There were many people in the premier class who were eager to return to Jerez and everyone got a warm and dry welcome for FP1. Brad Binder enjoyed his return to the scene of his MotoGP debut and celebrated it by dethroning one of the home favourites, Aleix Espargaro, from the top of the timesheets by almost two tenths of a second at the checkered flag. Espargaro kept Aprilia in the limelight for much of the session, before having to concede top spot to the KTM man. Marc Marquez also had a bittersweet comeback to a track he loves but that didn’t love him back quite as much last year. The Honda man steadily climbed the timesheets to end the morning in third spot, less than three tenths off the leader.
Pecco Bagnaia had a pretty busy morning out on track and was slow to join the top end of the action but his late attack promoted him to fourth, ahead of early session leader and last year’s Jerez hero, Fabio Quartararo. Johann Zarco added another Ducati to the mix in sixth spot, ahead of KTM’s Miguel Oliveira and Honda’s Pol Espargaro. Maverick Viñales trailed his compatriot by only one thousandth of a second, while world champion Joan Mir managed to stay in the top ten despite limited running in the first half of FP1. The Suzuki man posted an identical time to Takaaki Nakagami, but the still bruised LCR Honda rider misses out on the top 10 for now. Franco Morbidelli in 12th position was the last rider to post a time within half a second of the leader, with the top 19 riders covered by one second.