Takaaki Nakagami has opened up top as the 2020 MotoGP World Championship kicked off its penultimate round of the season in Valencia.

On the weekend Joan Mir can wrap up the 2020 MotoGP world title provided he can secure a podium finish on Sunday, the first practice session of the weekend would see only a single second covering 19 of the 21 riders.

At the top of the pile was Nakagami, the LCR Honda rider showing strongly as he has often done on the second outing of a back-to-back race weekend. The Japanese rider stopped the clock at 1m 30.829secs, which is already more than 1.7s clear of last weekend’s fastest rider Jack Miller, albeit on the only dry timed session of the weekend.

Franco Morbidelli was second quickest aboard the Petronas SRT Yamaha, followed up by fellow M1 rider and another of the six title contenders Maverick Vinales in third position, the Spaniard completing his best lap at the final time of asking.

The brothers Espargaro filled positions four and five in the order of Pol for KTM over Aleix for Aprilia, while Johann Zarco was the best of the Ducati contingent in sixth position aboard the Avintia machine.

Fresh from the announcement he will take a step away from MotoGP in 2021 in favour of a sabbatical, Andrea Dovizioso prepared for his penultimate event for the foreseeable future with a run to seventh best, just ahead of Mir, the Suzuki rider getting the first session of what could be a momentous season out of the way cleanly.

Miguel Oliveira and Stefan Bradl rounded out the top ten positions, the latter now having been confirmed to see out the year with Repsol Honda in Marc Marquez’s sustained absence.

Meanwhile, Fabio Quartararo and Alex Rins - Mir's closest, albeit still fairly distant - title rivals could only manage 16th and 11th respectively

The FP1 session was down one rider after Iker Lecuona was only given a belated green light to compete this weekend after having to self-isolate due to a COVID-19 scare. He will return to the fray for FP3 on Saturday.