Sandro Cortese - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

Sandro Cortese - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

 

Sandro Cortese set the pace in opening practice for the Valencian Grand Prix but the damp conditions caused problems for everyone, with the German himself crashing out late on.

Cortese enters this weekend as the form rider with 45 points from the last two races and figured near the top of the timesheets throughout, despite the rapidly improving conditions. The Intact-Racing rider clocked a 1:56.928 with six minutes remaining to move in front of Marcel Schrotter but ended the session in ignominious fashion with a fall at turn one.

It nearly cost him top spot with Johann Zarco getting to within two thousandths of a second of him on his final lap. Adrian Martin was third fastest while Efren Vazquez jumped up to fourth in the dying seconds on the second Avant-AirAsia-Ajo Derbi.

Despite leading the session early on, Schrotter dropped back to fifth after crashing his Mahindra, finishing marginally ahead of the Red Bull Ajo Aprilias, Jonas Folger and Danny Kent in sixth and seventh respectively.

Malaysian GP winner Maverick Vinales was eighth fastest while Danny Webb completed a strong morning for Mahindra in ninth, just in front of championship leader Nicolas Terol. With many riders crashing around him, Terol was happy simply to get through the session unscathed with 11th place his target for the weekend.

Harry Stafford made a competitive start on the wet track, finishing 14th while John McPhee also gave reason for encouragement, ending the morning in 24th. Taylor Mackenzie was outside the 107% cut-off time in 33rd but that owed largely to a crash at turn one 12 minutes from the end. The Scottish youngster was unhurt.