Fabio Quartararo, who is currently leading the MotoGP standings, won the first practice session for the San Marino Grand Prix as Andrea Dovizioso started his final race before retiring.
After a challenging comeback with RNF Yamaha, three-time championship runner-up Dovizioso declared during the British Grand Prix weekend that Misano would be his final MotoGP race before retiring.
While he finished FP1 on Friday morning in 16th place, his Yamaha teammate Quartararo, driving for the factory team M1, took the lead.
Pol Espargaro of Honda was replaced at the top of the timesheets by Quartararo little over 10 minutes into the 45-minute practice.
Nine minutes later, the Yamaha rider improved to a 1m33.069s before being replaced by Michele Pirro, a Ducati test rider and wildcard who is an expert at Misano because the Italian manufacturer does much of its private testing there.
With just over 10 minutes of the session left, Maverick Vinales would set the fastest Aprilia time with a 1m32.706s.
However, his former Yamaha colleague Quartararo would quickly overtake him at the top of the standings with a time of 1m32.498s.
Quartararo’s lead over the rest of the competition increased to 0.224 seconds during his final effort at the death, as he finished FP1 in the quickest time possible with a time of 1m32.313s.
The reigning champion had a few front-end issues that left him clearly irritated on the bike, so it wasn’t a problem-free session for him.
Jack Miller of Ducati came in second, followed by Quartararo, Pirro, and the Aprilia duo of Aleix Espargaro and Vinales.
Franesco Bagnaia finished sixth ahead of his future factory teammate Enea Bastianini (Gresini), who celebrated his maiden MotoGP podium at the San Marino GP one year ago. Bagnaia is coming to Misano off of three consecutive victories to revive his title aspirations.
The Ducati rider angered LCR Honda’s Alex Marquez in the closing moments of FP1 when he pulled off at Turn 3 while Marquez was pushing on a hot lap, forcing him to abort. Marquez was 14th at the finish line.
Kazuki Watanabe, who is filling in for the injured Joan Mir for this weekend’s MotoGP, was not classified since he was 4.981s off the lead and outside of the 105% standard, placing him outside the top ten, leaving Alex Rins in eighth place.
Luca Marini of VR46 Ducati and Johann Zarco of Pramac finished in the top 10, ahead of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder of KTM.
At 2:10 CEST, the San Marino GP’s second practice session begins.