until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Departing Lecuona tops opening Valencia MotoGP practice

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Tech3 KTM rider Iker Lecuona led the opening MotoGP practice session for the Valencia season finale, which is set to be his final race in the category for the foreseeable future.

Key moments:

> Ducatis fast but crashing in the rain

> Unpleasant fall for Petrucci

> No representative time for Rossi

Lecuona lost his seat at Tech3 KTM for next season and will instead head to the factory Honda team in World Superbikes.

Amid the expectation of a dry session, the paddock was by and large surprised by the onset of rain, which began to drizzle in the immediate lead-up to FP1 and picked up in the early minutes of running.

Bagnaia, on a streak of five consecutive poles, led for much of the session as a result of his 1m41.244s laptime despite crashing at Turn 2 immediately after recording it.

With six minutes to go, Bagnaia was deposed by team-mate Miller – but a lap later Miller all but emulated Bagnaia, running out wide into the Turn 1 run-off and falling right away as he rode onto the red-painted area.

It meant he was unable to respond when Lecuona fired in a 1m40.569s a couple of minutes later, the local rider securing the top spot by 0.155s.

Lecuona’s fellow KTM rider Miguel Oliveira was seemingly on course to overtake him for first place after the chequered flag, but lost dropped away in the final sector, instead finishing 0.006s behind Miller.

Johann Zarco completed the top four, his Pramac Ducati team boss Francesco Guidotti describing the session as “useless” due to the expectation that the rest of the weekend will be dry.

Joan Mir led Suzuki’s efforts in fifth, with Bagnaia improving to sixth place with his final attempt, while VR46 rider Luca Marini made it four Ducatis in the top seven – despite himself falling at the sweeping Turn 6 left-hander late on.

Franco Morbidelli was the lead Yamaha in eighth, while Pol Espargaro led Honda’s efforts in ninth.

Morbidelli’s team-mate, newly-crowned champion Fabio Quartararo, finished the session in 15th, 1.5 seconds off the pace.

Danilo Petrucci, who like team-mate Lecuona is departing MotoGP this weekend, joined what would end up a heavily-Italian list of crashers with an early, painful-looking highside at Turn 4 – the first right-hander after a series of left-handers.

It took Petrucci a while to get on his feet after the crash, and he never rejoined the session afterwards.

The two riders behind him in the classification were Maverick Vinales, whose Aprilia seemed to shed a rear wheel rain protector on the main straight at one point, and Valentino Rossi, the retiring seven-time MotoGP champion not setting a competitive time.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Team Bike Gap Next Gap Leader Best Time
1 Iker Lecuona Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 1m40.569s
2 Jack Miller Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.155s +0.155s 1m40.724s
3 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.006s +0.161s 1m40.73s
4 Johann Zarco Pramac Racing Ducati +0.21s +0.371s 1m40.94s
5 Joan Mir Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +0.003s +0.374s 1m40.943s
6 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.072s +0.446s 1m41.015s
7 Luca Marini SKY VR46 Avintia Team Ducati +0.089s +0.535s 1m41.104s
8 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.096s +0.631s 1m41.2s
9 Pol Espargaró Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.1s +0.731s 1m41.3s
10 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +0.186s +0.917s 1m41.486s
11 Alex Rins Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +0.026s +0.943s 1m41.512s
12 Jorge Martin Pramac Racing Ducati +0.035s +0.978s 1m41.547s
13 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +0.342s +1.32s 1m41.889s
14 Enea Bastianini Avintia Esponsorama Racing Ducati +0.085s +1.405s 1m41.974s
15 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.107s +1.512s 1m42.081s
16 Alex Marquez LCR Honda Castrol Honda +0.077s +1.589s 1m42.158s
17 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.01s +1.599s 1m42.168s
18 Andrea Dovizioso Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha +0.014s +1.613s 1m42.182s
19 Danilo Petrucci Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.256s +1.869s 1m42.438s
20 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +0.329s +2.198s 1m42.767s
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