Ducati Lenovo’s Pecco Bagnaia bagged the fastest ever MotoGP lap at the Sachsenring on Friday with a 1’20.018.
The Italian headed an impressive showing by the Borgo Panigale factory with five of the top six on Ducati machinery as Mooney VR46’s Luca Marini and Jack Miller completed the fastest three.
With track temperatures 15℃ higher for the afternoon action, Aprilia headed the initial times as the pack fired up. Maverick Viñales led Aleix Espargaro with a 1’22.2 before KTM’s Miguel Oliveira hit the first 1’21 of FP2 followed by a flurry of riders, with only the Pramac’s of Jorge Martin and Johan Zarco bettering the Portuguese man.
Oliveira struck back next time around to regain control with a 1’21.166 before the purple bikes were back, this time the Frenchman leading his younger cohort. Espargaro setting the first 1’20 of the weekend with his fourth attempt to reign the times overall.
Ten minutes dispatched and all but seven riders had already improved on their FP1 pace. Fabio Quartararo on the edge of promotion and narrowly behind his Monster Energy teammate Franky Morbidelli before the pair switched positions, with Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir the first adrift in 11th.
Bagnaia slotted the Ducati into second with a 1’20.843, his soon-to-depart colleague Miller circulating sixth as Quartararo improved to seventh. Mooney’s Marini held eighth with Gresini rookie Fabio di Giannantonio continuing to gel with his GP21 from ninth.
Enea Bastianini was having a more challenging weekend on the second Gresini, running 16th in the combined times and through the gravel at turn one after 15 minutes on track.
Viñales pushed the RS-GP to third at the halfway stage, less than three-tenths off his teammate’s target and on the bubble of 1’21 pace. Morbidelli dumped out of Q2 contention in the process with ‘Diggia’ now the gateway to promotion with a 1’21.4.
WithU Yamaha’s Darryn Binder disrupted Bagnaia’s flow at turn 11 as the South African circulated in 17th. Bastianini entering the top ten as the second half began with Alex Rins putting in a heroic effort to claim third with a 1’21.025 with a fractured left wrist at the demanding anti-clockwise circuit. Mir joined his teammate for a Suzuki three-four with twelve minutes left to run, the move demoting Quartararo out of the top ten with Bastianini and Miller next in line and half a second covering the fastest riders.
Bradl trailed Bagnaia’s Ducati as he promoted the Repsol into Q2 contention, in tenth, before the pack hit the pits. Miller firing up for the first of the time attacks on his way to a 1’20.211 with six minutes to go.
Quartararo headed a train of four riders as the hot laps wound up, Diggia striking to third with Takaaki Nakagami finding sixth before Martin and Mir bettered the rookie in the top five.
It was a Ducati one-two in the penultimate minute as Bagnaia set a new all-time lap record with a 1’20.132. The Italian improving next time around but 0.018s painfully short of the first 1’19 lap. Marini blitzing his VR46 machine to split the factory pair in second with Espargaro heading the Pramacs of Zarco and Martin at a circuit traditionally unfavourable for the Bologna brand.
Quartararo met the flag with Friday’s seventh fastest time, Vinales, di Giannantonio and Mir completing the top ten from a determined Rins.