While the sizeable audience was melting in a baking twenty-seven degrees, the riders were out to get crucial data for a race that appears set to be run in similar conditions. The final minutes of the session saw part of the field trying on soft shoes to go for a fast run and ensure a Q2 place, which resulted in a pretty mixed grid.
Andrea Dovizioso looked set to get another session in the bag until the final three minutes when Cal Crutchlow showed up out of nowhere to steal the spotlight and post a time only just inside Dovizioso’s FP1 time.
Dovizioso kept second position and top Ducati honours, a few more Yamahas and Hondas spreading the Italian bikes across the field. Jonas Folger was top Yamaha in third spot, the satellite rider less than two tenths down on Crutchlow.
Teammate Johann Zarco did another Tito Rabat impression by running a very long first stint and at a strong pace, eventually posting his fastest time on a new rear tyre in the final minutes and snatching fourth place.
Dani Pedrosa was one of the happier riders in the hot conditions - and not just because it was good windsurfing weather - the Spaniard managing to post competitive times on the harder front tyre and keeping fifth position despite not putting in a late fast lap. Hector Barbera did go for a final time attack that proved successful, the Spaniard finishing sixth, three tenths down on the leader.
Alvaro Bautista was close behind him in seventh position, with Andrea Iannone steadily climbing up the timesheets and into eighth spot. Michelle Pirro was half a second off in ninth, the top ten completed by Danilo Petrucci, despite the Italian having some technical issues with his Ducati early in the session.
Jorge Lorenzo only just missed on a top ten spot by four thousandths of a second, the Spaniard leading his former teammate, Valentino Rossi, who despite the pain still put in nineteen laps and a fast time a little over six tenths down on Crutchlow.
Maverick Vinales looked badly shaken by a crash in the early part of the session, leaving his bike – equipped with the aero fairing – in pretty poor condition in the gravel trap at turn nine. While his mechanics were preparing for a long evening, the championship leader rejoined the track with ten minutes remaining to improve his time but not his position and ending up thirteenth.
Although his position looks as unusual as seeing Marc Marquez fourteenth, neither of the two riders put on the sort rear tyre, the reigning world champion running the hard rear and posting his fastest time on lap five.