Now, MotoGP returns to Jerez in wildly different conditions to what it found during last year’s double-header run in scorching weather in July.
In the cooler conditions, top spot changed hands at a frenetic pace as Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro set the early pace with a 1m40.834s.
This was quickly usurped by Fabio Quartararo, with the Yamaha rider edging ahead with a 1m40.661s before Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales dipped into the 1m39s with a 1m39.792s.
Espargaro, Quartararo and Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbidelli continued to trade top spot as the opening 15 minutes of FP1 wore on.
It was the Aprilia rider who set a lengthy benchmark with a 1m38.260s, before eventually bettering that with a 1m38.204s with just over seven minutes remaining.
This came under fire right at the end of the session, when KTM’s Binder started lighting up the timing screens
After a tough start to 2021, largely as a result of Michelin’s front tyre allocation at the opening rounds
One-time MotoGP race winner Binder shot to the top of the order with a 1m38.013s to end FP1 on top.
Aleix Espargaro held onto second with his 1m38.204s, while Honda’s Marc Marquez completed the top three as he returns to the scene of his season-ending accident last year.
Star man, Marquez headed Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia and Quartararo, with Pramac’s Johann Zarco rounding out the top six on his Ducati.
So, Miguel Oliveira completed a strong morning for KTM in seventh ahead of the sister works team Honda of Pol Espargaro.