MotoGP Valencia: Miller in the lead for FP2

11/12/2021 |

Image: GeeBee Pictures

Ducati Lenovo’s Jack Miller was the man of the moment in FP2 as he finished at the top of the Valencia MotoGP times on Friday.

Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro finished second despite a crash in the late session, with Portimao winner Pecco Bagnaia completing the top three, finishing just 0.068 seconds for the trio.

A dry line allowed the pack to roll out on slicks as FP2 action began on Friday afternoon. LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami leads the early overall on a 1’33.126 run by Franky Morbidelli and Bagnaia, while Fabio Quartararo and Miller’s second Monster Energy Yamaha completes the top five.

Morbidelli took command on his fourth lap as the pace improved to 1’42.5. His teammate and the new world champion slip in turn two. Pol Espargaro was next to cut times on the lonely Repsol Honda, LCR’s Alec Marquez finished third ahead of Ducati trio Bagnaia, Miller and Jorge Martin.

Andrea Dovizioso rose to seventh place after 10 minutes on the track when Bagnaia reached the top. The LCR duo sits on either side of the Petronas Yamaha, Quartararo and Iker Lecuona from Tech3 KTM complete the top 10.

Johann Zarco and Aleix Espargaro were in action half an hour before the end, the Frenchman taking fourth place when the Aprilia landed in sixth place, the other side of the Australian Miller.

Suzuki’s Joan Mir and Alex Rins seemed to be struggling with mixed conditions from 17th and 19th respectively. Danilo Petrucci felt battered and injured after his free morning in 18th place, while Valentino Rossi and younger brother Luca Marini circulated at the end of the times.

Rins moved up to second place at halftime, shortly afterwards his teammate also moved up to fifth. Marquez finished eighth on his 10th lap of the afternoon, while Morbidelli returned to the top with a 1: 31.832.

LCR progress continued as Nakagami and Marquez finished fifth and sixth, respectively, early in the second half, before the Japanese finished second. Ducati’s front duo battles it out for third and fourth place before Espargaro demotes them to the Honda.

Dovizioso was back in the Q2 attack with his 12th attempt at FP2, the Italian was seven tenths behind the leading M1 while Enea Bastianini was the next victim of turn two. Seconds later, Lecuona suffered his own fall at Turn 11 in his personal best.

Quartararo returned to the track 16 minutes before the race, the Yamaha currently ranks 17th between Marini and Rossi before jumping up to 12th the next time around. Maverick Viñales and Brad Binder got stuck in the back.

Miller took P2 behind his archenemy from Valencia in 2020 two-thirds away when the majority of his pack went back into the garage. Quartararo continued his climb and into the top 10 as he refined his pace from ninth.

The final runs began in the last six minutes as Miller stormed forward with a 1: 31.409. Dovizioso over the ascension zone bubble before Petrucci’s rise demoted him. The Tech3 rider finished seventh on his 17th attempt while Rins consolidated third.

However, Dovi was unbeatable as the Italian finished second. Bagnaia’s own improvement pushed him to third place as the Ducati locked the overall standings ahead of Rins and Marquez in third and fourth.

The Repsol Honda was under pressure at the beginning of the penultimate minute and was briefly in the lead before Bagnaia hit back. The first three times were a blurry red at the end of the session. Miller and Espargaro at a pace of 1’30.9, just 0.012 seconds behind, and Bagnaia matched them almost exactly.

Pol’s progress was hampered by a fall at turn six on his final lap, Miller took control and Bagnaia finished third. Rins, Martin, Nakagami and Mir complete the top 7 with a late attacking binder, Dovizioso and Zarco round off the preliminary Q2 positions.

Quartararo finished 11th ahead of Aleix Espargaro on Friday while Morbidelli fell back to 13th after leading the majority of the session. Marquez led a KTM platoon from Petrucci, Lecuona and Oliveira, while Viñales, Bastianini, Marini and Rossi completed the overall standings.

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