Ducati starts off on the right foot and sees 5 top-10 riders in Aragon

Historically, Aragão is a track that fits well with Honda, but this Friday (10), it was Ducati that started with an advantage. In addition to setting the fastest time in MotorLand with Jack Miller, the Bologna house saw four other drivers secure their place in the list of the best – the exception being Luca Marini, who finished the day 16th, 0s843 behind the leader.

After a morning led by Marc Márquez, times dropped in the afternoon, and Miller secured the best mark by spiking 1min47s613. Coming from a podium at the GP of Great Britain, Aleix Espargaró put Aprilia in second place ahead of Cal Crutchlow, who surprised as the best Yamaha by taking third place.

Jack Miller left the first day in Spain satisfied (Photo: Publicity/MotoGP)

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0s375 slower than Miller, Johann Zarco got fourth time, 0s035 ahead of Jorge Martín. Francesco Bagnaia was sixth, escorted by Fabio Quartararo, the leader of the World Cup. Marc Márquez, who took a tumble in the afternoon, finished eighth, with Takaaki Nakagami and Enea Bastianini finishing off the list of the fastest ten.

Owner of the fastest time, Miller was satisfied, but also surprised, as he expected the track to be in worse conditions, especially given last night’s rain.

“This is definitely the best way to start the weekend. It’s a result that inspires confidence,” said Jack. “We found the track in good condition right from the start. To be honest, I was surprised as it rained last night and there was dust on the track. I expected the asphalt to be much more slippery, but the track was fast and the grip allowed us to push straight away”, he continued.

Aleix Espargaró achieved the second best time in the sixth (Photo: Publicity/MotoGP)

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Jack admitted that Ducati missed the TL2 trying to improve the GP21, but managed to get back on track.

“This morning I managed to get a good rhythm on the used tyres, but I wasn’t satisfied with that this afternoon. At TL2, we tried a few things that might have taken us in the wrong direction, but when we got back to the morning set, I found my rhythm again,” he reported. “There are still some areas we can work on, but overall we are doing well. Now the goal is to continue being fast”, he underlined.

“There are a lot of competitive drivers here in Aragon, so it will be important to improve consistently to be among the protagonists of Sunday’s race,” he added.

Rocked after giving Aprilia their first podium at Silverstone, Aleix Espargaró was happy with today’s result, but he is still not satisfied with the feeling he had at the RS-GP.

“I’m extremely satisfied with today’s results, both in terms of attack time and the work we did with the used tires with the race in mind,” said Aleix. “To be honest, I still don’t have the perfect feeling. I can be fast, but in terms of feeling, I think I still have room for improvement”, he pointed out.

“This morning, the grip on the asphalt was very poor, but it gradually improved. Thinking about Sunday, when higher temperatures are expected, we will clearly have to work well in choosing the tires and setting them up”, he warned.

Cal Crutchlow was the best Yamaha of the day (Photo: Yamaha)

Temporary replacement for Maverick Viñales in the factory team – while Franco Morbidelli does not return after surgery on his left knee – Cal Crutchlow has celebrated a chance to push the YZR-M1 to the limit.

“I wasn’t surprised by the return I made after that first sector. I knew the first sector was good, so I knew I’d be fine with the rest of the lap,” reported Cal. “The first sector is not always my best and I took it easy as I was a little scared by the cold front tire in turn 2. But then I was fine,” I continued.

“It was good to do that lap. I didn’t push it and did a ride like that all year long, so it was worth trying to do one. And I did it”, he commented. “We had a good day today. It’s good to be able to stay at the top of the table, but I don’t care about position. Of course, we want to be fast, but it’s more a matter of giving information about how I feel with the bike. Tried some new things today. As a test pilot, that’s my job. It was good to be fast and push the bike to my limit”, he added.

After traveling 950 km between France and Aragon aboard a 40-year-old motorcycle, Johann Zarco took advantage of the qualities of the Desmosedici to secure the fourth fastest time, 0s375 behind Jack.

