MotoGP: Marquez masters drenched Valencia

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MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez has mastered the Ricardo Tormo Circuit on the opening day of action for this weekend’s Valencian Grand Prix, topping free practice one in sodden conditions and staying top of the time sheets throughout the day as heavy rain continued to fall. Ending the day 0.1 clear, he lines up on the provisional front row ahead of Pramac Ducati rain experts Jack Miller and Danilo Petrucci.

Just like FP1, the FP2 session was red-flagged in the early stages due to unsafe track conditions. This came after debris was left on circuit after Johann crashed at turn 12, but the Frenchman was ok and returned to the pits. A short delay followed before the riders headed back out, but with the rain heavier than it was in FP1, none of the riders were able to improve on their morning times and the top three – and ten – were decided for the day.

This left Marquez ending Friday as the quickest rider, with second for the 2018 world champion in the second session to cap off a good day, and Miller second despite finishing 13th in FP2. Petrucci topped FP1 by a significant margin – 0.407 was the gap back to Marquez – with Valentino Rossi the only other rider within a second of the Ducati rider in the second session. It was 12th overall for Rossi, however. Andrea Dovizioso sits fourth overall and the Italian was 12th in FP2, with Dani Pedrosa completing the top five on day one despite conditions that have often been more difficult for the newly-inducted Legend this season.

Andrea Iannone – fourth in FP2 – ends sixth on the combined times, with Maverick Viñales ending the day as the fastest Yamaha rider in seventh overall. Wildcard and Ducati test rider Michele Pirro sits eighth overall thanks to his FP1 time, a strong showing for the Italian, as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro grabs a provisional Q2 spot by ending Friday in ninth

A sixth in FP2 – along with teammate Bradley Smith’s eighth – caps off a good day for the Austrian manufacturer in the wet conditions. Alex Rins rounds out the top ten, but just 0.002 ahead of compatriot Aleix Espargaro in 11th.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer