MotoGP: Pol Espargaro Tops Factory Boys At Misano

Espargaro sets the fastest time on day one at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli

Pol Espargaro 2016
Pol Espargaro catches the factory guys sleeping and takes the top spot in MotoGP on the first day of practice at Misano.Photo Courtesy of MotoGP

Pol Espargaro rebounded from his crash at the British Grand Prix to lead the way on day one at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider is still a bit sore from the incident at the start of the MotoGP race at Silverstone, but there is no better pain medicine than topping the factory boys.

“I had some pain in my right leg because the crash is quite recent, and although we've done a lot of physio it still isn't perfect,” Espargaro said. “But it's not been important, because on the bike you forget about pain – especially when you're enjoying riding.”

It was a big boost for Espargaro who felt quite at home on his Yamaha M1 at Misano. “Today was an important day for us, for the team and for me, and it feels great. Also you can say it's a bit strange, because I'm not used to being up in these positions in MotoGP. The bike is working really well and I feel comfortable in general with how it's going, and also with the Michelin tires here at this race. I have so much rear grip and the front tire lets me brake very late – which favors my riding style. This helped me to enjoy my time on the bike a lot, in both the morning and in the afternoon when it was warmer – conditions that normally see us struggle a bit more.”

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was also quite comfortable at Misano, a feeling that has been absent for the Spaniard most of the season.

"Good start today, but I think the positive part was that the conditions on the track were good from the beginning,” Pedrosa explained. “The temperature, and the fact that the track was quite clean and grippy. We had chance to try the new tires, and do some work on the bike and the rhythm. We still need to work more for tomorrow and I think it's a positive start but we need to stay focused again."

Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso was not far behind in third and the last rider to drop into the 1:32s. The Ducati factory squad is a bit banged up at the moment with Dovizioso not a hundred percent after hurting his knee at a private test before Silverstone and his teammate Andrea Iannone out of action in the second session after a fast low side in FP1. Iannone will be further evaluated tomorrow morning as to whether he will be fit to return to action.

Dani Pedrosa 2016
After struggling in practice for most of the season, Dani Pedrosa found his groove early on at Misano.Photo Courtesy of MotoGP

All in all though, the Ducatis have a lot of time at the Misano circuit and Dovizioso was quite pleased with his first day.

“The day went well,” Dovizioso said. “I'm happy because the feelings are good and the speed is there. It is important to start on a high, so now we have to work towards the race and fine-tune some details. We need to work in this direction and see how we do tomorrow. I have quite a bit of pain, but fortunately on the bike it’s not so bad. It’s worse when I walk."

Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo also showed great pace, but was bumped out of the top spot in the final moments of the session. Even so, the defending MotoGP Champion was happy to be comfortable once again with his setup and able to maintain a constant pace.

The other man on the Repsol Honda – Marc Marquez – also had an FP1 crash, but fortunately for the series-points leader, he did not suffer the same consequences as Iannone. In the end, Marquez finished the day fifth ahead of Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi.

While Marquez wasn’t too worried about his position because he expected to struggle, Rossi was not so content to be struggling at his home race. The Italian felt he had his work cut out for him this weekend as he led the morning session, but was struggling in the warmer conditions in the afternoon.

In seventh was LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, followed by fellow Brit Scott Redding on the Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati. Rounding out the top 10 was Avintia Ducati’s Hector Barbera and last weekend’s race winner Maverick Vinales on the Team Suzuki Ecstar machine.

Andrea Dovizioso 2016
Although Andrea Dovizioso is not a hundred percent with a knee injury, the Italian is on point at his home track.Photo Courtesy of MotoGP

2016 MotoGP Misano Day One Combined Results:
1. Pol Espargaro (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:32.769
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda 1:32.834
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati 1:32.901
4. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha 1:33.056
5. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda 1:33.196
6. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha 1:33.387
7. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) LCR Honda 1:33.500
8. Scott Redding (GBR) Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 1:33.552
9. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Ducati 1:33.581
10. Maverick Vinales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:33.629
11. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:33.643
12. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 1:33.803
13. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia 1:33.846
14. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati 1:33.885
15. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia 1:34.126
16. Jack Miller (AUS) Marc VDS Honda 1:34.143
17. Alex Lowes (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:34.154
18. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar Ducati 1:34.457
19. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati 1:34.699
20. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Aspar Honda 1:34.719
21. Tito Rabat (SPA) EG 0.0 Marc VDS 1:34.725
22. Xavi Fores (SPA) Avintia Ducati 1:36.046