Marco Bezzecchi © Getty Images
Marco Bezzecchi topped the timesheets in Friday’s opening free practice at the British MotoGP as the world championship resumed after its mid-season break.
In a change of format, the first session now has no significance on Saturday’s qualifying order, leaving riders and teams the chance to try out different bike and tyre setups without consequence.
Bezzecchi began the weekend encouragingly to post the quickest lap of 2min 0.295sec with his Mooney VR46 newly-married teammate Luca Marini next best.
Jorge Martin was third as Ducati’s world champion and series leader Francesco Bagnaia struggled for initial pace down in 14th.
This is the ninth round of the 20-race season with Bagnaia leading Martin by 35 points and Bezzecchi a further point behind in the riders’ standings.
The MotoGP grid welcomed back Pol Espargaro, the Spanish rider making his return after suffering serious injuries following a violent crash at the opening weekend in Portugal in March.
The top 10 times from Friday’s second hour-long practice will automatically go through to Saturday’s main qualifying.
This group will be joined as usual by the fastest two riders from Q1 to determine the first five rows of the grid both for Saturday’s sprint race and Sunday’s main event.