An overcast and damp Ricardo Tormo Circuit welcomed the premier class for their first of quite a few outings in the Valencian autumn. Riders avoided too many off track excursions but the tricky conditions saw some oddities on the timesheets. Jack Miller being in charge of proceedings in wet conditions wasn’t one of them though, the Australian nearly half a tenth faster than Franco Morbidelli. The Italian fronted the Yamaha walk of shame following their surprise penalty on Thursday, while Repsol Honda rider Stefan Bradl thrived in the drizzle and joined the top three.
Johann Zarco made a late jump into fourth position, demoting Alex Marquez down to fifth, the Spaniard also giving him a helping hand by crashing out at turn 6 in the final handful of minutes. Danilo Petrucci was the next best Ducati in sixth, with Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira placing two KTMs in the top eight in a weekend that didn’t start on the best terms for the Austrian factory, given Brad Binder’s long lap penalty and Iker Lecuona’s Covid-related absence.
Andrea Dovizioso made a bit of a better start in ninth position, while Maverick Vinales was not in a rush to join the action but after chasing around rival Joan Mir for a few laps, the Yamaha man settled for tenth in FP1. Takaaki Nakagami in 11th position was over a second slower than leader Miller and a couple tenths faster than Aleix Espargaro and Alex Rins. The lead title contenders didn’t seem to enjoy their time in damp Valencia, with Mir only 17th after an brief trek through the gravel at run 8 and Fabio Quartararo last on the timesheets, nearly three seconds slower than Miller and very unhappy as he returned to the pits.