efe-epaBarcelona (Spain)

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo on Friday topped the timesheet after the first day of free practice ahead of the Catalonia MotoGP held at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, while Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez ended up ninth.

Marquez of Spain, who dominated the first practice session earlier in the day, decided in the afternoon to switch from a soft rear tire to hard, which is set to be used in Sunday’s race.

This decision resulted in Marquez slowing down to take the 17th position in the second session of the day.

Quartararo, who knows the Catalan circuit layout very well, ended in one minute and 40.079 seconds, 0.281s faster than Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati and 0.302s of Takaaki Nakagami of LCR Honda Idemitsu.

Red Bull’s Pol Espargaro of Spain gave a surprise performance as he finished the second session in the fourth place with 1'40.393.

Espargaro said that the new rear suspension system in which the swingarm is made of carbon fiber, as well as minor changes made to the chassis, has allowed him to experience improvement.

Meanwhile, Marquez’s compatriot and teammate Jorge Lorenzo failed to meet expectations despite the changes engineers made to his motorcycle during the tests he did in Japan, including some appendages on the rear edges of the fuel tank that help to hold the rider’s thighs on the bends.

Lorenzo came in 13th, clocking 1'40.816.

Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi managed to improve his performance to jump two positions to the seventh with 1'40.520, behind countryman Franco Morbidelli.

Italy’s Danilo Petrucci of Ducati, who won the Italian Grand Prix, made it to the eighth place after he ended the first session in the 18th spot.

Spaniard Alex Rins of Suzuki GSX RR finished 10th, four spots ahead of Maverick Viñales of Yamaha.

jll/sm/ch