The attention may have been on the trio of latest specification Ducati GP19s coming into the Italian MotoGP weekend but it was the 2018-spec Ducati GP18 of Francesco Bagnaia claiming bragging rights on Friday in Mugello after topping FP2.

The Italian, in his first season of MotoGP with the Pramac Racing team, upset the establishment – including his well-fancied Ducati stablemates – to power to the head of the timesheets in the closing stages of FP2, his soft-rear shod machine stopping the clock at 1m 46.732s.

The confidence boost, which puts him on course for a direct route to Q2 on Saturday, comes as the reigning Moto2 Champion looks to recover from two back-to-back DNFs in Spain and France.

Revealing he has been energised by the chance to compete in front of his home fans on a Ducati for the first time, he says the Friday performance show his results coming into Mugello aren’t indicative of his pace.

“[I’m happy to be] Riding here at Mugello and being so fast from the first session, because already this morning I was fast but with used tyres… so I'm happy with the work of today. The time attack was very positive and I was very fast, but also my pace with the medium tyre has been very strong.

“I think that it will be very important to be in Qualifying 2 directly [after FP3] and tomorrow morning for sure I will do another time attack to try to confirm a place in Q2. All the energy of the fans here in Mugello pushes us a lot and I will try to make better than the top ten in Jerez qualifying.

“I'm very happy because the last two races have been very difficult. I was fast in my pace and in the sessions but unfortunately we don't finish the races.”

 

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