Iannone leads MotoGP practice at Mugello for Ducati

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Andrea Iannone gave Ducati a taste of what it will be missing in 2017 by topping the timesheets in practice for MotoGP’s Italian Grand Prix at Mugello on Friday.

After seeing Yonny Hernandez top a damp morning practice on the intermediate tire, Iannone paced the field in FP2 with a fastest lap of 1:47.696 to finish four-tenths of a second clear of defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Lorenzo will replace Iannone at Ducati next year, with the Italian announcing on Thursday that he would in turn be joining Suzuki on a two-year deal.

It may only have been practice, but Iannone was pleased to have kicked off both his own and Ducati’s home race weekend in confident fashion.

“I’m happy because here in Mugello we run at home and it is a very important race for us and therefore we must be able to make the most of our potential,” Iannone said.

“The afternoon session began a little hard for us because the track did not have as much rubber down as the test we did here before Le Mans.

“We have a little less grip in the rear and especially at the start the feeling was not so good. But I managed to find a good feeling and to push hard.

“In the end it was a very positive day, even if tomorrow we still have to improve some aspects, but we already know what they are.”

Michele Pirro impressed on the third Ducati entry for the weekend to finish third ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Marc Marquez. Home favorite Valentino Rossi ended the day sixth ahead of future Yamaha teammate Maverick Vinales, while Scott Redding, Cal Crutchlow and Pol Espargaro rounded out the top 10.