Morbidelli quickest in Teruel practice as title contenders reach Q2

Alcañiz (Spain) (AFP) –


Italian Franco Morbidelli posted the fastest time from the first three practice sessions for the Teruel Grand Prix on Saturday, as the leading three riders in the standings booked their places in second qualifying.

Championship leader Joan Mir, who has never won a MotoGP race, grabbed the final automatic spot in Q2 by finishing 10th quickest on his Suzuki in Alcaniz.

His closest title challenger, Frenchman Fabio Quartararo, safely eased through in third with a lap just 0.068 seconds slower than Morbidelli's effort of one minute and 47.333 seconds.

Quartararo, who rides for Yamaha's SRT satellite team, is only six points behind Mir in the championship.

With four races of the coronavirus-truncated campaign remaining, Yamaha's Maverick Vinales is still in contention, sitting just 12 points off the pace.

The 25-year-old Spaniard also impressed on Saturday by going fourth-fastest.

Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso, who has finished second in the world championship behind Marc Marquez in each of the last three years, suffered a blow to his title hopes as he finished 14th on the timesheets.

The Italian is fourth in the standings, but only 15 points behind Mir in a season blown wide open by Marquez's injury in the opening race in Spain.

Best times from Friday and Saturday's first three practice sessions for the Teruel Grand Prix:

1. Franco Morbidelli (ITA/Yamaha-SRT) 1min 47.333sec, 2. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN/Honda-LCR) at 0.059sec, 3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha-SRT) 0.068, 4. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha) 0.140, 5. Alex Marquez (ESP/Honda) 0.213, 6. Iker Lecuona (ESP/KTM-Tech3) 0.215, 7. Alex Rins (ESP/Suzuki) 0.221, 8. Miguel Oliveira (POR/KTM-Tech3) 0.292, 9. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Honda-LCR) 0.375, 10. Joan Mir (ESP/Suzuki) 0.382

Selected: 14. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) 0.545

Note: Leading 10 riders qualify automatically for second qualifying session.