MotoGP Jerez Test: Nakagami heads Thursday action

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Idemitsu LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami headed the opening day of 2022 MotoGP testing at Jerez Circuit - Angel Nieto.

A bright but blustery Jerez circuit greeted MotoGP as the first day of pre-season testing action got underway on Thursday. New teams and rookie riders graced the Andalucian track as 2022 was prepared. Gresini Racing showcased an all-black livery for Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio, Bastianini already impressing as he swapped 2019 for 2021 machinery and ran at the top of the times from midday.

WithU RNF Yamaha also saw Andrea Dovizioso depart the two-year-old Yamaha in favour of a more up-to-date M1, with Darryn Binder joining him in the new slimline team. While VR46 Racing presented its MotoGP line up in the form of Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi.

Tech3 KTM rookies, Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez began their second day of testing in the premier class after a brief first touch at Misano back in September while elsewhere, 2022 parts, chassis and engine refinements were rolled out.

Idemitsu LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami spent the majority of the day at the top of the times thanks to an early set 1’37.713 before refining his control in the late afternoon with 1’37.313 pace. The Japanese rider seen running a more compact 2022 Honda while Marc Marquez was still absent due to his post-concussion complications.

Pramac’s Johann Zarco headed a trio of Ducati’s from second, 0.043s behind the Honda, Bastianini and Pecco Bagnaia narrowly behind as the quartet were covered by just one-tenth as the session concluded.

Maverick Viñales continued his Aprilia education from fifth with Suzuki’s Alex Rins heading the factory bikes of Franky Morbidelli, Jack Miller and Fabio Quartararo. The Italian suffered a turn 13 crash on the Monster Energy M1 but his recovering leg was seemingly unhurt.

The highest placed KTM went to Brad Binder, in 10th, with Marini kicking off VR46’s first outing as a fully fledged premier class team in 11th having been the first rider out on track as the day fired up.

Pramac’s Jorge Martin, Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro and Joan Mir on the second Suzuki completed the top 14 with Aleix Espargaro circulating one place behind, despite a turn three crash ending his day after 45 laps mid-afternoon and briefly bringing out the red flags.

Alex Marquez, Miguel Oliveira, Dovizioso and Fernandez headed the first pair of test riders, Mika Kallio and Sylvain Guintoli. Di Giannantonio sat 22nd from Lorenzo Savadori and Gardner - the Moto2 Champion running tentatively while still suffering with his broken ribs throughout the day. Bezzecchi, Takuya Tsuda and Binder completed the times, with Stefan Bradl and Dani Pedrosa not in action on Thursday.

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