World champion Fabio Quartararo overcame an early fall in the wet to clock the fastest time in Friday’s two practice sessions for this weekend’s Spanish MotoGP.
The Frenchman, who is tied at the top of the standings with Alex Rins after five races of the current season, came fifth in the first session after coming off his Yamaha but collected himself to put in the quickest lap of 1min 37.071sec.
That was just over two tenths of a second faster than the Ducatis of Enea Bastianini and Francesco Bagnaia.
Quartaro’s day began badly when he skidded on a wet spot on the track, caused by a storm the night before, that had not quite dried.
“I hope that if turn eight is not dry tomorrow, someone (from the organisation) will come and dry it because a trace of humidity in this place is very dangerous,” said Quartararo.
Live images at the time of the fall showed the Frenchman grimacing as he got back on his bike but he laughed off the pain.
“I feel a little stupid because there was nothing caused by the fall, but I hurt myself by hitting the petrol tank when getting back on the bike,” he said.
Quartararo, who won in Portimao last weekend, is under pressure in Jerez where the pace of the track appeared to suit the Ducatis.
“Everyone is very fast in Jerez and I have a knife to my throat every time I go out,” he said.
Jorge Martin, on another Ducati, was just under three tenths away in fourth with Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami the leading Honda in fifth.
Spaniard Marc Marquez, also on a Honda, had a less happy day. The six-time MotoGP champion slid off twice and needed a lift back to the pits from KTM test rider Dani Pedrosa, finishing back in 19th.