Franco Morbidelli gave himself a welcome boost ahead of the penultimate round of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship in Valencia by supplementing his pole position with the quickest time in warm-up.
The Italian was the class of the field in qualifying on Saturday, emerging almost half-a-second clear of his rivals on a day when his full 2020-spec Yamaha counterparts struggled down the order.
He looked similarly impressive in warm-up to keep his Petronas SRT machine up top, just over a tenth clear of Pol Espargaro on the KTM, who was the best of three riders coming into the race well placed to become a potential tenth different race winner.
Though still within range of a title win, Andrea Dovizioso has work to do this afternoon from a lowly 17th on the grid, fifth in warm-up hinted at a potential belated breakthrough for the Ducati man, while Brad Binder will also look to capitalise on his evident race pace improvements on the KTM after taking sixth best.
Aleix Espargaro was seventh quickest, matching his grid position, as he heads into the race looking to improve upon his and Aprilia’s best finish of tenth place thus far this year.
On what could be a momentous day for Suzuki and Joan Mir, the champion-elect was a modest eighth and looking a touch nervy as the team fiddled with tyre pressures late on, though he was still better placed than his closest rivals Fabio Quartararo (ninth) and Alex Rins (16th).
With 37 points splitting Mir from the aforementioned pair, Mir – who starts 12th – needs only a podium finish to assure the title, though with Quartararo and Rins down in 11th and 14th he is well placed for other permutations to work in his favour if they cannot make rapid progress up the order.