Marquez lays down the marker in Mugello FP1

Marc Marquez is quick out of the box at Mugello as heads off Danilo Petrucci and Michele Pirro in FP1 for the Italian MotoGP
Marquez lays down the marker in Mugello FP1

Italian MotoGP at Mugello - Free Practice Results (1)

Marc Marquez started his Italian MotoGP as he means to go on with a rapid turn in first free practice at Mugello, the Repsol Honda rider heading off Ducati pair Danilo Petrucci and Michele Pirro.

The MotoGP series leader, chasing his first Italian MotoGP win since 2014, turned in a benchmark of 1m 47.558secs within the first 15mins of the session, which would hold firm until the chequered flag.

Putting him two-tenths clear of top Ducati rider Petrucci, the Italian was an encouraging second quickest on the GP19. His wild-card team-mate Pirro followed up in second place, the manufacturer’s test rider – who conducts much of the firm’s testing at Mugello and was brandishing carbon-fibre aero covers on the rear wheel for the first time – inevitably up to speed quickly in third.

A late improvement saw Fabio Quartararo lead the Yamaha challenge as the only M1 rider in the top ten in fourth position on the satellite Petronas bike, just 0.001secs fastest than Aleix Espargaro, who was an encouraging fifth best for the home Aprilia team despite his RS-GP. However, his session ended early after the bike cried enough on the long home straight when shifting into sixth with 15mins remaining.

Jack Miller was sixth best on the Pramac Ducati, ahead of LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami, a fine seventh on the 2018 specification Honda and ahead of team-mate Cal Crutchlow in ninth place.

They sandwiched Pol Espargaro, who picked up from where he left off from Le Mans with the eighth best time. His top time was in stark contrast to that of his KTM counterparts who languished down in 20th, 22nd and 23rd in the order of Johann Zarco, Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira respectively.

Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the top ten, just ahead of top Suzuki Alex Rins and home hero Valentino Rossi.