In the rapidly rising temperatures of the Czech Republic, the usual suspects returned from summer holiday in top shape and ready to enjoy some more sunshine in their first session of the weekend. Marc Marquez kicked off proceedings at the top of the standings by dipping into the 1:56s but his reign was cut short halfway through the session by a seemingly invigorated Andrea Dovizioso. The flashback to last year’s title battle was eventually stopped by Johann Zarco in the very last minute of the session, when whatever contemplation the Frenchman did over the summer turned into top position in FP1.
Dovizioso settled for second, seven hundredths of a second behind the Tech 3 rider and with Marquez another tenth back in third. While Zarco tried on a new medium rear tyre for his late attack, his two pursuers focused on used rubber and did not improve on their early benchmarks. Alvaro Bautista continued on his recent upwards trajectory with a consistent first practice session in Brno, where he missed out on denying Marquez third place by only three thousandths of a second.
Valentino Rossi was second best Yamaha, two tenths behind his satellite colleague and the last rider to dip into the 1:56s. Compatriot Andrea Iannone enjoyed a brief moment of euphoria in second place before his best lap got cancelled for exceeding track limits and the Suzuki man went back to sixth position as the final man within half a second of the leader.
Dani Pedrosa made the best of one of his favourite tracks to climb into seventh and was kept company by HRC wildcard Stefan Bradl, the German test rider only six tenths slower than Zarco. Jack Miller and Tito Rabat completed the top ten, with Cal Crutchlow, Jorge Lorenzo and Hafizh Syahrin also within a second of the leader. Maverick Viñales and Danilo Petrucci just about missed the cut and completed the top 15 positions.