Petrucci pips Marquez after opening day in Jerez

by Ryan Lilly

After the opening day of action at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, it was Italian Danilo Petrucci who topped the timesheets after his 1:37.909s put the Mission Winnow Ducati rider at the top of the timesheets. This came, despite a late scare after running off the track at turn 5 in an attempt to avoid the fallen Karel Abraham and Bradley Smith.

Marc Marquez ended the day in second, courtesy of the time that left the seven-time champion at the top of the standings after Free Practice 1. Despite his effort the Spaniard ended just 0.012s behind Petrucci, whilst championship leader Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the top three.

Jorge Lorenzo returns home on his birthday weekend, hoping to kick start his 2019 season after three difficult rounds onboard the Repsol Honda. Lorenzo ended day one in fourth, courtesy of his Free Practice 1 time, +0.124s behind the leading Italian.

Completing the top five was LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow who, much like Lorenzo, aims to bounce back from the disappointment at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) last time out. The fastest Yamaha was Maverick Vinales, in sixth, who finished just 0.008s behind the Brit.

After topping the pre-season test at Jerez in November, Takaaki Nakagami finished ninth with top rookie being Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, who ended the day in tenth.

Fabio Quartararo braking hard into turn 1 (Credit MotoGP.com)

HRC Wildcard rider, Stefan Bradl, rounded out the top nine whilst Jack Miller completed the top ten, and the current candidates for Q2. Just missing out on that window was Franco Morbidelli and winner last time out Alex Rins who ended eleventh and twelfth respectively.

Pramac rookie Francesco Bagnaia finished day one in thirteenth, only +0.684s behind the leading Ducati of Danilo Petrucci. After a good weekend onboard the KTM in COTA, Pol Espargaro finished the day in fourteenth, ahead of the two Italian’s of Andrea Iannone and Valentino Rossi who, uncharacteristically, found himself in sixteenth but only +0.203s outside the top ten.

The second Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro rounded out the second page of results in seventeenth position +0.040s behind ‘The Doctor’.

Completing the standings after day one was Joan Mir in eighteenth, who took a fall in the final few minutes of Free Practice Two after missing his braking point into the difficult uphill turn one. Johann ZarcoTito Rabat and Bradley Smith completed the top twentyone despite his heavy highside that brought out a red flag with two minutes left of the second session.

Wildcard Bradley Smith on board the Aprilia during Practice at Jerez (Motogp.com)

Abraham, who was also involved in the turn five mayhem finished twenty-second, with the Tech 3 KTM duo rounding out the field in twenty-thrid and twenty-fourth position.

With the weather looking good for the second day of action, it’s all to play for in Free Practice Three that starts on Saturday at 08:55 am (GMT) with qualifying kicking off with Q1 at 13:10 pm before the lights go out on Sunday at 13:00 pm for the fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship.

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