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Vinales sets early pace in San Marino practice

Yamaha duo Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo dominated Friday’s first practice for the San Marino MotoGP to suggest the Japanese team had resolved the set-up issues that hindered their performance in the last two races.

Quartararo holds a slender three point lead in the riders standings going into this sixth leg of the coronavirus-disrupted season.

The Frenchman, who won the first two races, finished the session over half a second down on Vinales who posted a time of 1min 32.198sec to better his pole-claiming lap at the circuit in 2019.

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro came third on the timesheets at Misano ahead of Johann Zarco on the Ducati-Avintia bike.

Next season the rider, widely condemned for a rash move at the heart of a terrifying 300kmh pile-up in last month’s Austrian Grand Prix, moves to Ducati’s factory team to take the place of the departing Andrea Dovizioso.

Six-time champion Marc Marquez remains sidelined as he recovers from a broken arm suffered in the opening race.

San Marino MotoGP first free practice times

1. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha) 1.32:198, 2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha) at 0.550sec, 3. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 0.791, 4. Johann Zarco (FRA/Ducati-Avintia) 0.993, 5. Bradley Smith (GBR/Aprilia) 1.046, 6. Joan Mir (ESP/Suzuki) 1.299, 7. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati-Pramac) 1.304, 8. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Honda-LCR) 1.340, 9. Pol Espargaro (ESP/KTM) 1.371, 10. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN/Honda-LCR) 1.456

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