MotoGP Valencia: Quartararo tops FP1, Bagnaia 17th

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo started 2022’s final MotoGP weekend from the strongest position possible after taking control of FP1 at Valencia.

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez claimed second from a late-charging Brad Binder on the Red Bull KTM RC16 with Ducati Lenovo’s Jack Miller fourth.

Friday practice kicked off with Marquez leading the way from teammate Pol Espargaro on 1’32.3 pace before defending champion Quartararo set the first 1’31 of the morning. The eight-time word champion quickly retaliated just 0.61s ahead of the Frenchman with Aprilia’s Maverick Viñales rising to match the pair, just a tenth adrift for third. The second RS-GP of Aleix Espargaro circulating narrowly behind his younger brother in the top five.

Prima Pramac’s Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin claimed fifth and sixth as the session continued with Alex Marquez looking for a strong farewell to LCR from seventh. Franky Morbidelli pushed the second Monster Energy Yamaha up to eighth from Gresini’s Enea Bastianini before Miller hit the top in second and Morbidelli improved to fourth.

Marquez suffered the first crash of the weekend with a turn two off on the RC213V. Title challenger Pecco Bagnaia circulating 17th on the Ducati just a tenth behind WithU Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow while Darryn Binder crashed the second RNF M1 out as the second half began.

Quartararo continued to fine-tune his pace as he took charge once again in the final quarter of an hour. Miller heading Zarco, Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira and Aleix Espargaro from third while Joan Mir began his farewell to Suzuki Ecstar from seventh.

A late shuffle to the end of the opening practice saw Raul Fernandez position the Tech3 KTM up to eighth with Martin taking fifth. Luca Marini adding to the final flurry as the Mooney VR46 machine took ninth to demote the rookie to the edge of the top ten.

A final push from Alex Rins saw the Suzuki rise to fourth before Binder bettered his 2023 teammate Miller for third. Mir completing the FP1 top ten with Bagnaia sitting a distant 17th.

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