Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Iannone topped the opening MotoGP free practice session at Motorland Aragon this morning, fending off a late charge from Aleix Espargaro to lead by two-tenths of a second.
The Italian, who was back-to-back testing the new GP14.2 and GP14, used the medium tyre to set a 1’48.995 on his 18th lap to depose world champion-elect Marc Marquez by three tenths but Espargaro looked strong enough to take top spot.
The Forward Yamaha man, on the soft tyre, set fastest times in the middle two sectors but lost it in the last to end in second on a 1’49.185, pushing Marquez back to third by a tenth and Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo to fourth and half a second off the pace.
It wasn’t all good news for Ducati however, as Hector Barbera’s brand new Open class Avintia GP14 burst into flames on his seventh lap and the Spaniard was forced to run off track and dump the bike in the gravel as marshals decorated it with extinguisher foam. His team now have a big job ahead of them as they only have one bike this weekend.
Dani Pedrosa made his usual slow start, finishing the session in fifth place and seven-tenths off the pace but one place ahead of Misano winner Valentino Rossi who is almost a second slower than countryman Iannone.
Andrea Dovizioso, on the works Ducati, was seventh, while Pol Espargaro, Stefan Bradl and Britain’s Bradley Smith completed the top ten. Cal Crutchlow ended in 12th place and 1.3s off the pace with Scott Redding in 16th, suffering with a lack of top end on Aragon’s long straight (see below).
Nicky Hayden ended in 19th place in his first ride back in two months while Michael Laverty, fresh from celebrating his Le Mans 24-Hour podium, finished the session in 22nd.
Top speed comparison
6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 338.8
29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Pramac Racing DUCATI 336.1
19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini HONDA 333.1
26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 332.3
8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Racing DUCATI 332.2
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 331.7
38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 331.3
44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 330.9
46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 330.8
99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 330.8
35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Ducati Team DUCATI 330.7
93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 330.5
68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Energy T.I. Pramac Racing DUCATI 329.7
15 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM NGM Forward Racing FORWARD YAMAHA 326.0
41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA NGM Forward Racing FORWARD YAMAHA 324.7
7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Drive M7 Aspar HONDA 324.0
17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing HONDA 317.8
69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Drive M7 Aspar HONDA 315.9
70 Michael LAVERTY GBR Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 315.7
45 Scott REDDING GBR GO&FUN Honda Gresini HONDA 315.3
63 Mike DI MEGLIO FRA Avintia Racing AVINTIA 311.9
9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Octo IodaRacing Team ART 311.2
23 Broc PARKES AUS Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 307.5