenths clear with a 1m37.205s.
After Rossi dropped out of last Sunday’s race due to a technical issue, Autosport reported on Thursday that Yamaha had sent engines from Rossi and Vinales’ allocation back to Japan for inspection with the latter said to have already used three of his five allotted units.
Leaping up to second late on behind his team-mate, Vinales would usurp him at the death with a 1m37.063s – three tenths clear of the session-topping FP1 effort from last week.
Rossi held onto second ahead of KTM rookie Brad Binder, who showed podium pace in his debut race last weekend despite running off track at Turn 5 in the early stages and dropping to the tail end of the field.
Morbidelli wound up fourth in the end ahead of Pol Espargaro and his Tech3 KTM counterpart Miguel Oliveira.
Jack Miller was top Ducati runner in seventh on the Pramac GP20, with LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami, Aleix Espargaro and factory team Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the top 10.
Spanish GP race winner Fabio Quartararo was a low-key 0.829s off Vinales’ pace in 13th, but didn’t fit a fresh soft rear tyre for a time attack late on.
Joan Mir was top Suzuki in 11th, while his returning team-mate Alex Rins – who dislocated and fractured his right shoulder in a crash in qualifying last week – was 3.1s off the pace in 21st having only completed eight laps.
LCR’s Cal Crutchlow was 1.172s ahead in 20th as he completed 18 laps on his recently fractured left wrist.
Reigning world champion Marc Marquez was absent from FP1 and won’t appear this afternoon having had surgery on his broken right arm on Tuesday.
The Honda rider will attempt to ride on Saturday before evaluating whether he will race or not on Sunday.
MotoGP Andalusian GP FP1 results
|4||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha||0.353s|
|6||Miguel Oliveira||Tech3 KTM||0.429s|
|7||Jack Miller||Pramac Ducati||0.503s|
|8||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||0.529s|
|12||Iker Lecuona||Tech3 KTM||0.769s|
|13||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha||0.829s|
|14||Johann Zarco||Avintia Ducati||0.892s|
|17||Francesco Bagnaia||Pramac Ducati||1.246s|
|18||Tito Rabat||Avintia Ducati||1.330s|
|20||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||1.987s|