All four Yamahas sit inside the top five with the Championship leader sandwiched by YZR-M1s after Friday’s action
Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) is the man to beat after Friday’s MotoGP action at the GP Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, his FP2 time of a 1:32.775 was enough to edge out FP1 pacesetter Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) by just 0.057 as four Yamahas sit inside the top five, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) sandwiched in P3.
It was Marquez who was the early leader in FP2 as the Championship leader got straight down to business, closing in Quartararo’s FP1 advantage to just 0.018 to head the afternoon session by over four-tenths. Riders such as Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) had jumped into the overall top ten in the early stages of FP2, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi also improving on their FP1 times.
FP2 then went quiet in terms of personal best times, the riders getting some valuable work done on different tyres to see what their preference will be for Sunday’s race. With just over ten minutes remaining – after a couple of hairy front-end moments – Quartararo had yet to improve his FP1 time, as hadn’t Viñales. But the traditional FP2 time attack was forthcoming and with eight minutes to go, we had plenty of movement. Rossi moved into P3 on the combined times on his first flying run on the soft rear Michelin, but teammate Viñales would move the goalposts at the top – a 1:32.775 saw the Spaniard leap over three tenths clear.
Quartararo was on a personal best behind though, but the rookie sensation wasn’t quite able to match Viñales’ time as the 20-year-old went a tenth off. The Ducati Team riders had a quiet morning but both Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso had found a way into the top ten. Viñales looked like he had P1 in the bag as the flag dropped but Quartararo was on a fast one. Personal best sectors were being set but at the line, the gap was 0.057 – barely anything splitting the two Yamahas. Marquez failed to improve in the final stages to stay P3, with Rossi and Morbidelli claiming P4 and P5 respectively as all four YZR-M1s sit pretty in the top five.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) had a good day at the office, finishing sixth in both FP1 and FP2 to lead Ducati Team’s Michele Pirro. The Italian slips from P4 in FP1 to P7 at the end of play after failing to go quicker in FP2, but the test rider remains the fastest Ducati on track so far. Petrucci sits just behind his teammate in P8, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) – P5 in FP1 – claiming P9 on Friday thanks to his morning time. Last year’s winner Dovizioso occupies the last provisional automatic Q2 place in P10 heading into Saturday – not an easy day for the man second in the Championship.
0.6 splits Dovi in P10 to Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) in P21. It’s all to play for in regard to the fight for an automatic Q2 place in FP3, so make sure you tune in for that at 09:55 local time (GMT+2) on Saturday morning. Will Yamaha continue to reign at Misano on qualifying day?