Nicolas Terol laid down a marker for the Czech Republic Grand Prix weekend with a powerful display in first practice on Friday morning. The championship leader had a poor race by his very high standards at the Sachsenring but looked refreshed after the summer break, lapping over a second quicker than the rest of the field.
The initial pace had been set by Johann Zarco who bounced back straight away from the crushing disappointment of losing the win in Germany after the unforgettable dead heat finish. In the final two minutes, Terol put in a pair of laps to pull out a 1.5s lead over the Frenchman.
Alberto Moncayo was a surprise second for AndalucÃa Banca Civica with his teammate Miguel Oliveira also showing promising form to go fourth just behind Zarco. Maverick Vinales was next up in fifth as the rookie prepares to get to grips with another new circuit but he was immediately quicker than Hector Faubel, 11 years his senior and winner of the German Grand Prix last time out.
Efren Vazquez was seventh on the second Avant-AirAsia-Ajo Derbi although he could have been higher up but for a crash late on. Sergio Gadea was just behind in eighth while Danny Kent was the quickest of the British riders in ninth, all but matching the time of the experienced Spaniard just ahead of him. Kent will be the sole Red Bull Ajo Motorsport entrant this weekend with Jonas Folger being declared unfit to ride due to illness.
Danny Webb was 18th in first practice for Mahindra while Harry Stafford finished in 24th as he begins his challenge for those elusive world championship points. Taylor Mackenzie was only 28th with his session blighted by a fall.