BARCELONA, Spain – Returning to MotoGP competition less than two weeks after arm pump surgery, Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo topped the opening day of practice Friday at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The rookie rider topped the practice charts with a best time of 1:40.079 that came near the end of Friday’s second practice session.
“Today was a great day. We were first on the combined timesheets and I had a great feeling,” said Quartararo. “I didn’t know how my arm would react after my operation, but things went very well. I had some pain to deal with, but I feel good. The first run was hard, but after a while everything went better. It was a matter of getting used to the pain, but I didn’t expect to go so well at this Grand Prix. We have to stay calm, which is the most important thing. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow morning and of course we will do our best to get onto the front row, but right now our goal is to be on the first three rows and go straight into Q2. We’ll see if we can have a good qualifying.”
Andrea Dovizioso ended the day second fastest overall for Ducati, .281 of a second off the pace set by Quartararo. Takaaki Nakagami was impressive for LCR Honda Idemitsu, finishing third overall after two practice sessions.
Pol Espargaro of Red Bull KTM and Francesco Bagnaia of Pramac Racing were fourth and fifth, respectively, on Friday. Marc Marquez, who was fastest in Friday’s first practice, ended the day ninth overall.
Johann Zarco, Joan Mir and Alex Rins all crashed during the second practice, but they were each unhurt and able to continue.