Marco Bezzecchi led proceedings on Friday at Misano after smashing the two-wheeled lap record of Misano, while Marc Marquez scored a shock direct-Q2 graduation in sixth overall.
The riders came out swinging from the very outset of the session as times swiftly dropped below FP1 leader Michele Pirro’s benchmark of 1:32.018s, Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales posting a 1:31.794s effort to put his RS-GP on top.
Times continued to fall across the 60-minute outing with no less than three other riders taking turns at the top of the time sheets, though Vinales threw down a marker as the end of the session loomed with a stunning 1:30.972s, a new lap record which put him over four-tenths-of-a-second clear of the field.
Just as he looked like claiming Friday honours, Bezzecchi – who is riding with a fractured hand this weekend as a result of being involved in the Turn 1 crash at the start of last weekend’s Catalan Grand Prix – strung together a rapid gambit of his own to go fastest, his 1:30.846s moving him 0.116s clear of Vinales.
With late yellows – caused by crashes involving Raul Fernandez at Turn 14 as well as Pol and Aleix Espargaro both going down at Turn 15 – costing several pilots two bites of the cherry to improve their fastest times, Bezzecchi thus held on to top Friday ahead of Vinales, the only two riders that lapped underneath the 1:31 bracket.
Dani Pedrosa enjoyed a strong day for KTM in his second wildcard appearance of the year as he ended up third overall and just over two-tenths from the top, the Spaniard heading Ducati men Jorge Martin and VR46’s Luca Marini.
Marc Marquez utilised a handy tow from ex-Honda team-mate Pedrosa to bang in a time good enough for sixth as the session came to a close, securing him a guaranteed pole shootout berth in the process, while Francesco Bagnaia was seventh as he continued to ride through the pain barrier following his nasty Catalan crash.
Alex Marquez was eighth for Gresini Ducati ahead of Brad Binder’s KTM, while RNF Aprilia’s Raul Fernandez continued his strong FP1 form to secure his first ever Q2 appearance with tenth overall, Fernandez lapping just 0.024s faster than GasGas’ Pol.
Catalan GP winner Aleix meanwhile could manage only 12th as a result of his late crash, though he still remained clear of Yamaha duo Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli, who were 13th and 14th respectively.
Stefan Bradl did well to end the day 15th overall on his Honda ahead of Pirro and Jack Miller – the Aussie only 17th despite being less than a second from Bezzecchi’s benchmark.
Miguel Oliveira struggled to match sophomore team-mate Fernandez’s speed down in 22nd just behind the second factory Honda of Joan Mir, while Alex Rins’ LCR Honda replacement Takumi Takahashi continued to learn the RC213V at the foot of the times – the Japanese rider running just over five seconds slower than Bezzecchi.