Practice report

MotoGP Valencia: Miller leads Pol Espargaro by 0.012s to top FP2

Ducati’s Jack Miller pipped the Honda of Pol Espargaro by 0.012 seconds in a thrilling-but-crash-strewn second practice for the MotoGP Valencia Grand Prix.

Jack Miller, Ducati Team

The rain that had affected this morning’s 45-minute session had completely cleared by the time FP2 got underway, with Honda’s Espargaro setting the early pace with a 1m34.510s.

Top spot changed hands constantly over the opening 15 minutes, with LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami, Yamaha duo Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo and Ducati’s Bagnaia all taking turns alongside Espargaro at leading the session.

World champion Quartararo’s session was interrupted a little under 10 minutes in when he crashed at Turn 2.

It was a similar incident to that of Bagnaia’s in FP1 at the same place, while the Italian jumped to the top of the order moments after his chief title rival’s crash with a 1m32.379s.

The Ducati rider duly improved on his following tour to a 1m32.248s, which stood as the benchmark for the next 10 minutes.

Yamaha’s Morbidelli – winner of last year’s Valencia GP – guided his factory M1 to a 1m31.832s to head the timesheets into the closing moments when the field went for a soft tyre time attack.

A late salvo of laps once again led to a battle over top spot, with Miller the first to topple Morbidelli’s effort with a 1m31.409s with five minutes to go.

This was quickly beaten by team-mate Bagnaia with a 1m31.400s, before Espargaro guided his Honda to a 1m31.183s while following Miller.

A 1m31.134s put Bagnaia back on top briefly with just over a minute to go, with Miller ending his session with a 1m30.927s to end Friday fastest of all.

But he only just fended off Espargaro by 0.012s, with the Honda rider crashing at Turn 6 on his final flying lap.

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bagnaia completed the top three a further 0.056s adrift, with Alex Rins leading the Suzuki charge in fourth from Jorge Martin on the Pramac Ducati.

Takaaki Nakagami made a late improvement to sixth on his LCR Honda to head 2020 world champion Joan Mir – who won the European GP at Ricardo Tormo last year – on the sister Suzuki and KTM’s Brad Binder.

Petronas SRT’s Andrea Dovizioso was the leading Yamaha rider after Friday’s running in ninth on the 2019 M1 which won last year’s Valencia GP, while Johann Zarco rounded out the top 10 on his Pramac Ducati.

Following his crash, Quartararo’s afternoon didn’t improve much as a mistake on his final lap exiting Turn 5 left him down in 11th at the end of FP2 from Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro and Morbidelli.

Valentino Rossi held a spot inside the top 10 in the closing stages on his Petronas SRT Yamaha, but was demoted to last place at the chequered flag but just 1.3s off the pace.

Tech3’s Iker Lecuona (16th) and Avintia rookie Enea Bastianini (19th) also got caught out by the cooler track temperatures in FP2 and suffered crashes.

MotoGP Valencia - FP2 results

Cla Rider Bike Laps Time Gap
1 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 20 1'30.927  
2 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 19 1'30.939 0.012
3 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 20 1'30.995 0.068
4 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 19 1'31.336 0.409
5 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 17 1'31.396 0.469
6 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 20 1'31.427 0.500
7 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 20 1'31.513 0.586
8 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 20 1'31.521 0.594
9 Italy Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 22 1'31.597 0.670
10 France Johann Zarco Ducati 21 1'31.603 0.676
11 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 17 1'31.708 0.781
12 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 21 1'31.820 0.893
13 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 20 1'31.832 0.905
14 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 20 1'31.852 0.925
15 Italy Danilo Petrucci KTM 21 1'32.083 1.156
16 Spain Iker Lecuona KTM 18 1'32.098 1.171
17 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 21 1'32.208 1.281
18 Spain Maverick Viñales Aprilia 16 1'32.214 1.287
19 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 14 1'32.219 1.292
20 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 19 1'32.229 1.302
21 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha 19 1'32.285 1.358

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