MotoGP Germany: Miller heads Ducati lock out for FP1

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Ducati Lenovo was firmly in control at the Sachsenring as Jack Miller led the way for MotoGP FP1 from teammate Pecco Bagnaia.

The Australian’s 1’21.479 best, set on his 11th of 22 laps around the German layout, held off the Italian by a mere 0.015s with Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo completing the top three a further 0.063s back from the number 63 after his own 25 revolutions.

Free practice action for the German GP fired up with local rider Stefan Bradl back in for ‘King of the Ring’ Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda for the foreseeable future. Championship leader Fabio Quartararo headed the initial times with a 1’23.654 from Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro before Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir and Monster Energy teammate Franky Morbidelli bettered.

Prima Pramac’s Johann Zarco led the way after three laps around the short 3.7km layout. Mir continuing to bicker with the factory Yamaha’s in the top four until Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia arrived to second. A pair of Aprilias and Jorge Martin, fresh from surgery, joined the fight next time around with Mir and Morbidelli continuing to improve.

Mooney VR46’s Luca Marini and LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami were the next to shine, in sixth and seventh respectively as the opening ten minutes counted down. Espargaro took charge with a 1’21.699 effort from Zarco, Bagnaia and KTM’s Brad Binder before the French and Japanese men bettered with the top three split by a mere 0.01s.

Quartararo circulated just 0.012s adrift of the top three after eight laps of action. Bagnaia, Maverick Viñales, Mir, Jack Miller, Marini and Morbidelli rounding out the top ten and covered by less then three-tenths.

A reinvigorated Miller took charge with half an hour to go, 1’21.479 the target to beat with Quartararo seven-hundredths adrift.

Andrea Dovizioso suffered a first corner crash on the WithU RNF Yamaha with 20 minutes left on the clock. Remy Gardner running the Tech3 KTM off at turn 10 with Pol Espargaro also claimed by turn one next time around having just promoted the Repsol into the top ten. Bagnaia advanced the Desmosedici into third, 0.116s off his teammate’s outright best as Alex Rins joined the turn one club having only passed fit for action on Thursday afternoon.

It was a Ducati lockout at the top of the times with 12 minutes to go as Bagnaia improved to within 0.015s of the Australian. The French duo neatly behind with Nakagami, Espargaro, Martin and Vinales completing the top eight as Pol headed back out on the second Repsol. The Spaniard suffering a viscous highside at turn one as he fired up his first hot lap and being collected by his machine in the gravel.

The final minutes found improvements for Marini, to seventh, as Dovizioso claimed eighth a quarter of a second adrift of the outright pace with Martin and Alex Marquez completing the top ten. Viñales, the fallen Espargaro and Mir circulated just adrift with Morbidelli and Binder finalising the top 15 ahead of the Gresini duo of Enea Bastianini and Fabio di Giannantonio.

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