Ecstar Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone led Jack Miller in the opening MotoGP free practice at Valencia this morning, putting in a 1’31.045 with the soft rear Michelin to edge out the Australian with a couple of minutes left to run.
The Italian went 0.312s faster than the outgoing EG00 Marc VDS man but Miller used the medium rear for his run which culminated in a 1’31.485 on his 15th lap followed by a 1’31.357 before he lost the front carrying too much front brake into turn six.
As expected at the anti-clockwise circuit, Marc Marquez is the danger man, using the same soft front/medium rear combination for 23 laps, with a fastest of 1’31.511 for fifth place on his 16th lap but a total of 11 laps in the 1’31s bracket.
Title rival Andrea Dovizioso put in a soft/soft combination at the end of the session to set a 1’31.476 for fourth place but his pace on the medium with a sole 1’31.965 on his roster is some distance behind Marquez. Pol Espargaro also stuck in a soft rear to bag third on the sheet, putting in a 1’31.438 on the works KTM.
Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi had entirely different sessions on the Movistar Yamaha. Vinales started on a soft/soft combination of Michelins but couldn’t get under a 1’32. He switched to the medium rear for his last run and jumped into fifth with a 1’31.750, the first of three 1’31s laps.
Rossi ended in 18th place and almost 1.5s off the pace. The Doctor stuck to a soft/medium combination all session but the closest he got the fastest medium rear time - set by Miller - was a 1’32.623 on his 19th lap.
Johann Zarco, who stated he couldn’t see a reason why he couldn’t win this weekend, finished in seventh on the Monster Yamaha, using a medium rear to set his best of 1’31.808. Britain’s Cal Crutchlow finished in eighth, dropping under the 1’32 barrier with a 1’31.827 on a soft front/medium rear setup.
KTM test rider Mika Kallio shot into fourth place with six minutes left, using a soft rear to set a 1’31.879 but he slipped back to ninth with Dani Pedrosa - sticking to a soft/medium combo - ending in tenth on a 1’31.950.
Michele Pirro, wildcarding for Ducati this weekend, was 11th and in front of megabucks team-mate Jorge Lorenzo with a 1’31.979. Pirro led Lorenzo by 0.001s but the Spaniard used a medium rear for his fastest lap.
Danilo Petrucci, Alvaro Bautista and Tito Rabat completed the top 15 with Scott Redding 17th, Sam Lowes 22nd, Bradley Smith 23rd and Michael van der Mark in 25th, 3.476s off the pace.