Looking to put himself in contention for a factory Ducati seat, Johann Zarco made a blistering start to FP1 as he set an early time of 1:22.081s - five tenths quicker than MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo

Zarco then lowered his own benchmark time down to a 1:21.791s, while Suzuki’s Joan Mir, who enjoyed a much-needed return to form in Catalunya, jumped up to second. 

Hoping to put the demons of his home race behind him (the Aprilia rider cost himself P2 by misjudging how many laps were left), Aleix Espargaro began the German MotoGP weekend in fine form as he soon replaced Zarco at the top. 

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With Sachsenring being one of the shortest circuits on the calendar, lap times were demonstrating just that as Zarco, who moved back ahead of Espargaro, Takaaki Nakagami and Quartararo were separated by +0.022s. 

For Nakagami, the opening stages of FP1 were very impressive as the LCR Honda rider was making his return to action following a brutal crash in Catalunya just two weeks ago.

As Jack Miller went quickest by nearly two tenths from Zarco, it was another gentle reminder that Ducati, who have previously struggled at Sachsenring, could be a force come Sunday’s race.

While Miller’s pace was strong, there was a big scare for the Australian on the exit of turn three as he momentarily lost the rear. Luckily for Miller he was able to avoid a possible highside.  

An eventful few minutes then began for Yamaha as Quartararo split the leading Ducatis to go second, however, there was no such luck for Andrea Dovizioso as he crashed at turn one. 

Making it back-to-back to crashes at turn one, Pol Espargaro lost the front-end of his RC213V after getting crossed up under braking.

That wasn’t it as Rins also crashed on the very next lap, again at turn one which was proving extremely difficult to navigate. 

As Bagnaia made it a factory Ducati 1-2 behind Miller, turn one nearly claimed a fourth crasher, however, A. Espargaro managed to remain aboard his RS-GP22 despite running through the gravel. 

Espargaro crashes again in German MotoGP FP1

After already crashing once at turn one, P. Espargaro then fell victim to another big crash at the same corner.

After losing the front of his Repsol Honda, Espargaro’s second fall involved losing the rear mid-corner, thus leading to a nasty highside that left the former KTM rider in visible discomfort. 

With riders electing not to set a time-attack, Miller remained in charge ahead of Bagnaia and championship leader Quartararo.