The number 99 heads the Friday timesheets, and on what’s traditionally been Honda turf.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) ripped up the Honda-drenched formbook on Day 1 at the Pramac Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, taking Ducati to the top of the timesheets near the end of FP2 to set a 1:20.885 – only half a second outside the best pole position at the track, set by ‘King of the Ring’ Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in 2015. Lorenzo left it late to top the provisional Q2 graduates, and was joined in the upper echelons by Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing), who was two and a half tenths back, and Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who was another 0.062 in arrears. Iannone was the fastest man in FP1, too, on a close day that saw 18 riders within a second.
It was a first day characterised by surprisingly pleasant weather and some surprises on the timesheets – some key headlines from which saw Marquez, winner and polesitter for the last eight years, in fifth and teammate Pedrosa just inside the top twenty. Pedrosa, who announced his retirement at the end of 2018 on Thursday, is the man who won three in a row at the venue before Marquez’ roll began – making Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) the last non-Repsol Honda rider to take to the top step at the venue in 2009 and Rossi was another headline, ending Friday in P17.