Qualifying Results follow.
Maverick Vinales took provisional pole after beating Tito Rabat's incrementally quicker laps twenty-two minutes in. Johann Zarco put in a closing lap that was just over a tenth off Vinales's fast lap and two thousandths off Rabat's best time from yesterday.
John McPhee is to remain with the Saxoprint RTG team for another season in Moto3. The Racing Steps Foundation, which supports young British talent, issued the following press release on McPhee's contract:
McPHEE TO STICK WITH SAXOPRINT-RTG AND HONDA FOR 2015 MOTO3 SEASON
RSF reaches agreement for Brit to complete a third season in the 250cc lightweight class
The Racing Steps Foundation has reached agreement at Motorland Aragon today (Saturday) for its Moto3 rider John McPhee (Oban, Argyll, Scotland) to continue with the Honda-powered SaxoPrint-RTG squad in the World Championship next year.
It will be McPhee's third full season in the class with the team.
The Brit - who has secured five top 10 places with the German outfit in the 250cc lightweight class so far this year - has been tasked with delivering regular podium finishes in 2015.
The 20 years-old Racing Steps Foundation protégé said: "I'm delighted to be continuing with the team and Honda next year thanks to continued backing and support from the Foundation.
Marc Marquez sits in provisional pole as the factory Yamahas find grip hard to find. Andrea Dovizioso was fourth quickest, but his time from yesterday on a soft tyre guaranteed him second place in the second qualifying session. Andrea Iannone continues his recent qualifying form, quickest in the kilometre straight sector again, with the second fastest time of the day, third overall.
Pol Espagaro was quickest Yamaha by far, as Jorge Lorenzo struggled in eigth place and Valentino Rossi missed out on automatically qualifying for the final qualifying session.
Juanfran Guevara set the fastest ever lap around Aragon on a Moto3 bike, with a record of 1'57.930, seven tenths quicker than Alex Rins, Alex Marquez and Jack Miller.
2014 Aragon MotoGP Friday Round Up - Honda vs Yamaha Explained, The Slimmer GP14.2, And Hayden's First Day Back On The Bike
Is the Motorland Aragon circuit a Honda track or a Yamaha track? On the evidence of Friday, it is first and foremost a Marc Marquez track. The reigning world champion may not have topped the timesheets – the two de facto factory Ducati riders, Andreas Dovizioso and Iannone did that – but he set a scorching race pace that only his Repsol Honda teammate could get close to, though Dani Pedrosa was still a couple of tenths off the pace of Marquez.
"This is one of my favorite tracks," Marquez said afterwards, adding that he was happy with his rhythm and he had really enjoyed his day. The Spaniard may have lost any chance of wrapping up the title at Aragon with a win, but that didn't make him any less determined to take victory here. The crash at Misano made no difference to his attitude. Was he afraid of crashing? "No. You can't race and be afraid of crashing." Marquez was pushing to the limit once again, laying down a marker for others to follow.
If the mood in Marquez' garage was elated, things were different in the Yamaha camp. Though the gap to Marquez in terms of pace was not huge, it was still significant. Jorge Lorenzo was concerned. "We are slower than last year," he told the media, "we are slower than at the test [in June]." They had started the weekend using the set up which had worked well enough over the last four races for Lorenzo to finish second, but it simply was not working at Aragon. The plan was to revert to the set up used before Indianapolis, he said.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at the Motorland Aragon circuit:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice for the Motorland Aragon GP:
Ten minutes into the day's closing session, Esteve Rabat took the top spot back from Thomas Luthi and spent the rest of the session consolidating his lead, setting the quickest lap seven more times. As the only rider of the weekend with a 1'53 lap, he shared the provisional front row with Johann Zarco and Mika Kallio. In spite of Rabat's comfortable quarter-second lead, the entire top thirteen were within a second of his pace.
Andrea Dovizioso took the quickest time off Marc Marquez by five hundredths of a second at the end of the session. Dani Pedrosa was four tenths further behind while Andrea Iannone powererd the Ducati to 339km/h on the back straight and recorded the fourth quickest time of the day. Espagaros Aleix and Pol were the quicker of the Yamahas, quicker than Jorge Lorenzo. Hector Barbera managed two timed laps at the end of the session on his fire-damaged and rebuilt Ducati.
The Hondas of Alex Rins and Alex Marquez are separated by under two hundredths of a second at the top, with Niklas Ajo's Husqvarna taking the last slot of the provisional front row.
The first of the official announcements to be made over this weekend has arrived. Today, the FIM released the provisional version of the 2015 calendar for MotoGP.
The schedule is a virtual carbon copy of the 2014 calendar this year, with the order of the races the same as this year. A few minor tweaks have been applied to the calendar: the series kicks off in Qatar on 29th March, a week later than originally planned to avoid a TV clash with the soccer game between Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain. Two weeks later, the circus heads to Austin, and the following week to Argentina.
Having the two races in the Americas back-to-back will create a much easier schedule than this year, where the teams faced a very long journey back from Argentina to arrive on time for Jerez. With a year of experience under their belt, Dorna's logistics and TV crew are now certain they can get the Termas de Rio Hondo track ready within the few days they have after Austin.
Framco Morbidelli was strong throughout the session and ended up quickest, fighting off a challenge from Johann Zarco.
Marc Marquez led troughout most of the session, being kept honest by Jorge Lorenzo, but Andrea Iannone made use of the Ducati's power to set the fastest time by being a quarter of a second quicker than anyone else in the last sector, the long straight. Aleix Espagaro was second quickest.
Jack Miller opened the weekend by celebrating his new MotoGP job with a lap two thirds of a second quicker than anyone else, and under the current race record. Alex Marquez was second quickest in the cold session, and the distance between Miller and Marquez covered from second quickest to Roman Fenati in eleventh.