Takaaki Nakagami led the way for LCR Honda in FP1 for the Valencia Grand Prix by just over a tenth ahead of Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbidelli.
The Japanese ace slowly worked his way up to speed across the opening segment of the session, running in the lower reaches of the top ten as several riders battled for the early benchmark time.
Pol Espargaro and Morbidelli enjoyed a spirited time attack contest over several laps, the two swapping the fastest tours several times before Morbidelli ultimately ended up quickest with a 1:30.944 as the pair backed off.
This time would remain untouched at the head of the standings for the majority of the session, until Nakagami elected to test his mettle just past the half-way mark.
He managed a time just 0.115 up on Morbidelli, an effort that was surprisingly not threatened across the remainder of FP1 as his fellow racers largely failed to improve their earlier gambits all that much.
Maverick Vinales found himself third as the session came to a close, Yamaha’s M1 machine seemingly happier with the drier start to the weekend relative to the first event at the Ricardo Tormo circuit last weekend.
Espargaro was shuffled back to fourth by close of play, the KTM racer just clear of brother Aleix on his Aprilia RS-GP.
Johann Zarco continued his strong run at the Spanish circuit with Avintia to take sixth overall in FP1, just ahead of the factory Ducati GP20 of Andrea Dovizioso.
Series leader Joan Mir-who only needs to score a rostrum result this weekend to secure a maiden premier class title-started off the Valencia GP in eighth ahead of Miguel Oliveira’s Tech 3 KTM, while Honda’s Stefan Bradl completed the top ten.
Alex Rins was 11th overall on the second Suzuki GSX-RR, while Fabio Quartararo continued to struggle for outright speed during the early part of the event down in 16th just behind Alex Marquez.
Brad Binder-who set the timing screens alight during the closing part of the European GP-struggled to 17th in FP1, although ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Francesco Bagnaia on their respective Ducati GP20’s run by the factory outfit and Pramac Racing.