Despite rain and lightning teaming up overnight, the first day of action for the final round of the season did see some motorbikes hit the track straight away. The wet surface, serious drizzle and darkening clouds did not allow for particularly competitive times early on but nearly the entire lightweight class pack braved the conditions.
The fastest of the lot proved to be Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, the Thai rider starting off possibly his last grand prix in the world championship in the best way, at the top of the timesheets by the time the checkered flag waved the end of FP1. Still getting over the disappointment of the runner up championship position, Marco Bezzecchi picked up the lead for the final third of the session, before he was dethroned by the lead Honda Team Asia rider and had to settle for a much less painful second.
Andrea Migno found his way in the top three as the final rider within half a second of the leader and two tenths ahead of early leader Tony Arbolino. Raul Fernandez had an early stint of his own before dropping to fifth, while Alonso Lopez completed the top six with the last time within a second of Atiratphuvapat.
Phillip Oettl and Darryn Binder were over a second back, while enthusiastic Red Bull Rookies champion Can Oncu dropped to ninth after spending a significant portion of the session in the top three. John McPhee completed the top ten and also completed the list of tumbles for the morning. All the gravel rash of the session came in turn 12, with Enea Bastianini opening the recital before Vicente Perez, Binder, Aron Canet and McPhee took the stage with slow-motion-worthy but harmless incidents.
The recently crowned world champion Jorge Martin allowed himself a longer siesta and never swapped the cap for a helmet – the only rider not to sample the likely conditions for the rest of the weekend.
|12||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||1'54.486||1.704||0.029|
|15||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||1'54.900||2.118||0.209|