The Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Team returned to where they left off at Le Mans, at the top of the timesheets as the opening day of Free Practice got underway in Autodromo del Mugello in Florence, Italy.
Successful start to the 2017 for the Marc VDS team
The team who have won every round of the Moto2 class so far immediately set the pace with Italian, Franco Morbidelli leading his Spanish teammate, Alex Marquez slotting in behind him.
As they worked to reduce their times in ideal conditions, with the sun was out and the track dry, they soon were knocked down the timesheets by Italian Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) who will be looking to claim his first Moto2 win on home turf.
Special appearances in Mugello
Federico Fuligni is making a wildcard appearance in Italy with the Forward Junior Team aboard a Kalex. British rider, Danny Kent, is also stepping in for injured Iker Lecuona for the Garage Plus Interwetten Team after making a special appearance with the Red Bull KTM Ajo team in the Moto3 class where he had an impressive performance.
The 600cc class were toying around with a time within the 1:52 minutes. Both, now current MotoGP riders, Sam Lowes and Tito Rabat, hold the lap records.
British rider, Lowes, has set the fastest ever lap in the Moto2 class in 2015 when he lapped at 1:51.514 during Qualifying. But the official Circuit Record Lap, set during by the race, was completed by Rabat in the same year with a time of 1:52.530.
Highside for Marini
Within the final few minutes of the opening session for the Moto2 class, Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) came off at turn 10 when he suffered a highside.
After losing the rear and being thrown over the bike, he and the bike slid to the side of the track. He was able to get straight up to his feet but was holding his left arm just below his shoulder.
Morbidelli stole the top spot at the end of Free Practice 1
A late lap meant that Morbidelli was able to once again improve, beating Pasini’s time by 0.47 seconds. It meant that the target for the second session was now 1:52.568. Morbidelli finished on top ahead of Pasini and Marquez in third. Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was fourth ahead of Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) in fifth.
Miguel Oliveira continued his promising form with the new Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 team in sixth ahead of Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten), Isaac Vinales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) and rookie, Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) completed the top 10 at the Italian track at the end of Free Practice 1.
Marquez back to the top at start of Free Practice 2
Once again meaning it business, it was Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS on top in the opening stages of Free Practice 2 as Marquez placed his Kalex on the top of the timesheets with a lap time of 1:52.595. He continued to improve on his next lap, reducing his own time by 0.366 seconds as the remainder of the pack ordered themselves behind him.
It was less of a positive start for Morbidelli who was soon back in the pits having disappeared from the timesheets after the first sector of the track. Whatever happened was to cost him dearly as he lost a lot of time and ended up with a lot less time to try and improve on his home turf.
Once Marquez set the hammer down, what was left of the session resulted in the remainder of the paddock battled it out to settle the dispute of the rest of the standings. No-one came close enough to Marquez’s time, although Nakagami was closest, and instead managed to improve personal best times.
Mishap for rookie, Pawi
Teammate to Nakagami, rookie Khairul Idham Pawi ran on in the final stages of the session. With just five minutes to go he required assistance to help be extracted from the gravel, he appeared not to have fallen, or did very little damage had he done so.
Marquez quickest on day one in Mugello
Despite their best efforts to overcome the gap, Marquez remained quickest during the session having returned to the track and managing to improve on his own time. Finishing day one with a time of 1:52.229, he heads into day two as the man to beat.
Nakagami remained second quickest, finishing one tenth of a second behind the Spaniard. Corsi was the top Italian and Speed Up rider in third. Pasini was fourth ahead of rookie Bagnaia who has finished the last two races on the podium, and is hoping to return if not top it in front of his home fans.
Morbidelli made it four Italians in the top six as a late lap allowed him to improve during the second Free Practice session. Making his return after injury forced him to sit out of several rounds, Brad Binder finished up Free Practice 2 in seventh ahead of his Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate, Oliveira in eighth. Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) completed the top 10.
Things differ slightly when times are combined
Combining the times from the practice sessions on the opening day however, things changed slightly as Morbidelli and Pasini were both quicker during the opening session. Marquez remained quickest with his FP2 time ahead of Nakagami in second. Morbidelli moved up to third as did Pasini who moved to fourth, and Corsi completed the top five. The only other rider who did not manage to improve during FP2 was Sandro Cortese on the Suter with Dynavolt Intact GP.