Marc Marquez set the pace in both practice sessions as Friday signaled the start of the GP Aperol di San Marino e Riviera di Rimini weekend at Misano. The Repsol Honda Team rider narrowly edged out teammate Dani Pedrosa, while Valentino Rossi ended the day quicker than Jorge Lorenzo as both ran seamless transmission of the first time.
Already the championship leader heading to Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Marquez has started as he means to continue by locking out both sessions. The margin was narrow, though, with Pedrosa moving to within 33 thousandths at the end of the day having previously overcome problems as his bike suffered vibrations. In third place, Rossi was ahead of Lorenzo, but Misano marks a critical race for all at Yamaha Factory Racing as it finally puts its seamless transmission system into practice.
Standout performance of the day went to Aleix Espargaro, as the Catalan rider hauled his CRT-specification ART machine into the top five for Power Electronics Aspar. This remarkable effort, only half a second off the top spot, demoted GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista to sixth place ahead of Ignite Pramac Racing’s Michele Pirro and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso. Stefan Bradl was ninth for LCR Honda MotoGP, but suffered a Turn 6 crash during the afternoon session.
It was a tough day for Monster Yamaha Tech3, with Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith off the pace in both sessions. The former finished tenth, one second down on Marquez, while his teammate was 14th fastest and experience at crash on entry to the first corner, Variante del Parco. A total of six Italians are competing this weekend, including Andrea Iannone (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing), Danilo Petrucci (Came IodaRacing Project) and Claudio Corti (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) who ended proceedings in respective 11th, 13th and 15th positions.