Light rain fell during this afternoon’s two qualifying sessions at Misano on Italy’s Adriatic coast, making life particularly treacherous for MotoGP riders.
Latest weather forecasts suggest that rain may return to Misano for tomorrow, the 14th of the 20 races counting towards this year’s MotoGP World Championship, so riders will need to be ready for whatever the weather brings – a dry, damp or soaking-wet track.
Honda’s four MotoGP riders weren’t able to make the best of this afternoon’s tricky conditions, with Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol Honda RC213V) the fastest, taking a sixth-row start. Tomorrow the 26-year-old former Moto2 and Moto3 World Champion will aim for his third points-scoring race in the last four.
During the Q1 session Marquez was given advice by older brother Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) who arrived at Misano last night to prepare for his first MotoGP ride since he underwent a humeral osteotomy on his injured right arm in early June.
The 29-year-old six-times MotoGP king will ride a MotoGP bike for the first time since May’s Italian Grand Prix during Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s official tests here. The decision follows two successful exploratory outings aboard his Honda CBR600RR test bike in Spain. It is still too early to predict when he will return to racing.
The next fastest Honda rider today after the younger Marquez was Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), who qualified on the seventh row of the grid. The 30-year-old Spaniard was on fine form this morning, running ninth fastest in this morning’s dry FP3 session and pushing hard to further improve his position when he slid off at high speed. Although not seriously hurt he was battered and bruised from the fall, which didn’t help him perform at his best during qualifying.
Team-mate Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), who is once again substituting for Marc Marquez, will start the race immediately next to Espargaro. Bradl’s usual job is as Honda’s official test rider, so like his fellow RC213V riders he will be racing tomorrow, then testing on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Like Espargaro, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) had realistic hopes of a better performance today, until he slid off in the closing stages of the FP3 session. The 30-year-old will therefore start the race from the row behind the Repsol Honda pair.
Tomorrow’s San Marino Grand Prix is the penultimate race of the main European segment of the MotoGP championship. After the Aragon round on September 18 the paddock jets east towards Twin Ring Motegi for the first Japanese Grand Prix since 2019, on September 25. The Japanese round is followed by the Thai, Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix. The 2022 season concludes back in Spain, with the Valencia Grand Prix on November 6.