European MotoGP: Miller stays on top in FP2 on drying track

Pramac’s Jack Miller led a drying FP2 for the MotoGP European Grand Prix by 0.092 seconds from the Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro.

European MotoGP: Miller stays on top in FP2 on drying track
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Most of the field headed out of slicks at the start of FP2 as a drying line had started to appear, which meant lap times tumbled in the early stages.

Suzuki’s Joan Mir and the championship leader set the early pace with a 1m41.581s and traded top spot with Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci, before Pol Espargaro went fastest on the KTM with a 1m37.284s.

FP1 pacesetter Miller moved clear 10 minutes in with a 1m37.029s on his Pramac Ducati having almost come to blows with Maverick Vinales at Turn 8.

Miller’s lap would be bettered by sole Tech 3 rider this weekend Miguel Oliveira with a 1m35.754s, though the Australian quickly re-assumed control with a 1m34.613s.

Lap times continued to improve, with Francesco Bagnaia on the sister Pramac GP20, Oliveira, Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Pol Espargaro taking turns at the top of the standings.

The latter’s late time attack effort of a 1m32.952s stood as the benchmark for the final nine minutes, but came under threat in the closing moments as the field placed their bids for a provisional Q2 place with wet weather on the forecast for Saturday morning.

Franco Morbidelli beat this on his final lap with a 1m32.804s on his Petronas SRT Yamaha, though he was immediately beaten by Miller, who fired in a 1m32.528s to end the day fastest of all.

Aprilia’s Espargaro jumped up to second to push Morbidelli down to the third at the chequered flag, but remains the leading title contender on Friday.

Takaaki Nakagami was fourth on the LCR Honda, with Pol Espargaro shuffled back to sixth ahead of Rins and KTM’s Brad Binder – who will have to serve a long lap penalty on Sunday for his collision with Miller at Aragon last month.

Andrea Dovizioso was eighth on the factory Ducati, ahead of Fabio Quartararo, the SRT rider making a marked improvement from the morning when he was stone last.

Championship leader Joan Mir held onto the final provisional Q2 place on his Suzuki after improving to 10th late on with a 1m33.405s, though it came at the expense of Maverick Vinales.

It was confirmed during the session that Vinales will have to start Sunday’s race from pitlane as Yamaha has had to exceed his engine allocation to fit a sixth unit.

A late crash for Danilo Petrucci left the Ducati rider in 18th, with his efforts to run from the Turn 14 gravel trap back to his garage in the closing stages all for nothing as Ducati didn’t have his second bike prepared.

He headed Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha stand-in Garrett Gerloff, who was running as high as fifth at one stage before being shuffled back to 19th – albeit ending up just 1.5s off the pace. 

FP2 results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap
1 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 1'32.528  
2 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'32.620 0.092
3 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'32.804 0.276
4 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'32.866 0.338
5 Spain Pol Espargaro KTM 1'32.952 0.424
6 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 1'33.157 0.629
7 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 1'33.259 0.731
8 Italy Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'33.292 0.764
9 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'33.337 0.809
10 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 1'33.405 0.877
11 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'33.410 0.882
12 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'33.045 0.517
13 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'33.483 0.955
14 Germany Stefan Bradl Honda 1'33.504 0.976
15 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'33.515 0.987
16 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 1'33.570 1.042
17 France Johann Zarco Ducati 1'33.739 1.211
18 Italy Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'33.775 1.247
19 United States Garrett Gerloff Yamaha 1'34.107 1.579
20 Italy Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1'35.661 3.133
21 Spain Tito Rabat Ducati 1'36.690 4.162
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