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Ducati MotoGP riders set the early pace in Misano

It was a Ducati day at Misano

Misano, September 8: Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo made it a 1-2 for the Ducati Team on Day 1 at the practice session of the San Marino GP at the Marco Simoncelli World Circuit as the duo were split by just 0.160 at the top.

Reigning FIM MotoGP World Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) completed the top five despite leading till halfway, but the number 93 was consistent and the race could well be a battle between the two factions.

But that's for Sunday, and Friday was dominated more by time-attacks for many - with rain threatening the day, more threatening FP3 on Saturday and that all-important place in the top ten up for grabs on Day 1.

Local hero

Local hero

The dash to make it into that top ten almost made for the headline that never was, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) a last push away from finding himself outside the top ten by the close of action on Friday.

The Italian left it late to lunge up to P8 overall in a tense race against time but the rain held off and the local hero makes it through.

Closest challenger

Closest challenger

Dovizioso and Lorenzo's closest challenger on the combined timesheets, however, was Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), who, by extension, also ended Friday as top Honda and top Independent Team rider at the venue.

He was a tiny margin behind Lorenzo, just 0.027s, but the gap behind him was an even more incredible 0.026 as Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took P4 and edged Marquez by the end of play.

Further off

Further off

Marquez, meanwhile, was a little further off the Ducatis. The number 93 was just over a tenth behind his compatriot, but he did have a comfortable 0.185 back to Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) in sixth - and his rhythm looked impressive.

Behind 'Petrux' was Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in P7 just half a tenth further back, with Rossi ultimately taking eighth late in the day but only 0.011 off the Spanish sophomore's best lap of the day.

Home heroes

Home heroes

Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completed a top ten rife with home heroes, although the day came to a more difficult end for 'Maniac' Iannone.

Crashing out right near the conclusion of FP2, the Italian was the only man in the top ten by virtue of his FP1 time.

So who could be missing from Q2 if the weather changes on Saturday? Former winner at the venue Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) was one key name just pushed out, along with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing). Miller was a two-time crasher on Day 1, and will be hoping for good weather on Saturday.

Qualifying starts from 2.10pm local time while the race will be held on Sunday at 2pm local time (5.30pm IST)

(With inputs from Dorna Sports)

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    Story first published: Saturday, September 8, 2018, 13:34 [IST]
    Other articles published on Sep 8, 2018
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