MotoGP Valencia: Marini dominates Ducati top three in FP2

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Mooney VR46’s Luca Marini secured the Friday celebrations at Valencia after heading an all-Ducati top three in FP2.

Having repeatedly challenged throughout the 45-minute session, Marini’s 1’30.217 was enough to hold off Prima Pramac’s Jorge Martin and Ducati Lenovo’s Jack Miller as the opening day came to a close, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez recovering from an early off to spoil the Bologna party in fourth.

FP2 kicked off with Franky Morbidelli in the gravel after losing the Monster Energy Yamaha at turn two. Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins topping the early times thanks to a 1’31. 238 from Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo and Miller while Marquez crashed the Repsol out at the first corner.

Turn five claimed Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia with just ten minutes of the session dispatched as Quartararo refined the 1’31.1 target. Miller matching for second with just 0.055s splitting the pair until Marini arrived three-thousandths faster than his fellow Ducati and Rins completed the rapid top four, 0.034s back.

Miguel Oliveira continued his strong showing on the Red Bull KTM from fifth with Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro doing likewise 0.007s behind. Gresini’s Enea Bastianini completing the top seven a quarter of a second behind the reigning champion’s benchmark time at the halfway stage.

Martin joined the top five fight as the second half began. Cal Crutchlow suffering a turn two off on the WithU Yamaha as Quartararo improved the M1’s pace out front. Pecco Bagnaia continued to struggle on the Ducati Lenovo from 13th in the combined standings, Marini soaring on the GP22 for second.

The Italian was on a roll as the session counted down and he claimed control with a 1’31.110. Bagnaia finding his rhythm with a move to seventh as Martin split the different in third.

Morbidelli broke the late-session lull with a rise to second before Miller bettered outright setting a 1’30.608 to lead the way by over half a second. A regrouped Espargaro promoted the Aprilia into the runner-up position seconds later as Oliveira demoted him equally quickly. Marquez then Marini advancing the target further as the 1’30 barrier came into view.

The Ducati dominance continued as Martin, Bagnaia and Bastianini locked out the top four. Miller adding to the fun as he took his turn at third with Marquez behind while KTM duo Oliveira and Brad Binder entered the fray finding sixth and ninth respectively. A penultimate lap positioned Quartararo in the mix from seventh with Johann Zarco stealing the position from his countryman as the chequered flag dropped. Bagnaia completed the opening day just 0.005s adrift of his title-rival, with Binder securing the final provisional promotion place in tenth.

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