The Misano round could not have started in a better way for the home brand: Ducati has been making a big noise since Friday’s free practice and places three riders in the top four positions. Alvaro Bautista took the lead and with a time of 1’33”825 did the honors and leapt to the lead of the combined standings. The reigning champion precedes the four-cylinder platoon, interrupted only by Toprak Razgatlioglu’s Yamaha.
It was the Turkish who made his mark in the morning session, demonstrating once again that he was the true anti-Bautista. Toprak beats the reigning champion in FP1 and is fifth in the afternoon session. The excellent time on Friday morning, however, allows him to undermine the Aruba rider in second position in the combined, three tenths behind him.
If Toprak is a confirmation, Danilo Petrucci is the surprise of the day. On his home track, the rookie flies and climbs up to second place in the afternoon session, closing Friday with an excellent third time. The Barni team rider pays four tenths and a half from the top and is the best of the independent riders. Great satisfaction for the rider from Terni, who manages to stay in the leading group and also ahead of the other official Michael Ruben Rinaldi.
The rider from Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna arrives at Misano on the strength of the potential shown in Barcelona and ends Friday’s free practice in fourth position, just under half a second behind his teammate and undisputed leader of the day. With the exception of Bautista, the three chasing riders are all very close, followed by Alex Lowes.
The British rider is fifth and better than the Kawasaki riders, while Jonathan Rea is struggling today. The six-time world champion does not go beyond the ninth time in the combined standings and pays for a delay of almost nine tenths from the top. Three independent riders are placed between the two Provec riders: Garrett Gerloff is sixth and first BMW, while Axel Bassani (here the first part of the exclusive interview) is seventh on the Ducati of the Motocorsa team. Dominique Aegerter follows, eighth with the R1 of the GRT formation. Closing the top 10 we find Andrea Locatelli, fresh from renewal with the official Yamaha.
The Hondas are struggling, unable to enter the top ten positions, the best is Xavi Vierge who finishes in 12th position, while Iker Lecuona is only 15th. The official BMWs were also delayed, with Scott Redding 11th and Tom Sykes, replacing the injured Michael van der Mark, 13th. So the other Italians: Gabriele Ruiu is 19th ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri, 20th. Luca Vitali, making his debut in the world championship to replace Oliver Konig in the Orelac team, finished in 23rd position.