Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo survived a weird near-crash at the fast Curvone area of Misano to finish the opening MotoGP free practice this morning in top spot with a four-tenth advantage over reigning champion Marc Marquez.
Quartararo topped a recent test here and continued that form, setting a 1’33.153 using medium Michelins all round just before his moment at one of fastest corners on the whole MotoGP calendar.
As the Frenchman got into the middle of Curvone, he hit a small dip in the track at more than 250km/h which caused his right foot to come off the footpeg and he slipped off the side of his satellite YZR-M1 but managed to hang on.
Marquez put his Repsol Honda in second place with a 1’33.529 - also with mediums all round - with 20 minutes of the session gone and it was good enough for him to finish just ahead of Maverick Vinales.
The Spaniard didn’t use any of the parts tested at Misano two weeks ago but he still managed to bag third place with a 1’33.599 on the Monster Yamaha.
Ducati test rider Michele Pirro switched to the soft tyres early in the weekend and set a 1’33.704 for fourth place made him easily the fastest of the Desmosedici runners.
Aleix Espargaro, also on a soft rear, shot up the order with less than ten minutes left and settled into fifth place on the works Aprilia, and one ahead of brother Pol on the factory KTM - the pair split by a quarter of a second.
Franco Morbidelli took the second Petronas M1 to seventh place ahead of Danilo Petrucci on the factory GP19. Petrucci was a tenth slower than his compatriot, setting a 1’34.149 but 0.033s ahead of old friend Valentino Rossi.
The Doctor, who is in front of his home crowd this weekend, employed polar opposite tactics to Vinales and equipped his M1 with new exhaust, swingarm and front-brake aero thing but ended a second off the pace.
Tito Rabat was in the thick of it, posting the tenth-quickest time but went down late on trying to avoid a dawdling Jorge Lorenzo.
Andrea Dovizioso, also a hometown hero this weekend, finished in 11th with Alex Rins’ Suzuki in 12th. Pecco Bagnaia, Joan Mir and Jack Miller - who crashed with a minute left - completed the top 15.
Cal Crutchlow was 1.359s off the pace in 16th with still-injured Miguel Oliveira in 20th while Lorenzo was 21st with only Karel Abraham and Hafizh Syahrin behind him.