Aprilia dominates as Espargaro tops Argentina MotoGP FP2

Aprilia dominates as Espargaro tops Argentina MotoGP FP2

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro battled back to regain the lead with the quickest overall time on day one of the Argentina MotoGP after watching teammate Maverick Vinales dominate FP1.

Aleix Espargaro dominated the final MotoGP practice session of the day in Argentina as Aprilia once again excelled, while Fabio Quartararo, the championship-contending Yamaha rider, and all of the KTMs were relegated to Q1.

Espargaro recorded a time of 1m38.518s to take the lead for the day. He went a tenth and a half faster than teammate Maverick Vinales, who had topped the first session.

The VR46 Ducati recorded a 3-4, with Marco Bezzecchi leading Luca Marini. This was behind the Aprilia clean sweep, after the Noale bikes were also 1-2 in first session.

The current-spec Desmosedicis was bested by Pramac’s Johann Zarco in fifth, who was followed by the defending champion Pecco Bagnaia and the other Pramac rider, Jorge Martin in seventh.

Takaaki Nakagami of LCR Honda and Franco Morbidelli of Yamaha, who were both under pressure because of their current performances and contractual obligations, put on fantastic performances on Friday and were both able to secure automatic Q2 positions.

The final automatic Q2 slot went to Alex Rins, who took the place of Marquez’s LCR replacement after Nakagami’s late improvement cost him a Q1 spot. Marquez was unable to reply and finished 0.067s off 10th position.

The KTM RC16s, which seemed so promising in Portimao, disappointed. Even a tow from Marini wasn’t quite enough to let lead rider Binder cross the finish line and qualify for Q2.

Yet it was enough to propel Binder over Quartararo as well as Joan Mir, who was the only member of the Honda works team this weekend due to Marc Marquez’s unavailability.

The 2021 champion is having what may very well be his worst weekend as a Yamaha factory rider so far, and throughout all of Friday, he appeared to be well behind Morbidelli, making his final 14th place hardly surprising.

It was another one-crash practice after Rins’ crash in the first practice. Rookie Augusto Fernandez (Tech3 Gas Gas) was the one who fell, rolling fairly severely when he hit the gravel, but he was unharmed and ultimately continued to display what appears to be excellent pace relative to the works KTMs as he finished 17th out of 18 riders.

1^1Aleix EspargaroSPAAprilia Racing (RS-GP23)1’38.518s20/21335k
2˅1Maverick ViñalesSPAAprilia Racing (RS-GP23)+0.162s24/26338k
3^6Marco BezzecchiITAMooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)+0.249s19/24335k
4^3Luca MariniITAMooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)+0.315s23/25335k
5^1Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP22)+0.391s20/22334k
6^4Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo (GP23)+0.426s19/20336k
7˅4Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP23)+0.488s22/25336k
8˅4Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)+0.553s25/25330k
9˅1Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.562s21/23332k
10^1Alex RinsSPALCR Honda (RC213V)+0.599s22/24334k
11˅6Alex MarquezSPAGresini Ducati (GP22)+0.666s21/26335k
12^4Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)+0.684s16/22333k
13^5Joan MirSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+0.719s21/23331k
14^1Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+0.746s25/27334k
15˅3Fabio Di GiannantonioITAGresini Ducati (GP22)+0.770s24/25333k
16˅2Jack MillerAUSRed Bull KTM (RC16)+0.858s19/24333k
17˅4Augusto FernandezSPATech3 GASGAS (RC16)*+1.043s16/20332k
18˅1Raul FernandezSPARNF Aprilia (RS-GP22)+1.057s21/23334k

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