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