MotoGP Misano: Bastianini beats factory Ducatis in FP2

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Gresini’s Enea Bastianini proved he was the right choice for 2023 after topping the times, and the factory Ducati’s, in FP2 at Misano.

A frantic final seconds saw Ducati dominate the times as Bastianini headed the Lenovo pairing of Pecco Bagnaia and Jack Miller with Prima Pramac’s Johann Zarco recovering to fourth.

Friday afternoon had found Zarco on the floor at the first corner as the action began. The Frenchman running sixth in the initial times as Mooney VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi took charge of the session on 1’32.759 pace. The Italian’s third lap was enough to move him to seventh in the combed standings, Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira the next of the top ten to improve on his FP1 efforts as he trailed the Ducati by 0.042s.

Quartararo advanced the overall benchmark with a 1’32.264 on his fourth revolution of FP2, Bagnaia slotting into second, by 0.063s, as the pace picked up before sliding out at turn 13 two laps later.

Oliveira continued to improve as he sat third after 15 minutes on track, a tenth off the reigning champion. Bezzecchi enjoying his time at home from fourth before Miller bettered by 0.068s.

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro took charge overall with a 1’32.177 as teammate Maverick Viñales struck for fifth. Ducati locking out sixth to ninth with Miller, Bezzecchi, Bastianini and wildcard Michele Pirro as Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins completed the top ten at the halfway stage.

Viñales improved to trail his current and former teammates in the top three with his ninth lap of the afternoon before a red sector effort demoted the Yamaha for an Aprilia one-two.

Rins suffered a turn 15 crash from the gateway to promotion with 20 minutes left on the clock. Viñales topping the times with a 1’32.111 before setting the first 1’31 of the weekend next time around.

Pramac’s Jorge Martin and Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro were in the danger zone as the final 15 minutes fired up. Miller launched the GP22 to split the Aprilias from second with Gresini’s Bastianini advancing to fifth until Quartararo demoted the Australian with his 16th lap and a 1’32.009.

The Yamaha was in his groove on a near silent track as the session counted down, however. A 1’31.878 taking command by just four-thousandths of a second as the clock hit ten to go.

The final action found Oliveira off the RC-16 at turn ten as the time attacks prepared. Bagnaia returning to fifth with his 11th attempt before the real shots were fired. The Italian was briefly in control before countryman Bastianini instantly bettered with a 1’31.517. Zarco completing an all-Ducati top three moments later from Quartararo and the Aprilias of Viñales and Espargaro.

Miller enjoyed a late hot-lap to complete a factory set in third as he demoted the Frenchman to fourth. Martin, Bezzecchi and a vastly improved Franky Morbidelli concluding the top ten on the Monster Energy Yamaha for the provisional Q2 places.

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