Fabio Quartararo’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) savage 1:59.225 was allowed to stand to give the rookie phenomenon the advantage on Friday at the GoPro British Grand Prix with a brilliant new lap record, after the lap was initially disallowed before a photo review. The Frenchman was also fastest in FP1 to make it a full house on Friday, with a significant advantage in both sessions. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) sits as Quartararo’s closest challenger, 0.251 back, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completing the top three as Yamaha stormed the timesheets.
FP1 started under cloudy Silverstone skies as the MotoGP™ riders got their first taste of the new asphalt, and it was Quartararo who came into FP2 with a half-second advantage over the rest. Marquez was again his nearest rival in the opening session and it was the number 93 who instantly led FP2, cutting Quartararo’s advantage to two-tenths on the overall timesheets. Other early improvers were home hero Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), the British rider dipping into the 2:00s, while Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) climbed into the top 10 as well.
Temperatures in England – believe it or not – were soaring and it seemed the riders were struggling to improve their times from FP1 at first, with Marquez' benchmark putting him over seven tenths clear of the field for the first half of FP2. However, it wasn’t plain sailing for the seven-time Champion as at the Vale complex, Marquez crashed for the first time since Le Mans Q2 – but rider instantly up and ok. FP1 P4 finisher Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) then moved into second in the session, but then came Quartararo to cut the gap.
With eight minutes left, the timesheets lit up as fresh Michelin rubber was slotted in for a thrilling time attack. Riders like Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) – 10th in FP1 – had slipped down to the lower ends of the timing screens, but the Australian soon jumped up to fourth overall and the two Yamahas were on barnstormers. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) looked set to go top overall and he did so with a new lap record, but ‘The Doctor’ didn’t stay there long as rookie Quartararo then hammered in his stunning 1:59.225: the quickest ever lap we’ve seen around Silverstone.
Viñales then got overhauled by Marquez as he beat his compatriot with a 1:59.476, with Rossi's time putting him in fourth. Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) moved up into fifth and sixth respectively, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) strong on fresh tyres to end the day seventh on the combined times.
Oliveira once again impressed to lead the KTM charge in P8, the Portuguese rider improving from P16 in the opening 45 minutes, with Miller’s aforementioned time enough to give him ninth overall. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) took tenth.
Takaaki Nakagami, another who had their laptime reinstated, ended the day in P11, just ahead of Aleix Espargaro. Espargaro just missed out after the laptime reinstatements despite managing to get back out on his Aprilia Racing Team Gresini machine after first one completely cut out heading into Brooklands corner, and he ends the day in P12. Pol Espargaro, teammate Johann Zarco and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed the fastest fifteen.
A fast and furious couple of sessions on Friday now sets us up nicely for Saturday. FP3 should be dry, so there’s still time for the top 10 to change ahead of qualifying. Tune in for a crucial session at 09:55 local time (GMT+1).