Reigning champion Marc Marquez stamped his authority on MotoGP's return to action at Jerez on Wednesday morning.

The Repsol Honda star, pitching for a seventh premier-class title this season, was a frontrunner throughout the 90-minutes, going on to deliver the only sub 1m 38s lap in the final stages.

That knocked Pramac Ducati's Jack Miller from the top and, having already pitted, the Australian was later pushed all the way down to seventh by flurry of late time attacks.

Suzuki's Alex Rins got closest to Marquez (+0.252s) followed by Monster Yamaha's Valentino Rossi (+0.281s). The 41-year-old shot up the order after spending much of the session outside the top ten.

By contrast, team-mate Maverick Vinales briefly topped the timesheets before dropping to 13th.

Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro had tied Vinales' then pace-setting lap just before the halfway stage and another impressive outing for the 2020 RS-GP ended with Espargaro in fourth place (+0.371s).

Fabio Quartararo was consistently in the top five this morning, the Frenchman eventually putting his Factory-spec Petronas Yamaha 0.371s from Marquez.

LCR's Cal Crutchlow - being linked with a potential move to Aprilia next year after the news that Alex Marquez will be placed at LCR - was another late riser for sixth (+0.372s), just ahead of good friend Miller, who had been on top for much of the final half-hour.

Miller, joining the factory Ducati team in 2021, avoided lockdown by returning to Australia in March and was thus able to continue motocross training while his European-based rivals were confined indoors.

An impresive lap by Tech3 KTM's Miguel Oliveira made it all six manufacturers in the top eight (+0.485s), with fellow satellite riders Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Ducati) completing the top ten.

Scorching temperatures are expected this weekend due to the later start for the Spanish round. Michelin reports that the track temp varied between 37-44 degrees this morning, which is already above last year's race temp of 42.

The second MotoGP test session, the last chance for track time before the start of the Jerez race weekend, will take place from 14:00-15:30.

Among those looking for a stronger showing this afternoon will be factory Ducati team-mates Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, who were just 19th and 20th on the morning timesheets although both within 1.31s of Marquez.

Dovizioso was riding for the first time since fracturing his collarbone in a motocross accident at the end of June.

Today's test, like the pair of season-opening race weekends, is being held behind closed doors with a strict Covid-19 safety protocol in place for paddock members.

CLICK HERE for the full MotoGP test Session 1 results

 

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