MotoGP series leader Marc Marquez has topped the opening free practice session at Motorland Aragon, using Michelin’s hard rear tyre on his final run to set a 1’48.830 and enjoyed a 0.783s advantage until the closing minutes when title rival Valentino closed to gap to 0.186s with his last lap, also on the hard rear.
Marquez switched from the medium to the hard with just under 20 minutes left while Movistar Yamaha’s Rossi left it a little while longer before he switched and put in a 1’49.016 on his last lap to depose Maverick Vinales, who had jumped into second place on a 1’49.178 with his penultimate effort.
Andrea Dovizioso, who the leading two riders have tipped to win on Sunday, had set the second-best time with his 14th lap - a 1’49.178 that matched Vinales - but he slipped back to fourth as the Spaniard’s next-best lap was fractionally quicker.
Jorge Lorenzo, who remained on the medium rear for the whole session and didn’t stick in a fresh tyre for his final effort, ended in fifth place on a 1’49.573, one ahead of the in-pain Andrea Iannone who will decide whether to continue with the weekend’s action after lunch.
Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci ended in seventh, one ahead of Aleix Espargaro, himself one place ahead of brother Pol Espargaro who slipped back from a mid-session top-three spot. Britain’s Cal Crutchlow, who is again using the evolution chassis, completed the top ten 1.163s off the pace.
Dani Pedrosa finished one place behind the LCR Honda man with Scott Redding in 12th and Stefan Bradl 13th. Eugene Laverty ended in 16th place, one ahead of Alex Lowes. Yonny Hernandez suffered an early crash and finished 19th with the returning Nicky Hayden in 20th.
Marquez and the smoking Aragon boot