Misano MotoGP Friday Free Practice Results

Misano MotoGP | Tech 3 Yamaha's Pol Espargaro Leads Friday Practice
Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro

MotoGP’s Independent Teams continue to impress. We already saw two Independent Teams claim wins – the first Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda’s Jack Miller at Assen, and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow at Brno.

And on Friday for the opening day of San Marino Grand Prix free practice, another Independent Team showed promise; Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro set the top pace at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

The 25-year-old Spaniard, who suffered a huge crash during the opening lap of Silverstone last weekend, showed promise in the opening free practice, finishing in second, 0.136 of a second behind home favorite Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1). But during the second free practice Friday afternoon, Espargaro continually went faster, eventually finishing with a best lap of 1:32.769. To put this time into perspective, the Best Lap (across all sessions) at Misano is a 1:32.146 set by Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) in 2015.

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Joining Espargaro on the provisional front row are Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa (-0.065) and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso (-0.132).

“It’s a great feeling to end the day in first, even if it is just the beginning of the weekend and with the plans that we have for tomorrow, we hope to continue progressing. Today the bike ran really well and I felt very comfortable on it at the Misano circuit,” Espargaro says. “In addition, the tires that Michelin brought here have allowed me to ride my Yamaha more in a way that I want to.

Honda's Dani Pedrosa at Misano MotoGP FP2
Honda’s Dani Pedrosa

“The rear hard compound has a lot of grip and performed well whilst braking. The end result is a small trophy but the important work starts tomorrow, so tonight we will check some data to improve a bit because there is not much of a gap between the other riders. Another positive from today is that my physical condition after the nasty crash in Silverstone is not affecting my riding whilst on track. Therefore, I look forward to getting back on the Yamaha and I will do my absolute best to get a solid grid position for Sunday’s race.”

As for Dovi, he was also riding following a recent hectic crash; the Ducati GP16 pilot twisted his knee during a private test at Misano earlier this week, but was able to perform well for Ducati’s home race.

As for the Italian’s teammate, fellow countryman Andrea Iannone missed FP2 due to getting a medical examination after a fast low-side crash in the opening free practice, where he finished 17th. The Austrian MotoGP winner Iannone will be assessed Saturday morning to see if he’s fit to ride.

The reigning MotoGP Champion, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo, finished fourth, 0.287 of a second behind Espargaro. The five-time World Champion was followed by the current points leader, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez (-0.427 behind Espargaro), and Rossi (-0.618).

Rounding out the top 10 Friday were Crutchlow, who crashed in FP2; Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati’s Scott Redding; Avintia Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera; and Silverstone winner Maverick Vinales on the Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR.

The 22-rider grid returns to Misano Saturday for two additional free practices ahead of the two 15-minute qualifying sessions.