The fresh grippy asphalt and the familiar layout of the Jerez circuit meant that the first outing on home ground for the premier class was a fast and furious affair. The challenge was to catch up with Marc Marquez once be built one second’s advantage on the competition and teammate Jorge Lorenzo was unsurprisingly up to the challenge. Honda’s new arrival was in his element in Jerez and caught up with his compatriot by the midway point of the session, the infamous Dream Team showing the way for much of FP1.
Very little separated the duo on their final laps, Marquez keeping the headlines with the only 1:37 time of the day on used rubber. Lorenzo had to settle for second, a tenth off his teammate, while Maverick Viñales added a Yamaha to the top three mix, robbing Honda from a 1-2-3. However, Takaaki Nakagami made excellent use of last year’s winning bike and finished the morning two tenths off the reigning world champion.
Andrea Dovizioso was a little subdued throughout FP1 but made a late assault on the timesheets to climb into the top five. Fabio Quartararo kept a close eye on proceedings from sixth position, only three tenths off the leader, while Jack Miller was the next man down, half a second off Marquez but seemingly struggling with arm pump issues.
After threatening the Honda domination early on, Danilo Petrucci dropped back to eighth, with Franco Morbidelli and Alex Rins completing the top ten. Cal Crutchlow, Johann Zarco and Joan Mir were the final men within a second of the lead, although the KTM man ended his session in the gravel trap. Valentino Rossi had a sluggish start to his day, spending most of his time towards the bottom of the top 15 and finishing the session 18th but some of the attention was stolen by Yamaha’s version of the swingarm attachment that the Italian paraded for a handful of laps.