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Practice report
MotoGP Catalan GP

MotoGP Catalan GP: Espargaro ends Friday practice on top, Marquez into Q1

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, a day on from announcing his retirement from MotoGP, topped second practice for the Catalan Grand Prix with a lap record as Marc Marquez dropped into Q1.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Espargaro won both the sprint and the grand prix at Barcelona last year, and ended Friday for the 2024 event 0.072 seconds clear of KTM’s Brad Binder after the South African suffered a pair of falls in the second session.

For the second round in succession, six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez will have to go through the Q1 qualifying session after failing to do better than 12th in second practice.

Pedro Acosta was third on his Tech3 GasGas from reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia, while Jack Miller (KTM) and points leader Jorge Martin (Pramac) rounded out the top six.

Conditions had brightened from the morning session for the hour-long second practice, with KTM’s Miller setting the initial pace at 1m40.153s.

Top spot changed hands several times over the opening 10 minutes, with Miller emerging the best of the lot with a 1m39.212s.

That would stand as the benchmark until the session clicked into its final 20 minutes, as Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales moved slightly clear with a 1m39.184s – which he subsequently improved to a 1m39.121s.

With 15 minutes to go, Espargaro fired in a 1m39.031s, though it was only a moment before top spot had changed hands again. Pramac Ducati’s Martin dipped underneath the 1m39s bracket for the first time this weekend with a 1m38.879s, which he bettered to a 1m38.793s.

Martin’s time went unbothered as the session wound down, though with three minutes to go Espargaro produced a new lap record at 1m38.562s to move to the top of the order.

That would be enough for the Spaniard to see out Friday at his home grand prix fastest of all, while KTM’s Binder recovered to second late on after crashing both of his RC16s inside the first 20 minutes of the session. Acosta eased through to a direct Q2 qualifying spot in third, with Bagnaia, Miller and Martin rounding out the top six.

Franco Morbidelli was seventh on the sister Pramac Ducati, with Ducati’s Enea Bastianini, Yamaha’s Alex Rins and Vinales securing the final direct Q2 spots.

A crash late on at Turn 10 for Alex Marquez left him in 11th, with Gresini team-mate and older brother Marc Marquez 12th having been right behind him at the time of his fall.

But even with the yellow flag disruption at the end of the session, Marc Marquez’s final flying lap was not going to be good enough to move him into the top 10.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Fabio Quartararo was another faller in the second practice session and was 14th in the end on his Yamaha, while top Honda honours went to Johann Zarco of LCR as all HRC bikes occupied the bottom of the timesheet.

HRC test rider and wildcard Stefan Bradl did not participate due to illness.

Catalan GP - FP2 results:

   
1
 - 
5
   
   
1
 - 
2
   
Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Speed Trap
1 Spain A. Espargaro Aprilia Racing Team 41 Aprilia 22

1'38.562

  172.654 351
2 South Africa B. Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 33 KTM 14

+0.072

1'38.634

0.072 172.528 352
3 Spain P. Acosta Tech 3 31 KTM 24

+0.103

1'38.665

0.031 172.474 351
4 Italy F. Bagnaia Ducati Team 1 Ducati 23

+0.133

1'38.695

0.030 172.422 351
5 Australia J. Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 KTM 23

+0.140

1'38.702

0.007 172.409 350
6 Spain J. Martin Pramac Racing 89 Ducati 23

+0.231

1'38.793

0.091 172.251 348
7 Italy F. Morbidelli Pramac Racing 21 Ducati 24

+0.269

1'38.831

0.038 172.184 350
8 Italy E. Bastianini Ducati Team 23 Ducati 25

+0.455

1'39.017

0.186 171.861 350
9 Spain A. Rins Yamaha Factory Racing 42 Yamaha 20

+0.481

1'39.043

0.026 171.816 350
10 Spain M. Viñales Aprilia Racing Team 12 Aprilia 25

+0.496

1'39.058

0.015 171.790 347
11 Spain A. Marquez Gresini Racing 73 Ducati 23

+0.551

1'39.113

0.055 171.694 346
12 Spain M. Marquez Gresini Racing 93 Ducati 24

+0.591

1'39.153

0.040 171.625 349
13 Portugal M. Oliveira Trackhouse Racing Team 88 Aprilia 23

+0.788

1'39.350

0.197 171.285 355
14 France F. Quartararo Yamaha Factory Racing 20 Yamaha 22

+0.790

1'39.352

0.002 171.281 354
15 Italy M. Bezzecchi Team VR46 72 Ducati 24

+0.820

1'39.382

0.030 171.230 348
16 Spain R. Fernández Trackhouse Racing Team 25 Aprilia 22

+0.858

1'39.420

0.038 171.164 348
17 Italy F. Di Giannantonio Team VR46 49 Ducati 14

+0.917

1'39.479

0.059 171.063 350
18 Spain A. Fernandez Tech 3 37 KTM 22

+0.942

1'39.504

0.025 171.020 351
19 France J. Zarco Team LCR 5 Honda 24

+0.996

1'39.558

0.054 170.927 348
20 Japan T. Nakagami Team LCR 30 Honda 24

+1.466

1'40.028

0.470 170.124 346
21 Spain J. Mir Repsol Honda Team 36 Honda 22

+1.694

1'40.256

0.228 169.737 347
22 Italy L. Marini Repsol Honda Team 10 Honda 22

+1.756

1'40.318

0.062 169.632 347

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