Mugello welcomed the premier class back after a year’s hiatus forced by the pandemic but the home favourites had a low key first session, while Maverick Viñales stole the spotlight. After Michele Pirro started out fast on his favourite playground, the Spaniard took over at the front and resisted a late charge from compatriot Alex Rins to keep top spot to the checkered flag. Johann Zarco did not even need fresh rubber to climb into second, two tenths off the lead, while Rins dropped to third ahead of teammate Joan Mir.
Franco Morbidelli was the first of the Italian brigade in fifth position, ahead of Pecco Bagnaia and Pirro – the Ducati test rider standing in for the recovering Jorge Martin. Fabio Quartararo very briefly led the way, before dropping back to eighth place and was the last rider to post a time within a second of his teammate’s. Le Mans victor Jack Miller and lead KTM man Miguel Oliveira rounded out the top ten, while the likes of Takaaki Nakagami and the Espargaro brothers narrowly missed out. Two of the names frequently mentioned in Mugello, Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi, started their weekend just outside of the top 15, over a second and a half behind the leader.