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MotoGP Spanish GP: Pedrosa leads FP1 on wildcard return with KTM

Former MotoGP racer Dani Pedrosa topped FP1 for the Spanish Grand Prix by 0.034 seconds as he makes a wildcard return with KTM at Jerez.

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: KTM Images

Pedrosa won 31 MotoGP races in an illustrious career in the premier class that spanned from 2006 to 2018, all of which being run as a factory Honda rider.

Since retiring, Pedrosa has been a KTM test rider and made a one-off wildcard outing in 2021 at the Styrian GP – in which he was 10th after being involved in a fiery crash with Aprilia's Lorenzo Savadori in an aborted race start.

Returning for his second wildcard outing with KTM this weekend at Jerez, Pedrosa had several stints leading the opening 45-minute practice on his development RC16 before snatching top spot with a 1m36.770s on a time attack right at the death.

The veteran Spaniard deposed Pramac Ducati's Jorge Martin by 0.034s, with LCR Honda's Takaaki Nakagami completing the top three.

Sweltering conditions greeted the grid as it began the first practice of the Spanish GP weekend, with KTM's Jack Miller setting the early pace with a 1m38.697s.

Miller was quickly beaten by Pedrosa, who fired in a 1m38.540s, with RNF Aprilia's Miguel Oliveira, Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo and Miller again all taking turns leading the session in the first 10 minutes.

Pedrosa stole a march with a 1m37.810s with 18 minutes remaining, before Jerez specialist Nakagami taking over with a 1m37.580s 12 minutes later as he kicked off the soft tyre time attack phase of FP1.

Johann Zarco on the sister Pramac Ducati edged ahead on a new medium rear with a 1m37.432s, before Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro found a 1m37.090s on a new soft rear.

Nakagami found more time on his run, returning to top spot with just over two minutes to go with a 1m37.044s, before Martin smashed the field with a 1m36.804s.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

However, this surprisingly wouldn't keep him at the top of the order at the chequered flag, as a blinding final lap from Pedrosa of 1m36.770s meant the KTM wildcard sensationally saw out FP1 as the rider to beat.

VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini trailed the top three by just 0.009s ahead of Espargaro and KTM's Brad Binder, with the top 10 rounded out by Gresini Ducati's Alex Marquez, Miller, reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia on the factory Ducati and Aprilia's Maverick Vinales.

Zarco found himself shuffled down to 11th after the final salvo of time attack laps, with Americas GP winner Alex Rins 12th on his LCR Honda ahead of Oliveira, championship leader Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati) and Honda's Joan Mir.

Fabio Quartararo was only 18th on his factory Yamaha, but both the Frenchman and team-mate Franco Morbidelli in 20th – who tested a new exhaust in FP1 – didn't fit fresh tyres at the end of the session.

Ducati's Enea Bastianini returned from injury but could only manage 13 laps and was 22nd, while Marc Marquez's Honda stand-in Iker Lecuona was last, 3.739s off the pace as he tries to readjust to MotoGP machinery having last raced in the series with Tech3 KTM in 2021.

FP1 result:

Cla Rider Bike Laps Time Gap
1 Spain Dani Pedrosa KTM 20 1'36.770  
2 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 20 1'36.804 0.034
3 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 19 1'37.044 0.274
4 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 19 1'37.053 0.283
5 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 18 1'37.090 0.320
6 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 20 1'37.097 0.327
7 Spain Alex Marquez Ducati 19 1'37.138 0.368
8 Australia Jack Miller KTM 19 1'37.262 0.492
9 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 17 1'37.388 0.618
10 Spain Maverick Viñales Aprilia 19 1'37.389 0.619
11 France Johann Zarco Ducati 20 1'37.432 0.662
12 Spain Alex Rins Honda 19 1'37.487 0.717
13 Portugal Miguel Oliveira Aprilia 17 1'37.633 0.863
14 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 19 1'37.682 0.912
15 Spain Joan Mir Honda 18 1'37.850 1.080
16 Germany Stefan Bradl Honda 17 1'37.902 1.132
17 Spain Raúl Fernández Aprilia 19 1'38.055 1.285
18 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 21 1'38.073 1.303
19 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 19 1'38.104 1.334
20 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 16 1'38.106 1.336
21 Spain Augusto Fernandez KTM 19 1'38.278 1.508
22 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 13 1'38.931 2.161
23 Germany Jonas Folger KTM 18 1'39.545 2.775
24 Spain Iker Lecuona Honda 16 1'40.509 3.739

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