Practice report

MotoGP British GP: Espargaro leads FP3 from Martin and Miller

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro led the final 45-minute practice for the MotoGP British Grand Prix as he edged ahead of Pramac Ducati rider Jorge Martin by 0.028 seconds.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Cooler conditions on Saturday morning meant lap time gains on the overall combined order were few and far between for the first half of the session.

Espargaro would be the first major improver on the combined standings as the session neared its end and would remain fastest of all heading into qualifying with a 1m58.254s come the chequered flag.

Only Tech3 KTM rookie Raul Fernandez after 15 minutes of running had found time on his Friday best, albeit remaining in 23rd as Johann Zarco on the Pramac Ducati led the individual timesheet with a 1m59.476s.

It wouldn’t be until the final 16 minutes of the session when some serious attacks on Fabio Quartararo’s best effort from Friday were made.

Aprilia’s Espargaro toppled Quartararo’s 1m58.946s with a 1m58.695s on his first time attack run on fresh soft Michelin rubber.

He was immediately bettered by team-mate Maverick Vinales, who fired in a 1m58.599s, before Espargaro on his second effort came within touching distance of the all-time Silverstone lap record with a 1m58.254s to return to the top of the order.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Ducati’s Jack Miller split the Aprilia pair as the session entered into its final 11 minutes with a 1m58.332s, as Quartararo – who continued to practice the long lap penalty loop in FP3 – sat fourth.

With just 10 minutes to go, all inside the top 10 apart from ninth-placed Alex Rins had found time on their Friday best laps as they made their bids to go directly into the pole shootout session in qualifying later this afternoon.

Espargaro failed to make any further gains on his 1m58.254s lap as the clock counted down, though did catch the ire of Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia at Village corner in the closing stages after the latter felt he’d been disturbed on his flying lap.

But on the cooldown lap after the chequered flag, the pair embraced and put the matter to rest.

Pramac’s Martin threatened Espargaro’s time on his final flying lap at the end of the session, but came up just short with a 1m58.282s to safely see himself into Q2 later this afternoon.

Martin was forced to park up on his way back to pitlane after the chequered flag as his Ducati cut out. It’s not yet clear if this was a mechanical issue or simply he ran out of fuel.

Miller completed the top three on his factory team Ducati ahead of Zarco, who crashed late on at Village corner when he lost the front-end of his GP22 under braking.

Jack Miller, Ducati Team

Jack Miller, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Vinales rounded out the top five on his Aprilia, with championship leader Quartararo sixth in the end ahead of Bagnaia and Suzuki’s Joan Mir.

Luca Marini bagged a direct Q2 place on his VR46 Ducati in ninth ahead of the sister Suzuki of Alex Rins, with Marco Bezzecchi dropping into Q1 having missed the cut by just 0.182s.

He will be joined in Q1 in qualifying by Gresini’s Enea Bastianini, who could only managed 12th at the end of FP3 ahead of Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli.

All four KTM riders will have to go through the first qualifying segment as well later today, along with all of the Honda runners and the RNF duo of the retiring Andrea Dovizioso and rookie Darryn Binder.

Qualifying for the 2022 MotoGP British Grand Prix will get underway at 2:10pm local time.

Full FP3 results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap Interval
1 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'58.254    
2 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 1'58.282 0.028 0.028
3 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 1'58.332 0.078 0.050
4 France Johann Zarco Ducati 1'58.344 0.090 0.012
5 Spain Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1'58.575 0.321 0.231
6 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'58.619 0.365 0.044
7 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'58.625 0.371 0.006
8 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 1'58.657 0.403 0.032
9 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 1'58.663 0.409 0.006
10 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 1'58.729 0.475 0.066
11 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 1'58.911 0.657 0.182
12 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'58.927 0.673 0.016
13 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'59.006 0.752 0.079
14 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'59.066 0.812 0.060
15 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 1'59.110 0.856 0.044
16 Spain Pol Espargaro Honda 1'59.225 0.971 0.115
17 Italy Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 1'59.240 0.986 0.015
18 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 1'59.485 1.231 0.245
19 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 1'59.531 1.277 0.046
20 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'59.623 1.369 0.092
21 Australia Remy Gardner KTM 1'59.649 1.395 0.026
22 Germany Stefan Bradl Honda 1'59.815 1.561 0.166
23 Spain Raúl Fernández KTM 2'00.065 1.811 0.250
24 South Africa Darryn Binder Yamaha 2'00.639 2.385 0.574
Previous article Espargaro brands British MotoGP long lap penalty loop "a joke"
Next article Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time