MotoGP was back at the scene of the last year’s rain-washed debacle, this time on a fresh surface that’s flatter than a yoga soundtrack. Fabio Quartararo made the most of the conditions, hitting the track with new tyres for the final couple of laps and getting within a hundredth of a second of Marc Marquez’s lap record. The world champion will be aiming to improve on his own record in FP2, after leading the way for most of FP1 but sticking to a longer trial of used medium rubber and therefore settling for second, half a second off his younger nemesis.
Maverick Viñales was edging ever closer to the lead throughout the session but perhaps pushed too hard into Stowe corner and lost the front halfway through FP1. The Yamaha man recovered to finish inside the top three. Alex Rins’ fourth place was over a second slower than the leader, the Suzuki closely matched by Franco Morbidelli’s Yamaha and Andrea Dovizioso’s Ducati. Valentino Rossi made a sensible start in the top seven, ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci, with Jack Miller rounding out the top ten.
Jorge Lorenzo was welcomed back to the action like a long lost cousin you’re eager to see but have many questions for. The one about his rehabilitation wasn’t quite answered on track, the Spaniard easing his way into proceedings, last on the timesheets and four seconds slower than Quartararo.