The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™, a crossroads in one of the most evenly matched seasons in recent years, is under way. The fans who turned up this Friday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya despite the early morning drizzle were keen to see how the season unravels here. Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) clocked the quickest time of all 23 riders fighting in the premier class, on 1m 45.875s.
The incumbent world champion was trailed by Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda, + 0.326s), Andrea Doviziso (Ducati Team, +0.626s), and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), 4th fastest. The list of local riders included Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP™, 6th), and Álvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team, 8th).
The moist track was largely uninhabited during the first part of the session, as many riders chose to wait for the track to dry up. Some had been here earlier in the private tests, and had already lapped on the new layout. In the final 15 minutes, a number of riders came out of their garages on slicks.
Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), though, revealed he lack of familiarity with the new layout, as he took the chicane as if he were on the F1 layout, deserving a black flag for that mistake.
Level playing field in Moto2™
Miguel Oliveira dominated the first Moto2™ free practice session. The Red Bull KTM Ajo Portuguese rider stopped the clock on 1:50.165, pipping Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, +0.160s) and Italian Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS, +0.386s) to the top of the standings late in the session.
With as many as 11 riders finishing within a second of the pole time, a fierce battle is expected in the intermediate-class of grand prix racing. Two of the contenders will no doubt be local riders Álex Márquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS, 5th on 1:50.790), and compatriot Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), 6th.
Romano Fenati sets the pace in the Moto3™ series
Italian Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) secured the top of the FP1 standings on 2m 06.206s on wet tarmac, as the smaller cylinder series took to the track early in the morning, after a brief shower was over. Championship leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) was the first Spaniard in the standings, tailing Fenati by 0.367 seconds. Marco Bezzecchi (CIP) shot into a surprise third place for Mahindra (+0.376s).