Day one of the 2017 MotoGP™ eSport Championship was underway this morning as the talented finalists prepared themselves for Free Practice and Official Bike Selection onsite at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia. With the eight specially designed gaming stations taking center-stage within the eSport arena, 16 competitors had their Free Practice with the official MotoGP™17 game on PlayStation®4.
Topping the timesheets was Las Palmas local ‘MMANDZUKIC17’, with the best lap on the Valencian track of 1:25.320. The fastest time allowed ‘MMANDZUKIC17’ to be the first amongst the qualifiers to select a bike for Friday’s semifinal – the chosen machine would also take him through to the Main Event if the Spanish rider was one of eight quickest riders.
All bikes used within the Championship Grand Final are pre-set to identical specifications, which means the competitors choice comes down to personal preference on livery and ‘style’ alone. As a popular favourite the world over, ‘MMANDZUKIC17’ selected the Movistar Yamaha like that ridden by Spain’s own Maverick Viñales and the unstoppable Valentino Rossi. The player from Las Palmas now moves into Group 1 for Qualifying Session for a spot in the semifinal race.
Only 0:00.150 seconds behind ‘MMANDZUKIC17’, was ‘TRASTEVERE73’, who qualified for the trip to compete in Valencia as one of three Italians during Online Challenge #4 in Misano. ‘TRASTEVERE73’ will lead Group 2 in the Qualifying Session and took the Movistar Yamaha YZR-M1 as bike of choice as well. After an impressive battle for third and fourth positions, ‘AADRIAN_26’ nabbed the next. Brother to ‘MMANDZUKIC17’, ‘AADRIAN_26’ came through with a fastest lap time of 1:25.487, and the Spanish rider chose the Monster Yamaha Tech3 bike. The two will now compete together in a sibling-showdown during the Group 1 Semifinal. Close behind was second youngest gamer, ‘IVANGAMER2346’ who went with a Red Bull KTM themed machine.
Fifth position went to another Italian ‘LUIGI48GP’, and Andrea Iannone’s Team ECSTAR Suzuki. ‘PAUL_IG’ and second youngest competitor ‘VINDEX813’ placed sixth and seventh, selecting a Monster Yamaha Tech3 and Team Ducati bike respectively. Perhaps not surprising that the Italian player ‘VINDEX813’ was keen to capture a spot one of his nation’s favourite manufacturers. In eighth place was ‘MOTERO_1’ who chose the Ducati as well.
Rounding out the top ten was Germany’s ‘TIMOTHYMCGARDEN’ in ninth and ‘IOTIFOROSSI’ taking tenth. That put ‘TIMOTHYMCGARDEN’ as the only competitor in the fastest ten not of from Spain or Italy, and the lone ranger chose the Team Suzuki ECSATR bike, the same machine that awarded him a qualifying spot for the MotoGP™ eSport Championship during Challenge #6 at the picturesque Phillip Island GP Circuit. Italian ‘IOTIFOROSSI’ went with another of his nation’s marks, with the Aprilia of Team Gresini Racing.
‘RICK_MOTOGP_35’ will compete for the Qualifying Session in Group 1 after making a last-minute push into eleventh place and chose the Repsol HRC Honda, followed closely by ‘NJIRK5211’ and ‘THEFUGIA’, who picked out the OCTO Pramac Ducati and Reale Avintia Racing Ducati respectively. ‘JORGEGASEC’, ‘KYRANDL49’ and ‘PISTOL_73’ rounded out the last of the MotoGP™ eSport competitors on the timesheet. The Spaniard ‘JORGEGASEC’ selected OCTO Pramac Ducati as the bike of choice, while ‘KYRANDL49’ took the Pull&Bear Aspar Ducati and ‘PISTOL_73’ will be competing in Group 2 for Qualifying for a spot on the Semifinal grid with his personal favourite, the LCR Honda of his compatriot Cal Crutchlow.