Maverick Vinales led the way in first free practice for the 2020 Aragon MotoGP, a session delayed by 30mins to allow temperatures to rise but not warm enough to prevent five crashes, including one for series leader Fabio Quartararo.
Though the rain of Le Mans from last weekend has stayed away as MotoGP returns to the supposedly warmer climes of Spain, frosty conditions at this time of the morning forced organsiers to put a delay on proceedings for safety reasons as temperatures struggled to ascend beyond 10-degrees.
When the session did eventually get underway there were some tentative early stages with Danilo Petrucci reporting ‘zero grip’ when he returned to the pit box.
And so it proved for some key riders, most notably Quartararo who suffered a rather violent crash towards the end of the session when the front folded at high speed the moment he touched the brakes into Turn 8. Though separated from the bike, the sudden slap on the asphalt would leave him limping away while marshals extricated his Yamaha buried deep in the air fence.
Others to fall included Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli, who suffered identical crashes into Turn 14 – again under braking – while Alex Marquez and Iker Lecuona fell at Turn 2, the first right-hand corner on the layout for some time and a hotspot for incidents in the past.
Back on the timesheets, Vinales survived a few wobbles to turn in the fastest time of the morning at 1m 49.866s – albeit a full three seconds slower than Marc Marquez’s 2019 FP1 effort held in a warmer September.
Despite their tumbles, Morbidelli and Quartararo were still second and third best, from another of the fallers Marquez, the Le Mans podium winner impressing to jump aboard his second Repsol Honda and produce his most convincing dry weather lap of the year.
Riding the bike that dominated last year’s Aragon race, Takaaki Nakagami was an encouraging fifth best on the LCR Honda, with Joan Mir popping up into sixth late on having persevered with just a single tyre all session on the Suzuki.
Pol Espargaro was seventh to put some demons to rest on the KTM having injured himself at Aragon for the past two seasons, while Cal Crutchlow, Alex Rins and Aleix Espargaro completed the top ten positions.