Action was hotting up on Friday afternoon and it wasn’t just down to the lovely weather that Mugello has been spoiling us with. It was business as usual for much of the session, Marc Marquez setting camp at the top of the timesheets until an early shootout ensued for the final five minutes. That was when Pramac’s new Lamborghini livery stole the limelight not just because it’s pretty cool looking but also because rookie Pecco Bagnaia attacked the top of the timesheets and finished the day as the fastest man on track. Good timing too, as it moved the cameras from his unlucky teammate, Jack Miller having just run wide at turn 12 and having to abandon ship on a hot lap.
With Bagnaia leading the way for Ducati, fellow rookie Fabio Quartararo was once again the top Yamaha. The Frenchman finished second, half a tenth down on Bagnaia and ahead of the factory Ducati of Danilo Petrucci. Another tenth down was Pol Espargaro, who had another excellent day on the KTM, having been the first rider to drop into the 1:46s – a performance only achieved by five men, the final one being Maverick Viñales in fifth spot.
Best of the rest was Marquez, the Honda man playing out his favourite strategy of doing long runs on used rubber instead of a final time attack but the Spaniard still held on to a top six position. Despite being on such different machinery, Alex Rins, Cal Crutchlow and Miller finished the session within two hundredths of a second of each other, with Franco Morbidelli rounding up the top ten.
Andrea Dovizioso would have been relieved that the forecast for Saturday morning looks lovely and bright given that the Italian missed out on the provisional top ten. Johann Zarco found himself seven hundredths of a second back on a factory Ducati man but it wasn’t all great news as the Frenchman recorded the first crash of the weekend for the premier class halfway through the session. Some other people having a hard time seemed to be Valentino Rossi in 18th spot and Jorge Lorenzo in 20th – one better than the other at poker in practice though.