A dominant Takaaki Nakagami has ended the first day of free practice action for the Teruel MotoGP atop the timesheets, but if anything it was five Ducatis filling the bottom five positions that arguably grabs the attention on another dismal day for the Italian firm.

Setting himself up nicely as a candidate to become the ninth different race winner this season, Nakagami - second quickest this morning - was fastest almost throughout the session, leading the way even before the ‘time attacks’ of the final few minutes before firing in 1m 47.931secs lap, which alone would have been fast enough to end FP2 on top.

Nonetheless, Nakagami - fresh from the confirmation he will be upgraded to spec-machinery in 2021 - stretched the initiative with a 1m 47.782secs lap to ensure Honda led each Friday session after Alex Marquez went quickest this morning.

 

 

That was enough to put the Japanese two tenths clear of Maverick Vinales, whose final effort would deny LCR an eye-catching 1-2 result, Cal Crutchlow instead settling for third.

Though a relatively muted Friday than we’ve become accustomed to from Fabio Quartararo, the Frenchman was still well placed in fourth position, ahead of his big title rival Joan Mir in fifth place.

Despite fluffing his final lap, Marquez was still comfortably in the mix in sixth place, ahead of Alex Rins in seventh and - in a twist - Iker Lecuona in eighth, the Tech 3 Racing rider powering up the leaderboard against the odds to bring some happiness to KTM on an RC16 bike that doesn’t appear to be gelling with the Aragon circuit.

Aleix Espargaro was ninth on the Aprilia, with his brother Pol Espargaro sneaking the final provisional Q2 spot in 10th position to double up KTM’s presence.

Indeed, though the later start time and warmer temperatures than last week means there is still much to play for in FP3 tomorrow, there is less of a guarantee times will be faster, giving FP2 greater significance for those bidding to get into Q2 directly.

With this in mind, Ducati will be burning the midnight oil after suffering desperate performance, seemingly not aided by the pick up in winds, a notorious enemy of the Desmosedici package in that it creates problems shifting the direction of the bike.

Even so, it will be bewildered to find five of its six riders filling 17th right down to 21st position, not least because the only rider to look moderately useful in 13th position was Johann Zarco on the year-old Avintia bike.

In the order of Danilo Petrucci, Jack Miller, Andrea Dovizioso, Pecco Bagnaia - who crashed at Turn 1 late on - and Tito Rabat, the result is a particular gripe for title contender Dovizioso who again looks to be facing a task to qualify anywhere near his rivals. As it stands, he needs to find 0.8s just to match Espargaro in tenth and this is before you consider gains from other riders around him.

Ahead of him but still with work to do for FP3 are are race winners Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder and Franco Morbidelli in 12th, 14th and 15th respectively.

 

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