JOHANN Zarco returned to the top of the timesheet in the first practice session for the MotoGP Czech Republic Grand Prix.
The Frenchman left Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso behind on his final lap of the session. The Tech3-Yamaha lapped the Brno circuit just 0.073 seconds faster.
Championship leader Marc Marquez was another tenth of a second away, with the first 13 bikes all within a second of Zarco’s time.
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RESULTS: Click here for the full results from Exercise 1, Czech Republic
REPORT CARD: ‘He’s sick of telling us how good he is; shut up and ride! ‘
Zarco has been struggling for form since his fall at the French Grand Prix after thrilling his compatriots with pole qualification.
Alvaro Bautista’s recovery continued with fourth fastest time ahead of Valentino Rossi, Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa, while Stefan Bradl finished eighth on board a factory wildcard Honda.
The Australian Jack Miller finished ninth ahead of his former team-mate Tito Rabat, both satellite Ducati riders faster than works rider Jorge Lorenzo, who finished 12th in the end.
Further back, Maverick Vinales, who finished 14th, was over a second slower than Zarco and the slowest of the Yamahas – Tech3 rookie Hafizh Syahrin was one place three tenths faster.
Before that, Moto3 World Championship leader Jorge Martin had been hit by a disaster.
The 20-year-old Spaniard was disfellowshipped for the remainder of the weekend after breaking his left wrist in a high-side crash during his first training session.
Martin will fly to Barcelona for surgery to return as soon as possible. He led just under seven points in the championship ahead of Marco Bezzecchi.
Ironically, Martin’s best lap before the fall was still enough for the second fastest time, three tenths slower than Philipp Oettl.