Miller, Gardner on top at Valencia
Saturday 13th November, 2021 - 7:28am
Jack Miller and Remy Gardner have finished the opening day of the Valencia Grand Prix on top of the timesheets in their respective classes.
Miller continued the Ducati Lenovo Team’s strong MotoGP form of late, setting a 1:30.927 in the second practice session that would ultimately represent the fastest time of the day.
That followed a wet start to proceedings at the season finale, with no rider bettering hometown hero Iker Lecuona’s 1:40.569 in Practice 1.
With conditions improving as the day wore on, Miller’s on-song team-mate Francesco Bagnaia also showed speed, ending third.
Pol Espargaro, on the lone Repsol Honda Team entry with Marc Marquez still sidelined, split the Ducati duo in second, merely 0.012s off Miller’s benchmark.
“I’m delighted with this first day here at Valencia, which is one of my favourite tracks on the calendar,” Miller surmised.
“The bike is working really well here, and both in the wet this morning and the dry this afternoon, I felt comfortable straight away.
“I had a small crash in FP1: I went wide in the first corner, but as soon as I touched the paint, it was like hitting the ice!
“Apart from that, I’m enjoying riding here, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the weekend has in store for us.”
Among other notable riders was champion-elect Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) down in 11th, while retiring legend Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was slowest of the 21 riders on combined times.
As for Moto2, it was tight at the top between Gardner and Red Bull KTM Ajo team-mate Raul Fernandez.
A 1:35.857 gave the Australian the upper hand at the end of session – but only by eight thousandths of a second.
“It was a good day because we finished in first position,” said Gardner.
“The dry laps went well and we have a good feeling on the bike.
“The goal tomorrow is to continue in the same way and finish our last weekend in Moto2.”
Gardner holds a 23-point lead over Fernandez and can seal the championship by finishing 13th on race day.
Gardner and Fernandez will both move up to MotoGP next year at Tech3 KTM Factory Racing next year in place of Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci.
Results: Combined MotoGP practice times, Valencia Grand Prix
|1||43||Jack Miller||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||1:30.927|
|2||44||Pol Espargaro||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||1:30.939||+0.012|
|3||63||Francesco Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||1:30.995||+0.068|
|4||42||Alex Rins||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||1:31.336||+0.409|
|5||89||Jorge Martin||Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:31.396||+0.469|
|6||30||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda Castrol||Honda||1:31.427||+0.500|
|7||36||Joan Mir||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||1:31.513||+0.586|
|8||33||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:31.521||+0.594|
|9||4||Andrea Dovizioso||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||1:31.597||+0.670|
|10||5||Johann Zarco||Pramac Racing||Ducati||1:31.603||+0.676|
|11||20||Fabio Quartararo||Monster Energy Yamaha||Yamaha||1:31.708||+0.781|
|12||41||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1:31.820||+0.893|
|13||21||Franco Morbidelli||Monster Energy Yamaha||Yamaha||1:31.832||+0.905|
|14||73||Alex Marquez||LCR Honda Castrol||Honda||1:31.852||+0.925|
|15||9||Danilo Petrucci||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:32.083||+1.156|
|16||27||Iker Lecuona||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:32.098||+1.171|
|17||88||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||1:32.208||+1.281|
|18||12||Maverick Viñales||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||1:32.214||+1.287|
|19||23||Enea Bastianini||Avintia Esponsorama||Ducati||1:32.219||+1.292|
|20||10||Luca Marini||Sky VR46 Avintia||Ducati||1:32.229||+1.302|
|21||46||Valentino Rossi||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||1:32.285||+1.358|