“I’m happy with today and I found the right feeling. At TL2, I managed to make a quick lap and I hope to continue on that path for tomorrow”, he stressed.

Companion of the Frenchman, Jorge Martín was much less economical with words and admitted that he was surprised by the performance of the Ducati.

Johann Zarco was also at the top of the table (Photo: Pramac)

“I expected this circuit to be good for Ducati, but it’s not the best,” said Martín. “Seeing my feelings and following Fabio on the track, I saw that there are better circuits for the characteristics of our bike, but there are four at the front, which is a good indication”, he continued.

MotoGP newcomer Jorge commented that he likes to compete for position with Ducati’s colleagues, but acknowledged that there are easier things in MotoGP.

“It motivates me to fight against my brand colleagues, even though it is more difficult to fight an official Ducati than a Suzuki, for example”, he indicated.

The youngest of the Pramac drivers commented that he still has a lot of room for improvement and, therefore, he sees himself with good chances in the classification, especially if he manages to advance straight to the final phase of the training that defines the starting grid.

“After TL1, I didn’t see myself as competitive, but with the medium tire in the afternoon, I was able to take a giant step. Taking into account that we are there in terms of the fast lap and that the bike and I have a lot of margin, I think that if we go straight to Q2, we will have pole option and I hope to take advantage of it”, he cheered.

0s419 slower than his teammate, Bagnaia considered that Ducati did a good job, especially considering that the team always had difficulties in MotorLand.

Jorge Martín celebrated a chance to fight with brand colleagues (Photo: Pramac)

“I am happy with the result obtained on this first day at MotorLand de Aragon. Last year, we Ducati riders had a lot of difficulties at this track, but today we were able to be fast from the start, which shows that we did a great job with the Desmosedici GP”, pondered Pecco. “We already have a good base set up and, in today’s two sessions, we tried different tires, except for the hard front, and we managed to be competitive with all of them. I’m satisfied with the good work we’ve done on this first day and I’m confident that we can do well in tomorrow’s classification too”, he pointed out.

World Cup leader Quartararo went to Aragão worried, but he did not leave his first day there disappointed.

“It was a great day. It wasn’t until it was time to take the fast turn that I found a lot of traffic and I couldn’t make the turn, but it still wasn’t so bad,” said Fabio. “It was less than 0s5 from Jack before traffic, so I’m really happy because I know the potential is there,” he said.

Friday, however, was not without problems, as the Nice pilot was stung by a bee that invaded his helmet during TL2.

“A bee got into my helmet and at that moment it was hurting a lot, but it’s okay and overall I’m really happy as the first outing this afternoon was really good. On the second one, we wanted to try something, but it wasn’t good, so I get the first feeling, with a high pace of 1min48s”, he explained. “The fourth sector is one of the worst on the calendar, but I’m ready for anything. Tomorrow we will have some good ideas to improve there”, he warned.

Fabio Quartararo had problems with a bee this Friday (Photo: Yamaha)

Owner of five victories at the Alcañiz circuit, Marc Márquez started the day on the right foot, but stumbled with a fall in the afternoon. Still, he was in eighth, 0s435 behind the pointer.

“We had a perfect plan: a new tire for the TL1 and then work for the race on the TL2, but with the crash, we changed our plan a little bit,” said Márquez. “It gave us a chance to try hard ass, so it didn’t really impact our weekend. Of course, I was frustrated when I fell, as I was feeling that everything was under control. Yes, I was behind Alex, in vacuum and braking a little later, but I knew I was too fast and I tried to open up the trajectory, but then I hit a dirty part of the track and fell. That’s why I was frustrated with the fall”, he detailed.

“I only pushed a few laps today to save energy, but when we pushed the race pace, the lap time was coming,” he concluded.

The start of the MotoGP Aragon GP is scheduled for 9am (GMT) on Sunday (12). O BIG PRIZE follows all the activities of the World Motorcycle 2021.

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