2020 Andalucia MotoGP FP2 Result: Nakagami Saves Honda’s Day

The premier class was back out to play with race setup under the dizzying sun of Andalucia and top spot was more of a curse throughout FP2. Johann Zarco was an early leader until he crashed out at turn six, while Pol Espargaro dropped it at turn two just after grabbing top spot for the final half of the session, all of this allowing Takaaki Nakagami to swoop in for the final stretch and save Honda’s blushes. The LCR man was a tenth and a half faster than Zarco and Espargaro, with Franco Morbidelli the lead Yamaha this time around, in fourth position.

Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo closely followed their teammate, while both demonstrating, once again, their fine pace around Jerez. Joan Mir was another of the consistently quick men, in seventh spot, while Valentino Rossi snuck back into the top eight on his final lap. Pecco Bagnaia and teammate Jack Miller rounded out the top ten, six tenths off the lead.

Brad Binder started the session in the limelight before dropping slightly to 11th, while Andrea Dovizioso’s 12th spot ahead of teammate Danilo Petrucci made Ducati look a bit lost in the crowd. However, despite the fun names at the top of the standings in FP2, there were no changes to the combined top ten achieved in FP1 and Zarco was the only man to improve his time in the afternoon session but not sufficiently for Q2.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'37.715    
2 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'37.870 0.155 0.155
3 44 Pol Espargaro KTM 1'37.889 0.174 0.019
4 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'38.010 0.295 0.121
5 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'38.107 0.392 0.097
6 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'38.132 0.417 0.025
7 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'38.144 0.429 0.012
8 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'38.292 0.577 0.148
9 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'38.309 0.594 0.017
10 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'38.385 0.670 0.076
11 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'38.441 0.726 0.056
12 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'38.442 0.727 0.001
13 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'38.543 0.828 0.101
14 53 Tito Rabat Ducati 1'38.557 0.842 0.014
15 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'38.642 0.927 0.085
16 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'38.722 1.007 0.080
17 27 Iker Lecuona KTM 1'38.768 1.053 0.046
18 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'38.806 1.091 0.038
19 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'38.847 1.132 0.041
20 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'39.101 1.386 0.254
21 38 Bradley Smith Aprilia 1'39.476 1.761 0.375
  93 Marc Marquez Honda      
Round Number: 
3
2020
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Comments

It feels as if we've been dropped into the middle of a frenetic, epic season. The injuries, the comebacks, the first win, the crafty vet racecrafting a way to the podium. Rookies and other youngsters pushing for their crack at MM93. Esp BB33 - we've known of his talent for a long time and here it is, blossoming immediately. Mir - Oh my oh my that video of him alone on track using his body so precisely, as he did in the smaller classes. He'll be at the front sooner than later. Marc just may be able to pull this off; structurally he'll be fine. That leaves it to the mental side. I have no doubts about the strength of his mental side. He'll go straight to Q2, post a fast lap that'll put him on the front couple rows then slice and dice for 45 minutes. Voila! Done to perfection and 16 pts...and the legend grows.

Listen to Binder - very telling! Does this sound like a rookie after his first weekend on a KTM? Could we be looking at BB33 and Pol battling in the front pack this weekend? He is ironing out optimization of drive out with a clear plan. The rest seeming rather sorted. What does THAT say?

"The plan was to do a time attack at the end of FP1 and to work on our pace and setting for the race in FP2. That’s exactly what we did. I’m happy because it seems we have figured out a good base setting. To be third fastest on day one is fantastic,"

"We had a little bit of an up-and-down FP2 in terms of trying things, but we still managed to put a competitive session together and I stuck out there with old tyres the whole session, which was great. To be 11th is not bad considering."

"For sure it is a little bit of a shock to be so close to the front when we do a time attack. It’s incredible to see and I think KTM have brought a very competitive machine this year."

Binder says the RC16's biggest strengths are braking and corner entry, while he still needs to find the 'sweet spot' to gain on corner exit.

"I’ve got the opportunity to ride behind almost every manufacturer so far and all the different riders too. The main point where I feel we are quite strong is definitely on the brakes: corner entry and braking is where our bike is fantastic," he said. "I do lose a bit on corner exit but that’s down to me not quite doing the pick-up as well as I should yet."

"If you have the bike too upright you have too much wheelie and if you have too much lean angle you spin, so you need to try and find that sweet spot and to stick to it as long as possible."

"That’s one thing that’s difficult because there is one point where it wheelies too much and another where it spins too much. You gotta find that sweet spot and that’s what the others are good at, especially the ones with a lot of experience."

"This morning we were third quickest, whereas I was tenth last week. I did the same lap time in FP2 now as I did last week but I didn’t put in new tyres. I believe our pace is better and I am faster than I was at this point last week. In general the bike is also feeling better,"

"I want to take it one day at a time and one lap at a time. If I can make it into Q2 tomorrow that would be fantastic and it is definitely my goal for tomorrow. But if not it is not the end of the world. I’ll just have to readjust a little bit and give it another go in the race."

(Methinks The Marc is far from out of the woods btw)

Congrats to Taka, 1st Japanese rider to top a session since 2006. Few riders chased fast laps of course, Taka went out for two.

When I think about it, MM93 isn't really totally out of it. I mean, absolutely, the pain of broken bones and being sliced open and supporting plates screwed into your body is going to hurt like hell, but he didn't miraculously lose all his hard worked for conditioning overnight.

I am just gobsmacked that he's (along with Rins, and to a lesser extent, Crutchlow) even attempting to compete, but as someone else said, these young men are worlds apart from we mere mortals.

And when it comes for tolerance to pain, let's not forget what Mick Doohan went through, not only for the '92 season, but the following seasons, as he continued to rehab his leg.

If the data on the motogp.com "analysis" is correct, Rossi set his fastest time in the afternoon session on a front with 23 laps and a rear with 28 laps.  Maybe the old dog can fight for the podium on Sunday.

Fastest Honda Takaaki Nakagami ! Excellent. HRC please take note.

Johann Zarco fastest Ducati tres bon! Didn't expect this burst of speed from J.Z. 5. Pecco & Jack in the top 10 behind the maturest racer in the field. The other Ducks a bit further back. No doubt Dovi will do better in the race.