Mugello MotoGP: Vinales heads Zarco in first practice

Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales led opening practice for the Italian Grand Prix on MotoGP’s return to Mugello for the first time in two years.

Mugello MotoGP: Vinales heads Zarco in first practice
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MotoGP had to cancel its visit to Mugello in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with continued restrictions forcing the 2021 Italian GP to be held behind closed doors for the first time.

A frequent visitor to Mugello in his role as Ducati test rider, Michele Pirro set the early pace on the Pramac Ducati as he steps in to replace the injured Jorge Martin.

Pirro’s initial effort of 1m49.103s was immediately bettered by himself to a 1m48.459s, before the Italian dipped underneath the 1m48s barrier to a 1m47.945s.

A few moments later, championship leader Fabio Quartararo took over top spot on his factory Yamaha with a 1m47.566s, though was soon deposed by teammate Vinales.

Vinales – who became a father for the first time ahead of the Italian GP – improved his benchmark to a 1m47.130s with just over 15 minutes of the session gone.

This stood as the time to beat until the closing five minutes, when Suzuki’s Alex Rins edged ahead with a 1m47.085s having gone out on a fresh medium rear for a time attack.

Rins improved on his following tour to a 1m46.952s, though it would be Vinales on a set of fresh mediums at the death who would see out the session fastest after firing in a late 1m46.593s.

A late improvement for Pramac’s Johann Zarco on the Ducati lifted him up to second, 0.209 seconds behind Vinales, while Rins completed the top three.

Reigning world champion Joan Mir backed up Suzuki’s solid start to the Italian GP in fourth on his GSX-RR ahead of Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbidelli on his ‘A-spec’ Yamaha.

Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia was sixth ahead of Pirro and Quartararo, with French GP winner Jack Miller on the sister factory team Ducati and KTM’s Miguel Oliveira rounding out the top 10.

Honda’s Marc Marquez made a steady start to his Italian GP weekend as he battles pain in his right shoulder, revealing on Thursday at Mugello that he had considered pausing his comeback after the Spanish GP.

Marquez was 1.6s off the pace in 16th ahead of home hero Valentino Rossi on the second SRT M1 as he begins a “very important” phase in the season in deciding his MotoGP future.

FP1 results:

Cla # Rider Bike Time Gap
1 12 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'46.593  
2 5 France Johann Zarco Ducati 1'46.802 0.209
3 42 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 1'46.952 0.359
4 36 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 1'47.176 0.583
5 21 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'47.184 0.591
6 63 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'47.186 0.593
7 51 Italy Michele Pirro Honda 1'47.555 0.962
8 20 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'47.566 0.973
9 43 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 1'47.716 1.123
10 88 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'47.748 1.155
11 30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'47.791 1.198
12 44 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 1'47.870 1.277
13 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'47.992 1.399
14 33 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 1'48.049 1.456
15 10 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 1'48.128 1.535
16 93 Spain Marc Marquez Honda 1'48.277 1.684
17 46 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'48.302 1.709
18 9 Italy Danilo Petrucci KTM 1'48.319 1.726
19 73 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 1'48.375 1.782
20 32 Italy Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1'48.734 2.141
21 23 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'48.967 2.374
22 27 Spain Iker Lecuona KTM 1'48.997 2.404
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