Quartararo fends off Ducati for top honours on Friday

2022-04-29 04:07
The reigning Champion tops Day 1 at one of his signature tracks despite a crash, with Bastianini, Bagnaia and Martin on the chase
Friday, 29 April 2022
Reigning Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) is the rider to beat so far at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España! The Championship leader pulled two tenths clear on Friday to hold off the hard-charging Ducati trio of Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), with the Frenchman finding a late 1:37.071 in FP2 to sit top of the pile despite a crash earlier in the day.

2020 Champion Joan MIr (Team Suzuki Ecstar) topped FP1, the Spaniard's penultimate lap good enough to hold off a last lap charge from teammate Alex Rins, who ended up just 0.025 behind in second. LCR Castrol's Honda's Alex Marquez slotted into third, but there was some headline stealing from Quartararo in a different way to start the day.

The Frenchman was sitting pretty at the top of the timesheets before a wet patch caught him out at the final corner, and the crash left him wincing as the rear wheel of his Yamaha flicked him in the groin. No harm done once he'd had a few minutes to recover, but there were two further moments as well: The first came under braking at Turn 9, before he was then forced to straight line it through the gravel trap at Turn 5. Despite all of that, the number 20 closed out the opening session in fifth, just behind Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing).

Quartararo was able to pull out those two tenths to take back to the top, but he had competition from Ducati. Looking at the opening day of action, it's the Bologna factory who may well be his closest challengers on Sunday after Bastianini, Bagnaia and Martin all impressed. The 'Beast' jumped ahead of his factory counterpart with the chequered flag out to take second spot late on, but after Bagnaia had earlier led the session too. The number 63 appeared to be back to his brilliant best as he threw in a handful of fast laps, with his best placing him third overall and a quarter of a second adrift of his 2021 title rival.

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), meanwhile, suffered two crashes. The first off was at Turn 6, before quickly picking up the bike and rejoining. Whilst heading back to the pitlane, however, the eight-time World Champion was cruising off the racing line at Turn 9 and touched a damp patch that remained from Thursday's rain. Down went the Spaniard again but former teammate and now KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa was on hand for a taxi back.

Provisional Q2 places
Behind the Quartararo-Ducati caravan in the top four then, it's Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) who ends Friday as top Honda in fifth. It was close though, the Japanese rider edging out Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) by just 0.004, and the gap didn't get much bigger thereafter either, with Repsol Honda's Pol Espargaro in seventh and only another 0.005 off.

Team Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins was eighth and the only rider in the top ten from FP1's top three, and Aprilia Racing's Maverick Viñales finished Friday in ninth. 2021 winner Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) is currently the last set to move through, the Australian in P10 on Day 1.

That leaves the likes of Marquez, Aleix Espargaro and Mir looking for more on Saturday morning, with FP3 underway at 9:55 (GMT +2). Then, it's time to decide the grid for another stunning Gran Premio Red Bull de España, so make sure to tune in for qualifying - on track from 14:10!
1 Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) - Yamaha - 1'37.071
2 Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) - Ducati - +0.201
3 Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) - Ducati - +0.212

Bastianini was back near the top after a tougher Portuguese GP
Bagnaia also had some great speed on Friday, ending the day third
Dixon dominates Day 1 in Jerez
The Brit is looking for some redemption and starts the weekend in the hot seat, with Fernandez and Ogura inside the top three
Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team's Jake Dixon completed a Day 1 clean sweep at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España after topping both FP1 and FP2 to sit over two tenths clear of second place Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo). The British rider’s 1:41.646 was three tenths faster than he went on Friday morning too, with Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) slotting into third and 0.363s shy of Dixon’s pace.

Dixon started the weekend on top and the Brit was 0.275 seconds clear of compatriot Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing), as well as the only man to break the 1:42 barrier on Friday morning, setting a 1:41.938.

Third fastest was Fernandez, with Ogura a further spot back in fourth. Dixon did have a run-in with his teammate Albert Arenas, who was fifth, as the two got close for comfort at the exit of Turn 1. Arenas also crashed in the session, rider ok. Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) also crashed, rider ok and P6 in the session.

In the second session of the day, the top 13 riders on the timesheets were able to better their lap times from the cooler morning conditions. Fernandez had gone quickest briefly before Dixon responded towards the closing stages to reclaim top spot from the Spaniard - and it was a time that wouldn’t be beaten before the end of play.

Ogura was fast once again, moving up into third as the Japanese rider proved a consistent threat on Friday. Lowes was fourth in the afternoon, just ahead of teammate Arbolino.

Provisional Q2 places
Dixon, Fernandez, Ogura, Lowes and Arbolino are the top five, and Arenas suffered a small crash at Jorge Lorenzo corner at the end of the day but the Spaniard had a positive outing to finish P6.

Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Pedro Acosta was finding the limits of his Red Bull KTM Ajo machine before firing in a lap good enough for seventh, and the rookie was marginally ahead of Portugal race winner Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team).

The American is P8 ahead of Saturday’s all-important FP3 shootout and just behind him sits the injured Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40), who is riding through the pain barrier as he looks to gain back ground lost on the Algarve. Indonesian GP winner Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Cameron Beaubier (American Racing), Fermin Aldeguer (Lightech Speed Up), Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and World Championship leader Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) currently occupy the remaining automatic Q2 places in P11, P12, P13 and P14 respectively... and Vietti will be the first looking for more on Saturday morning in FP3.

Make sure you tune in for that at 10:55 local time (GMT+2) before the intermediate class take part in qualifying at 15:10!
1 Jake Dixon (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) - Kalex - 1'41.646
2 Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) - Kalex - +0.252
3 Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) - Kalex - +0.363

Guevara fastest on home turf on Friday
The GASGAS rider ends the day 0.132 clear of Sasaki, with Garcia 11th and Foggia 13th
Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) is top of the pile after Day 1 at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, with the home hero setting an impressive 1:46.341 halfway through FP2 and remaining unchallenged. Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) was second quickest, just less than a tenth and a half off, with fellow Portugal podium finisher Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo).

Championship leader Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) crashed out late on and ended the day in 11th, and closest rival Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) was down in P13 too - with both a little close to that Q2 cut off zone...

Source: Dorna Sports

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