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Bagnaia Fastest Out The Blocks With New Lap Record At The SachsenringIt’s an all-Ducati top three lock out on Day 1 as Bagnaia leads Marini and Miller.

Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia has come tantalisingly close to the 1:19s as he broke the All Time Lap Record in MotoGP™ FP2 at the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. The Italian fired in a 1:20.018 to establish a new benchmark around the Sachsenring as Ducati locked out the top three in the afternoon and overall. Mooney VR46 Racing Team’s Luca Marini grabbed second and FP1 pace-setter Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) took third, with Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro the best of the rest.

FP1
The twisty layout of the Sachsenring might not traditionally have suited the Bologna bullets, but it seems times they are a-changing as Ducati Lenovo Team had already gone one-two in FP1. Miller led the way with a 1:21.479, ahead of Bagnaia by just over a tenth.

World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo, who had the new-spec swingarm on his YZR-M1, was not far away either. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™ rider finished the session third-fastest courtesy of a 1:21.557 which he set just after Miller’s fastest lap. Very few went for time attacks at the end of proceedings but Quartararo continued to lap in the 1:22s despite using just the one set of tyres. Fourth went to Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) on a 1:21.655 and fifth to Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) on a 1:21.660, an encouraging start to the weekend for the Japanese rider after his crash at Catalunya a fortnight ago.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) was a solid sixth in FP1, and sampling the Noale factory’s new fairing, he clocked a 1:21.665 and managed to keep himself upright despite an excursion through the gravel at Turn 1. Marini started seventh on a 1:21.671 while Andrea Dovizioso (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team) picked himself up from a crash at Turn 1 to claim eighth with a 1:21.730 which he set near the end of the session on new tyres.

The top 10 was rounded out by Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) on a 1:21.735 and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) on a 1:21.772, with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) just 0.041 seconds slower again in 11th.

Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) crashed twice in FP1, rider ok but a little battered and bruised after a highside,and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) also took a tumble. Rins didn’t complete the whole session as he nurses his wrist injured in Barcelona.

FP2
Aleix Espargaro took over on top with a 1:20.789 on his first run, with Bagnaia just 0.054 seconds slower. But Miller was one of the earliest to switch to genuine time attack mode in the closing stages of FP2 and, armed with new softs on the front and rear, he vaulted back to the top with a 1:20.211. Aleix Espargaro twice came close to bettering the Australian again with a 1:20.284 and a 1:20.219 on consecutive laps, but it fell to the man on the other red Ducati to get the job done.

Bagnaia broke Marc Marquez’s three-year-old All Time Lap Record of 1:20.195 when he laid down a 1:20.132 on a medium-soft tyre combination in the final three minutes of the session, and there was time enough to go even faster again before the chequered flag unfurled. Marini likewise beat Marquez’s old Sachsenring benchmark, shuffling Miller back to third, albeit only at 0.193 seconds off the pace of his team-mate… and that makes it a Ducati top three heading into Saturday.

Provisional Q2 places
Behind the Ducati trio, Aleix Espargaro was fourth-fastest all-told, and he is the odd one out in a top six otherwise filled up by GP22s. Johann Zarco claimed fifth on a 1:20.264 and Prima Pramac Racing teammate Jorge Martin finished up sixth on a 1:20.275.

Seventh overall goes to World Championship leader Quartararo on a 1:20.399, ahead of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and another impressive performance from Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) on yet another Ducati.

Either side of the top 10 cut-off which decides who goes straight into Q2, as it stands it’s Joan Mir in 10th on a 1:20.574 and his Team Suzuki Ecstar teammate Alex Rins in 11th on a 1:20.591. Nakagami faded in the afternoon but was first of the Honda riders in 12th on a 1:20.616, while Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) took 13th at another 0.131 seconds off the pace after an early run through the gravel at Turn 1. Pol Espargaro took 14th, ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), and the first of the KTM contingent in Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), in 17th after a tough day for the Austrian factory.

Those outside the top ten will, of course, all be looking to improve their positions and book a place in Q2 when FP3 unfolds on Saturday. Can they do it? The answers will come from 09:55 (GMT +2), before qualifying from 14:10 as the grid gets decided at the unique challenge of the Sachsenring.

Bagnaia Fastest Out The Blocks With New Lap Record At The Sachsenring
Marini split the Ducati Lenovo teammates with some serious speed

FRIDAY: TOP 3
1 Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Ducati – 1’20.018
2 Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) – Ducati – +0.115
3 Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Ducati – +0.193

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Bagnaia Fastest Out The Blocks With New Lap Record At The Sachsenring
Miller locked out the top three

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