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MotoGP Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) completes Day 1 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana as the fastest man in some tough... Valencia Grand Prix, Friday roundup – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

MotoGP

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) completes Day 1 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana as the fastest man in some tough and wet conditions thanks to his FP1 time of 1:39.767, with the Spaniard heading Alma Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller and Danilo Petrucci and the top three split by just 0.140 on Friday.
Just like FP1, the FP2 session was red-flagged in the early stages due to unsafe track conditions. This came after debris was left on circuit after Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) crashed at the tricky Turn 12, but the Frenchman was ok and returned to the pits. A short delay followed before the riders headed back out, but with the rain heavier than it was in FP1, none of the riders were able to improve on their morning times and the top three – and ten – were decided for the day.

This left Marquez ending Friday as the quickest rider, with a P2 for the 2018 World Champion in the second session to cap off a good day, and Miller P2 despite finishing P13 in FP2. Petrucci topped FP1 by a significant margin – 0.407 was the gap back to the number 93 – with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) the only other rider within a second of the Ducati rider in the second session. It was P12 overall for ‘The Doctor’, however. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) sits fourth overall and the Italian was P12 in FP2, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) completing the top five on Day 1 despite conditions that have often been more difficult for the newly-inducted Legend this season.

Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – fourth in FP2 – ends P6 on the combined times, with Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) ending the day as the fastest Yamaha rider in P7 overall. Wildcard and Ducati Team test rider Michele Pirro sits P8 overall thanks to his FP1 time, a strong showing for the Italian, as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro grabs a provisional Q2 spot by ending Friday in P9. A P6 in FP2 – along with teammate Bradley Smith’s P8 – caps off a good day for the Austrian manufacturer in the wet conditions. Alex Rins (Team Ecstar Suzuki) rounds out the top ten, but just 0.002 ahead of compatriot Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) in P11.

A completely wet day in Valencia looks like it will set the tone for the weekend. Can anyone improve in FP3 to see if they can grab an automatic Q2 place? Don’t miss FP3 from the Circuit Ricardo Tormo from 09:55 local time (GMT +1) on Saturday morning before qualifying from 14:10.

Moto2

Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) impressed in tough wet conditions after his FP1 time saw him end Day 1 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana at the summit of the Moto2™ combined standings. Because of the heavier rainfall in the afternoon, FP1 times would remain the fastest of the day for the intermediate class and Lecuona’s 1:46.705 in the morning was enough to see him better Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) by 0.798, despite a crash for both. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) sits third quickest on the combined times – 0.912 off Lecuona.

Fourth overall and P4 in FP2 was American rider Joe Roberts (NTS RW Racing GP), who showed his incredible pace in the wet once again, despite a crash. He was just ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40), who was fifth on Day 1 and third in the second, trickier session. World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) ends Friday in P6 overall but was P13 in FP2, with Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) seventh quickest overall.

Second of the NTS wet weather heroes was Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing GP), the South African crashing in both sessions but quick, with two MotoGP™-bound riders completing the top ten: it was P9 for Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and P10 for Fabio Quartararo (HDR Heidrun – Speed Up).
FP2 saw no less than 16 crashes: Lukas Tulovic (Forward Racing Team), Hector Garzo (Tech 3 Racing), Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Team Gresini) twice, replacement rider Tommaso Marcon (HDR Heidrun – Speed Up), Xavi Cardelus (Marinelli Snipers Team), Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2’s Simone Corsi, Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Sky Racing Team VR46’s Luca Marini, Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors), riders ok.

A very wet opening day at Valencia sees Lecuona looking good for pole position, but Saturday is another day, so can anyone top the Spaniard before qualifying begins? Moto2™ are in action with FP3 at 10:55 local time (GMT +1) ahead of the fight for pole starts from 15:05.

Moto3

Rookie Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) went fastest on his final flying lap in FP2 to end Friday at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana on top; his 1:51.873 enough to oust Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) – despite a late crash – from the summit by just 0.039. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) took P3 in FP2 and on the combined times after a P15 in the morning, and the top three overall were split by just 0.094 on Friday.

A wet FP1 and a wet FP2 was the order of the day as the lightweight class machines completed their final Friday of the year in a rain-soaked Valencia. The aforementioned home rider Lopez takes the honours to top the two Italians, with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) fourth in a tight top four – 0.140 was the gap from the Japanese rider to the Spaniard after he ended the first session in P13. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) completed the top five on Friday.

World Champion Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) – who didn’t venture out in FP1 – ended the day sixth fastest, just ahead of Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto Team Moto3), who rounds out a solid day in P7 after ending FP1 inside the top three. Wildcard and Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo), meanwhile, took an impressive P8 to end his first day in Grand Prix racing in the top ten despite a crash, with fellow former Asia Talent Cup rider Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia) P9 overall. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) took P10 and was another who crashed in tough conditions.
Crashes were aplenty in the wet conditions, with replacement rider Izam Ikmal (Petronas Sprinta Racing) the first rider to crash, joined by Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team), Kazuki Masaki (RBA BOE Skull Rider), Raul Fernandez (Angel Nieto Team Moto3), Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Academy 77) for the second time of the day, Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Bester Capital Dubai’s Jaume Masia and Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) – riders ok.

Tune into FP3 for the lightweight class at 09:00 local time (GMT +1) on Saturday to see if anyone can better Lopez ahead of qualifying, which begins at 12:35.