The 2018 season is officially underway at a sunny but very cold Valencia, riders waiting for a while before taking to the track en masse. The newcomers were among the first to get out and ride, but they were soon joined by most of the regulars.
Marc Marquez was the fastest man at noon, half a second quicker than Johann Zarco, while Maverick Viñales was third quickest, ahead of Pol Espargaro on the KTM. Marquez started his 2018 season off in the same style as he ended 2017, with a massive front end save that would have seen anyone else end up in the gravel. Tito Rabat was the first rider to crash, putting his Avintia Ducati into the gravel trap, but his crash was only minor compared to Valentino Rossi's, the Movistar Yamaha rider completely destroying the bike he was on at Turn 10, though he came away relatively unscathed.
Rossi's crash will disturb Yamaha's testing program. The three riders - Johann Zarco is being involved as well - have a lot of work to get through. Rossi has three bikes in his garage, Viñales has four bikes, and Zarco has an extra machine as well. Jonas Folger's 2016 bikes have been wheeled into the Movistar Yamaha garage (small irony: normally, the opposite happens at the Valencia test) for Viñales and Rossi to test, while Zarco also has a non-2016 bike which is said to be a version the factory riders rejected last season.
Times from noon at Valencia:
|1||93||Marc Marquez||Honda RC213V||1:30.673|
|2||5||Johann Zarco||Yamaha M1||1:31.227||0.554||0.554|
|3||25||Maverick Viñales||Yamaha M1||1:31.306||0.633||0.079|
|4||44||Pol Espargaro||KTM RC16||1:31.446||0.773||0.140|
|5||26||Dani Pedrosa||Honda RC213V||1:31.506||0.833||0.060|
|6||99||Jorge Lorenzo||Ducati GP18||1:31.586||0.913||0.080|
|7||41||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia RS-GP||1:31.644||0.971||0.058|
|8||35||Cal Crutchlow||Honda RC213V||1:31.685||1.012||0.041|
|9||46||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha M1||1:31.782||1.109||0.097|
|10||38||Bradley Smith||KTM RC16||1:32.002||1.329||0.220|
|11||43||Jack Miller||Ducati GP17||1:32.448||1.775||0.446|
|12||53||Tito Rabat||Ducati GP17||1:32.556||1.883||0.108|
|13||9||Danilo Petrucci||Ducati GP18||1:32.708||2.035||0.152|
|14||45||Scott Redding||Aprilia RS-GP||1:33.143||2.470||0.435|
|15||17||Karel Abraham||Ducati GP16||1:33.623||2.950||0.480|
|16||21||Franco Morbidelli||Honda RC213V||1:35.039||4.366||1.416|
|17||72||Takumi Takahashi||Honda RC213V||1:35.247||4.574||0.208|
|18||30||Takaaki Nakagami||Honda RC213V||1:35.541||4.868||0.294|
|19||10||Xavier Simeon||Ducati GP16||1:37.489||6.816||1.948|