Miller heads practice at Aragon MotoGP as Quartararo struggles

Alcañiz (Spain) (AFP) –


Ducati rider Jack Miller set the best combined time of the first two free practice sessions of the Aragon MotoGP on Friday, with world championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) unable to do better than seventh.

Australian Miller posted a quickest time of 1min 47.613sec which was 0.273sec ahead of Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro and 0.284sec better off than Quartararo's teammate Cal Crutchlow.

Six-time Spanish world champion Marc Marquez seemed well on his way to finishing first after setting the fastest time in the first practice session in the morning.

But he fell during the second session in the afternoon, damaging his bike and showing a rare flash of temper as he stood up.

The Honda rider, who was born close to the Aragon circuit, is 147 points behind Quartararo who has already won five races this season.

The 22-year-old Frenchman has struggled at MotorLand in the past and he was again off the pace, lapping 0.421sec slower than Miller.

In spite of that Quartararo, who can improve on his speed in Saturday's third practice session before qualifying, pronounced himself happy with his performance.

"I'm pleasantly surprised by my pace because I'm really consistent," he said. "I am satisfied with what we did today."

It was a less successful day for Quartararo's former teammate Maverick Vinales who is making his Aprilia debut after parting company with Yamaha.

Vinales, who was suspended by Yamaha and accused of trying to sabotage his own bike during the Styrian GP, took his time getting to grips with his new machine and could only clock the 19th fastest time.

The drivers with the 10 best times of the first three free practice sessions take part directly in the second qualifying session (Q2), which determines the first 12 places on the starting grid. The others must participate in a preliminary qualifying session (Q1), the two fastest of which are drafted for Q2.

Combined practice times for Aragon Grand Prix

1. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati) 1:47.613, 2. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) at 0.273sec, 3. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Yamaha) 0.284, 4. Johann Zarco (FRA/Ducati) 0.375, 5. Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati) 0.410, 6. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati) 0.419, 7. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/Yamaha) 0.421, 8. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 0.435, 9. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN/Honda) 0.444, 10. Pol Espargaro (ESP/Honda) 0.553