Argentina MotoGP FP1 Results | Nakagami goes from COVID to top spot

Takaaki Nakagami makes the most of his belated addition to the Argentina MotoGP line-up to top the delayed and extended FP1 session at Termas de Rio Hondo

Takaaki Nakagami - LCR Honda

Takaaki Nakagami emerged as the surprise front runner from the delayed and extended first free practice session for the disrupted Argentina MotoGP at Termas de Rio Hondo.

The Japanese rider was expected to miss Round 3 of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship after his LCR Honda team announced 48 hours ago he’d contracted asymptomatic COVID.

However, after issues in getting the equipment for several teams from Kenya to Argentina forced organisers to cancel all track action on Friday, the delay to proceedings allowed Nakagami to rejoin the field as intended for this weekend’s first FP1 session on Saturday.

It was a second chance Nakagami grabbed with both hands in FP1 as he shot his LCR Honda RC213V to the top of the timesheets in a frantic end to the session, extended from 45mins to one hour to compensate for the cancellation of FP3 and FP4.

Indeed, with FP3 scrubbed, it means the top ten riders from the end of FP2 - taking place at 19:40BST - will instead go through to Q2 automatically.

With the weather staying warm and dry, it means lap times are destined to tumble further as they did in FP1, meaning Nakagami won’t necessarily be safe come FP2.

Regardless, his best time of 1m 39.028secs was just over a tenth quicker than long-time front runner Fabio Quartararo on the Yamaha, with the Espargaro brothers - led by Pol ahead of Aleix - filling third and fourth, the latter Aprilia rider proving especially impressive in all but the final sector.

The surprise performer of the session, however, was Marco Bezzecchi, the rookie - despite his VR46 Racing being one of the teams affected by the delayed freight - an excellent fifth and top Ducati in a session that saw not one of the GP22 bikes make it into the top ten.

Alex Rins led the Suzuki challenge in sixth, with Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder seventh and ninth for KTM, sandwiching the Aprilia of Maverick Vinales.

Joan Mir rounded out the top ten in the final automatic Q2 spot, nudging out championship leader Enea Bastianini and Pecco Bagnaia, the pre-season title favourite having another tough start to the weekend. Still, he fared better than his GP22 counterparts with Johann Zarco 15th, Jack Miller 17th and Jorge Martin in 20th.

Elsewhere, Remy Gardner was a creditable 13th best on the Tech 3 KTM and Darryn Binder was comfortably faster than his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, though with the RNF pair in 21st and 24th, plus Franco Morbidelli only 18th, it was a sobering start to the weekend for Yamaha.

2022 Argentina MotoGP | Termas de Rio Hondo | FP1 RESULTS | Round 3 / 21

2022 Argentina MotoGP | Termas de Rio Hondo | FP1 RESULTS | Round 3 / 21
PosRiderNat.MotoGP TeamMotoGP BikeTiming
1Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda Honda RC213V1m 39.028
2Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M11m 39.155
3Pol EspargaroESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 39.223
4Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia RS-GP1m 39.224
5Marco BezzecchiITAVR46 RacingDucati GP211m 39.230
6Alex RinsESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR1m 39.274
7Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM RacingKTM RC161m 39.318
8Maverick VinalesESPAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprila RS-GP1m 39.396
9Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM RacingKTM RC161m 39.425
10Joan MirESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR1m 39.427
11Enea BastianiniITAGresini RacingDucati GP211m 39.589
12Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP221m 39.622
13Remy GardnerAUSTech3 KTM RacingKTM RC161m 39.704
14Alex MarquezESPLCR Honda Honda RC213V1m 39.756
15Johann ZarcoFRAPramac RacingDucati GP221m 39.802
16Luca MariniITAVR46 RacingDucati GP211m 39.830
17Jack MillerAUSDucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP221m 39.899
18Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M11m 39.960
19Fabio di GiannantonioITAGresini RacingDucati GP211m 40.004
20Jorge MartinESPPramac RacingDucati GP221m 40.182
21Darryn BinderRSAWithU RNF Racing YamahaYamaha YZF-M11m 40.293
22Stefan BradlGERRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 40.346
23Raul FernandezESPTech3 KTM RacingKTM RC161m 40.474
24Andrea DoviziosoITAWithU RNF Racing YamahaYamaha YZF-M11m 40.721