Ducatis were in control after a somewhat fraught first day at Misano, with threatening weather suggesting that today’s top ten will be crucial for Saturday’s Q2, and both Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi not in the frame after the morning session.
Marquez (Repsol Honda) made massive amends right at the start of the afternoon session, going straight to the top of the sheets. Rossi left his bid until the end, and the Movistar Yamaha rider only narrowly made it, placing ninth.
By then first Jorge Lorenzo had taken to the top, then finally his factory Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso repeated his morning domination to outrank the Spaniard by less than two tenths, making it a Desmosedici one-two.
Times were inside the race lap record, but still more than half-a-second short of Lorenzo’s absolute record, set on a Yamaha in 2016.
Cal Crutchlow (Castrol Honda) was just a couple of hundredths slower in third, with the top 14 times at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli all within a second of provisional pole.
The Ducati team had tested at Misano two weeks ago, along with Yamaha, who had followed up with further post-Silverstone tests at Aragon. Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) was enjoying the benefit, slotting into fourth, pushing Marquez to fifth. Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati) was sixth.
Alex Rins (Ecstar Suzuki) was a late-comer, edging into seventh; which pushed Rossi to an eventual eighth, narrowly ahead of second Suzuki rider Andrea Iannone’s ninth-fastest morning-session time.
Tenth on combined times for a first chance at a Q2 outing was rookie Franco Morbidelli (EG-VDS Honda). This meant that Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha) and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, placed 11th and 12th, will head the list of those hoping for a dry FP3 tomorrow morning, for another chance.
Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati) was sixth in the morning before slipping off, and fell again in the afternoon without improving his time, dropping to 14th overall. Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha) also fell twice, placed 25th, and Iannone also suffered a high-speed get-off in the afternoon.
The looming clouds did no more than loom in the subsequent Moto2 practice, where times were slower than the lap record but typically close, with 17 within one second of pace-setter Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Kalex).
The German, still hunting for a first podium finish, was just two hundredth quicker than points leader Pecco Bagnaia (SKY VR46 Kalex), with the German chassis dominating the top ten times.
Rookie Joan Mir (EG-VDS Kalex) was third, ahead of team-mate Alex Marquez and rising star Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Kalex); then veteran Simone Corsi from Jorge Navarro, who crashed in the afternoon but was eighth from his morning time. Ninth was former Misano winner Lorenzo Baldassarri; then Spaniard Augusto Fernandez (all Kalex); before the KTMs of Dominique Aegerter and Red Bull-backed title contender Miguel Oliveira, in 12th.
Remy Gardner was 15th overall.
In the earlier Moto3 practice, five of the championship top six rose to the top, with former points leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Honda) holding the advantage over current leader Marco Bezzecchi (Redox KTM) and a clutch more Hondas by two tenths of a second.
Both sessions stayed dry, the afternoon faster than the morning; and Martin was three tenths inside the race lap record as he claws his way back into contention after injury ruled him out at Brno three races ago.
Enea Bastianini (Leopard Honda) was third fastest, then Gabriel Rodrigo’s RBA KTM narrowly ahead of Aron Canet (EG Honda).
With Philipp Oettl (Sudmetal KTM) sixth ahead of Leopard Honda’s Lorenzo Dalla Porta and impressive wild card Kevin Zannoni on the Italian-made TM, the championship absentee was Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Honda), placed 13th.
By Michael Scott