Miller, Gardner on top at Valencia

Jack Miller

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

Pos Number Rider Team Marque Best time Gap
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

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