Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo took charge of the Barcelona MotoGP free practice timesheets this afternoon, putting a near three-tenth gap between himself and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso with LCR Honda’s Taka Nakagami in third place.
With the threat of overnight rain looming, the field used the last few minutes of FP2 as period to secure a provisional place in qualifying two and it was the French youngster - equipped with soft Michelins all round - who put aside pain from arm pump surgery to set a 1’40.079 which grazed Jorge Lorenzo’s 2018 lap record.
Nakagami, who is on the 2018-spec RC213V, finished only 0.21s behind Dovizioso with Pol Espargaro charging into fourth place on the Red Bull KTM on his final flying lap. The Spaniard is 0314s down on Quartararo in a field where one second covered the top 19 places.
Pecco Bagnaia found some pace on the soft tyre to finish in fifth place with Franco Morbidelli taking the second Petronas Yamaha into sixth and ahead of Valentino Rossi who reversed roles with Maverick Vinales in the second session.
Morbidelli was only 0.003s ahead of his mentor and great friend Rossi - sporting a new exhaust on his number two bike - but it is the satellite M1s that are again showing pace in free practice. Vinales had a nightmare, ending his run in 15th place and behind Jorge Lorenzo.
Danilo Petrucci also got himself out of the FP1 doldrums to finish in eighth with Marc Marquez in ninth. The reigning champion went out with softs all round in the early part of the session but when the rest of the pack switched to the sticky tyres, Marquez moved to his usual hard front, medium rear and relied on his FP1 time to keep him in the top ten.
Cal Crutchlow ended in tenth but more than three tenths down on team-mate Nakagami. Alex Rins suffered a tip-off early doors but then came back with some fast-laps to sit in second at the halfway point using mediums all round. He didn’t improve, though, and ended in 11th.
Karel Abraham got a tow from Petrucci to bring himself into the top ten with a few minutes left but he was nudged back to 12th. Johann Zarco was also a faller, losing the front at turn 14, and he fought his way up to 13th, ahead of Lorenzo and Vinales.
Joan Mir crashed twice and finished in 19th place, two behind Jack Miller who will not be happy about his FP2 pace.