Pol Espargaro set a scorching pace on Friday afternoon as MotoGP’s unpredictable run of races shows signs of continuing at Misano. After seeing seven different riders win the last seven races, Espargaro led a top three comprised of riders who are all still chasing their first win of 2016 with the championship frontrunners close behind.
The winners club of 2016 includes Andrea Iannone but the Ducati rider’s participation at Misano is in serious doubt after a crash during first practice. The Italian crashed at the high-speed turn 13, sliding across the gravel, and was diagnosed with a fracture of the T3 vertebra. Initially, Iannone was declared unfit, bringing his weekend to a premature end, but circuit doctors will reassess him in the morning to determine whether he can continue in FP3.
The afternoon started in warmer conditions than the morning but it was the temperature inside Valentino Rossi’s crash helmet that was climbing. The home favourite appeared to be baulked by Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro on a flying lap and the Yamaha rider reacted furiously, gesturing his displeasure at the Spaniard while he cruised down the pitlane.
The younger Espargaro didn’t put a single wheel wrong though and clocked a 1:32.769 to lead the way overnight with Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso joining him in the 1:32s to complete the top three. Jorge Lorenzo showed ominous race pace over longer runs before setting the fourth fastest time while Marc Marquez recovered from a minor spill in FP1 to take fifth, just ahead of Rossi.
British duo Cal Crutchlow and Scott Redding were seventh and eighth respectively ahead of Avintia’s Hector Barbera while Silverstone winner Maverick Vinales rounded out the top ten, fractionally faster than his teammate.
2016 GP TIM Di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini (Friday Classification)
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