Takaaki Nakagami was the quickest man in the FP1 session in Styria.
MotoGP is back once again, oh how we have missed it so much! It returns with a fairly special weekend this weekend in Styria with both Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa making their returns to MotoGP following their respective retirements, Pedrosa’s dating back to 2018.
It was a worrisome session for some riders with two KTM’s dipping out within minutes of each other, Pedrosa parking his bike up and walking off before Miguel Oliveira had a slow but scary hi-side at the sketchy turn two, landing directly on his head needing some time to re-adjust, his weekend is now in doubt given the severity of head injuries, he looks to be ‘ok’ but he will need to be evaluated as the hours and days go on.
For Nakagami it was a perfect start, he very nearly took his first podium here last year before the race restart in race two, he has fond memories of last year which will push him through the weekend, if he can get a good race start there’s absolutely the chance he can battle for his first-ever MotoGP podium.
Joan Mir is another rider with some good memories of this place, taking his first Moto3 win here back in 2016 and his first MotoGP podium here in 2020 before leading Race two by a country mile once again being caught out by the race restart due to a lack of tyres, he goes well here and it’s been proven by his early performance. Suzuki has rocked up to Austria with a new ride height adjuster which they expect to gain them a massive 0.400 seconds a lap, this is partly an explanation as to why both are within the top four, Rins is a strong rider at the circuit crashing out of the lead last year.
Aleix Espargaro was between both Suzuki riders in P3 0.378 seconds back from Nakagami, the Aprilia isn’t expected to be strong here but the Aprilia continue to challenge our expectations and broaden our horizons.
The Repsol Honda and Monster Yamaha riders were bunched together between P5 and P9 with Pol Espargaro leading his teammate Marc Marquez in P5 and P6 only split by 0.221 seconds. They were ahead of the Yamaha boys with Vinales leading title leader Quartararo split by 0.088 with the Frenchman matching the lap time of countryman Johann Zarco clocking in a 1:24.580.
Jack Miller rounded off the top 10 ahead of a superb Dani Pedrosa who looks like he’s never left, three years away from MotoGP and he’s still incredibly quick despite the sport being the quickest and closest it’s ever been EVER, he was 1.045 seconds from Nakagami, unreal.
Further down the order we have Luca Marini in P14, Valentino Rossi in P16 and Cal Crutchlow in last place after not riding a bike since April.
Full results –