Rins unleashes devastating pace to top FP1 at the Catalunya MotoGP

Looking to bounce back after consecutive DNF's in Le Mans and Mugello, Alex Rins was in fine form as he dominated the opening practice for the Catalan MotoGP. 
Alex Rins, Suzuki MotoGP Catalunya
Alex Rins, Suzuki MotoGP Catalunya

FP1 got underway with Suzuki showing much improved form compared to Mugello as Joan Mir led proceedings. 

Mir was then replaced at the front by an in-form Aleix Espargaro, however, the home favourite soon lost out to a name who has been a long, long way away so far this season. 

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That man was Monster Energy Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli who set a 1:40.695s - +0.013s clear of Espargaro. 

The Italian’s time was unable to be beaten for some time, as reigning world champion and team-mate Fabio Quartararo could only manage eighth after the first run.

Fresh off a new two-year deal with Yamaha, Quartararo is a firm favourite to challenge for victory after taking two podiums from the last three races in Catalunya, including a win in 2020. 

Looking to carry on his decent showing at Mugello, Miguel Oliveira popped himself into the top five before making a mistake at turn 10. 

With Takaaki Nakagami right behind him on circuit - the Japanese rider was two spots higher up on the leaderboard - the KTM rider out-braked himself going into the left-hander before running off-track. 

New Honda chassis, swingarm goes in Nakagami’s favour

In a surprising twist, Marc Marquez’s new chassis and swingarm aren’t going the way of factory team-mate Pol Espargaro this weekend, instead Nakagami has been given the latest upgrades.

Takaaki Nakagami, Italian MotoGP, 28 May
Takaaki Nakagami, Italian MotoGP, 28 May

In regards to Marquez, Honda announced shortly before FP1 that the eight-time world champion has undergone a successful fourth right arm operation.

Expected to be strong, Ducati, who have won five of the first eight races in 2022, were unable to challenge the top times for most of the session. 

With just over 15 minutes to go Enea Bastianini was the quickest Ducati rider in ninth position. 

Fighting for his future at Honda, Espargaro made it two Honda’s inside the top five by going third overall. 

Although he was one of the riders that set the most number of laps in FP1, winner in Mugello Francesco Bagnaia was finding it difficult to improve his pace. 

The factory Ducati rider spent most of FP1 in 12th place - four tenths down on Morbidelli’s fastest effort. 

Jorge Martin’s struggles in 2022 continued with a late fall at turn two - the first rider to crash in this session. 

Jorge Martin, Catalunya MotoGP, 3 June
Jorge Martin, Catalunya MotoGP, 3 June

Alex Rins unleashes devastating pace to claim top spot in Catalunya MotoGP FP1

After fitting new mediums (front and rear), Rins stole top spot away from Morbidelli thanks to a time of 1:40.631s.

Not content with taking over at the front, Rins then set a stunning time of 1:40.101s in order to go half a second faster than anyone.

Vinales jumped up to second late on and in the process slashed Rins’ lead from half a second to two tenths, however, no rider could get near the Spaniard.

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