2020 Czech Republic MotoGP – Free Practice Results (1)

Takaaki Nakagami picked up where he left off from Jerez to open up top for Honda in first free practice for the 2020 Czech Republic MotoGP in Brno, ahead of Joan Mir and Pol Espargaro.

On a weekend Honda has been compromised somewhat by the absence of its champion Marc Marquez and injury recovery for Cal Crutchlow, Nakagami said on Thursday he feels some pressure to deliver for the manufacturer despite his 2019-spec RC213V.

Nevertheless, the weight of expectation didn’t show as he powered to the head of the leaderboard in the final minutes of the weekend’s first practice session, the Japanese achieving the top time despite failing to go quickest in any of the four sectors.

His efforts were enough to edge out Joan Mir, who will be satisfied to put some Brno demons to rest a year after an accident during testing resulted in him sustaining back injuries and left with a bike that somersaulted so far debris was being found in the surrounding trees.

Pol Espargaro led the timesheets for the majority of the session on the KTM before being bumped down to third in the closing stages, ahead of Johann Zarco who emerged as the unexpected top Ducati rider aboard his Avintia Racing machine in fourth.

Maverick Vinales endured a temperamental start to the weekend after a crash at the top of the session on entry to the penultimate Turn 13, the Spaniard’s bike clouting the barrier for good measure. Nonetheless, he returned to track to turn in the fifth best time as the top Yamaha representative.

Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci followed up for Ducati in sixth and seventh positions, ahead of Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli on their respective Yamahas, with Nakagami’s LCR Honda team-mate Cal Crutchlow rounding out the top ten.

Elsewhere, Aleix Espargaro was the top Aprilia rider in 11th, ahead of Alex Rins, who revealed earlier this week he will need to ride with some caution over concerns another crash could cause more serious damage to his injured shoulder.

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo maintained a low profile on the Petronas SRT Yamaha en route to 13th, while Pramac Racing had a tough start to the day as Jack Miller ran off at Turn 13 and Pecco Bagnaia crashed at Turn 1.

Further back, Repsol Honda – without Marc Marquez this weekend – opened up with 18th for Alex Marquez and deputy Stefan Bradl in 22nd and last.

 

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