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MotoGP Jerez: Marquez heads Vinales in first session

Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez drew first blood in the opening free practice session of the season at Jerez, taking top spot on the timesheets but he was chased hard by both Maverick Vinales and the jobless Cal Crutchlow.

Marquez set a 1’37.350 to claim bragging rights in the scorching Spanish sun and it was Crutchlow who posed the threat late on, riding with close friend Jack Miller to go second on a 1’37.438. Vinales, though, was having none of it and banged in a 1’37.374 to depose the LCR Honda man.

With the entire field covered by just 1.3s and the top 19 by one second, Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso took fourth place with his final lap, finishing 0.121s behind old rival Marquez.


Suzuki’s Joan Mir was as high as third in the final quarter but slid back to fifth, one ahead of Miller himself a session leader early doors. The Pramac Ducati man set a 1’37.487 to end 0.137 off the pace.

Alex Rins, on the second Suzuki, jumped from the bottom third of the table into seventh place, one ahead of Pol Espargaro on the works KTM. Iker Lecuona took his satellite Tech3 KTM from almost dead last to ninth place with Brad Binder completing an RC-16 trio and the top ten.

Johann Zarco finished in 11th on the Reale Avintia Ducati with Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi trailing him. Taka Nakagami took his RC213V to 14th, one ahead of Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia.

Fabio Quartararo missed the first 20 minutes of the session due to a farcical stewards punishment and he finished in 17th, one behind Alex Marquez who followed brother Marc around to set a 1’38.212.

Bradley Smith, in his first race back as a full-time MotoGP rider, was 22nd.

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