Dani Pedrosa set the pace on a drying track as mixed weather conditions overshadowed the opening day of practice at the Aragon Grand Prix. The Spaniard, who struggled desperately for tyre temperature in the wet at Misano and finished a lowly fourteenth, put those struggles behind him, finishing as the only rider under the two-minute barrier.
Much of the focus on day one centred around the returning Valentino Rossi who was riding MotoGP machinery for the first time since breaking his leg just three weeks ago. The Italian eased his way back in during FP1, completing just eight laps, before improving later in the afternoon and although he could only manage twentieth, the Yamaha rider did climb as high as second at one stage.
The closing minutes of second practice resembled a qualifying session as the track dried out and Pedrosa ultimately set the pace, improving to a 1:59.858 to edge out Jorge Lorenzo. The Ducati rider finished a strong second, backing up the impressive pace he had shown in the wet at Misano prior to crashing, while Johann Zarco pipped Marc Marquez to third after the championship leader chose not to chase a fast time in the latter stages.
Karel Abraham took an excellent fifth ahead of Cal Crutchlow and the similarly impressive Sam Lowes while Andrea Dovizioso ended the day in eighth, fractionally faster than the Espargaro brothers, led by Aleix on the second Aprilia.
With conditions likely to be better in Saturday morning though, FP3 is likely to be the sole session that decides the automatic qualifiers for Q2, news that will please Maverick Vinales who lacked pace throughout the day.
2017 Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon – Friday Practice
[table id=2508 /]