Espargaro leads Aprilia 1-2 in Friday’s practice at Catalunya

Espargaro leads Aprilia 1-2 in Friday's practice at Catalunya

Aleix Espargaro held onto the top spot in the timings during Friday’s practice at the Catalunya MotoGP, with Aprilia Racing teammate Maverick Vinales just behind in second.

Aleix Espargaro continued to dominate the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya’s practice on Friday, leading teammate Maverick Vinales by 0.362 seconds in the second practice session of the weekend.

The Aprilia rider concentrated on finishing long runs throughout the session while his rivals took turns setting the pace and the times dropped significantly below Espargaro’s FP1 best.

Espargaro, who had been in the lead during the morning’s FP1 session, stepped it up a notch with a record-setting 1 minute, 38.686 second lap, placing him comfortably ahead of teammate Vinales on the sister Aprilia RS-GP.

Although Aprilia gave off a great first impression, they will have to battle with the supremacy of Ducati in Q2 given that seven of the manufacturer’s riders automatically advanced to the session that would determine pole position.

Espargaro came out strong in the final 60 seconds of the practice as he sought to secure the Friday benchmark time, swiftly overcoming Johann Zarco of Pramac Ducati and then Vinales, who set an incredible 1:39.048s, making it to the top of the timing screens.

Francesco Bagnaia, the leader of the championship, was the fastest of the Ducati marque in third, closely followed by Johann Zarco in fourth, and Brad Binder gave KTM at least one rider in Q2 with his easy passage through the rest of the riders in fifth.

The remaining top ten slots were filled by Ducati bikes, with the Gresini Racing team’s Alex Marquez and Fabio di Giannantonio wedging Marco Bezzecchi inbetween sixth and eighth place respectively.

Enea Bastianini shared the excitement as he finally made it into the top 10 for a direct Q2 slot in ninth place, and Jorge Martin rounded out the top ten on the Pramac Ducati.

With just 0.028 seconds eliminating him from Q1, GasGas’ Pol Espargaro finished the day in 11th place and barely outside the automatic Q2 slots after continuing to quickly catch up to speed since returning to action at the beginning of August.

Jack Miller, who finished 12th on the factory KTM, still has a lot of improvement to make on Saturday. Meanwhile, Raul Fernandez made a strong impression by outpacing teammate Miguel Oliveira on the RNF Aprilia, as the duo finished 13th and 14th, respectively.

As a result of the bike breaking down with only a few seconds left, Luca Marini’s Ducati ultimately cost many riders the chance to improve at the very end, placing him in 15th place as a result.

The Yamaha and Honda factories had a similarly bad afternoon. Fabio Quartararo finished a mere 17th, 1.4 seconds off Espargaro’s record, while his Yamaha teammate Franco Morbidelli finished in 18th.

Marc Marquez was the top Honda rider, finishing a dismal 19th, as the rest of the marque’s bikes rounded out the 22-rider field.


1Aleix EspargaroSPAAprilia Racing (RS-GP23)1’38.686s22/23350k
2Maverick ViñalesSPAAprilia Racing (RS-GP23)+0.362s22/24347k
3Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo (GP23)+0.375s22/23348k
4Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP23)+0.571s20/23346k
5Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)+0.660s22/23351k
6Alex MarquezSPAGresini Ducati (GP22)+0.863s27/28346k
7Marco BezzecchiITAMooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)+0.864s24/26347k
8Fabio Di GiannantonioITAGresini Ducati (GP22)+0.935s16/22343k
9Enea BastianiniITADucati Lenovo (GP23)+0.942s23/24350k
10Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP23)+1.007s24/26345k
11Pol EspargaroSPATech3 GASGAS (RC16)+1.035s20/21351k
12Jack MillerAUSRed Bull KTM (RC16)+1.066s18/23350k
13Raul FernandezSPARNF Aprilia (RS-GP22)+1.071s16/17343k
14Miguel OliveiraPORRNF Aprilia (RS-GP22)+1.093s22/24351k
15Luca MariniITAMooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)+1.121s21/24350k
16Augusto FernandezSPATech3 GASGAS (RC16)*+1.205s18/23345k
17Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+1.420s22/22347k
18Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+1.469s20/24342k
19Marc MarquezSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+1.563s19/23345k
20Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)+2.200s16/20342k
21Iker LecuonaSPALCR Honda (RC213V)+2.209s23/23343k
22Joan MirSPARepsol Honda (RC213V)+2.327s21/22346k

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