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Practice report

MotoGP Spanish GP: Espargaro tops FP2, Bagnaia and Quartararo into Q1

Aleix Espargaro led an Aprilia 1-2 in a sweltering FP2 for the MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix, as both Francesco Bagnaia and Fabio Quartararo failed to progress directly into Q2.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The one-hour afternoon session at Jerez saw little in the way of overall lap time improvements until the closing stages, when FP2 exploded into a frantic time attack.

Espargaro was the best of the bunch with a 1m36.708s from Aprilia team-mate Maverick Vinales, while FP1 pacesetter Dani Pedrosa was third overall.

A disastrous afternoon for last year’s Spanish GP winner Bagnaia, four-time Spanish GP polesitter Quartararo and championship leader Marco Bezzecchi saw all three fail to get into the top 10 and will face a volatile Q1 session on Saturday morning.

At least one of those riders will start both the sprint and the grand prix from the fifth row at best.

After half an hour of running in FP2, only Marc Marquez’s injury stand-in Iker Lecuona had made gains on their FP1 best.

Lecuona remained last on the timesheets and suffered a crash 12 minutes into the hour-long session at the final corner.

This would eventually bring the red flag out 10 minutes later as his Honda had punctured the protective air fence lining the edge of the track at Turn 13.

After a brief pause, the session got back underway with 37 minutes and 41 seconds left on the clock – though it wouldn’t be until the final 13 minutes that lap times started to improve significantly.

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Dani Pedrosa, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The first major mover was Vinales, who shot up to third on the combined standings with a 1m36.899s.

With 40s of FP2 remaining, Vinales would finally depose KTM wildcard Pedrosa’s best from FP1 with a 1m36.710s.

However, it wouldn’t be enough to keep the Spaniard at the top of the timesheets as Aleix Espargaro snatched the lead away from Vinales by 0.002s.

KTM’s Jack Miller was third on the session timesheet, but fifth overall, with Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) heading RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira.

Alex Marquez was sixth in FP2 on his Gresini Ducati ahead of VR46’s Bezzecchi and Ducati’s Bagnaia, with Pedrosa and the sister VR46 Ducati bike of Luca Marini rounding out the top 10.

However, front-end struggles throughout FP2 for Bagnaia meant his 1m37.233s – which was only 0.525s off the pace – was only good enough for 13th overall behind Bezzecchi, who suffered an engine blowout late on.

Quartararo fared even worse as he was only 16th on his factory Yamaha ahead of team-mate Franco Morbidelli, with a twice-crashing Joan Mir 18th for Honda.

At present, neither factory Ducati rider is in Q2 as Enea Bastianini continued to struggle with his injured shoulder down in 21st on the combined order at the end of FP2.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

As well as both factory Aprilias, both Pramac riders, Miller and Pedrosa on his wildcard outing, Oliveira, Alex Marquez, Takaaki Nakagami and Marini all bagged a direct Q2 spot for Saturday morning.

Americas GP winner Alex Rins joins his factory Honda counterparts Mir and Lecuona in Q1 after a late tumble at Turn 6 left him stranded in 15th on the combined order.

MotoGP Spanish GP - FP2 results

Cla Rider Bike Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 22 1'36.708    
2 Spain Maverick Viñales Aprilia 25 1'36.710 0.002 0.002
3 Australia Jack Miller KTM 27 1'36.835 0.127 0.125
4 France Johann Zarco Ducati 22 1'36.896 0.188 0.061
5 Portugal Miguel Oliveira Aprilia 25 1'36.956 0.248 0.060
6 Spain Alex Marquez Ducati 23 1'37.041 0.333 0.085
7 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 24 1'37.174 0.466 0.133
8 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 21 1'37.233 0.525 0.059
9 Spain Dani Pedrosa KTM 24 1'37.251 0.543 0.018
10 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 25 1'37.276 0.568 0.025
11 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 28 1'37.306 0.598 0.030
12 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 24 1'37.390 0.682 0.084
13 Spain Raúl Fernández Aprilia 20 1'37.403 0.695 0.013
14 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 26 1'37.483 0.775 0.080
15 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 28 1'37.505 0.797 0.022
16 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 25 1'37.700 0.992 0.195
17 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 24 1'37.860 1.152 0.160
18 Germany Stefan Bradl Honda 25 1'37.873 1.165 0.013
19 Spain Joan Mir Honda 22 1'37.916 1.208 0.043
20 Italy Enea Bastianini Ducati 17 1'37.985 1.277 0.069
21 Spain Alex Rins Honda 24 1'38.132 1.424 0.147
22 Germany Jonas Folger KTM 20 1'38.698 1.990 0.566
23 Spain Augusto Fernandez KTM 24 1'38.928 2.220 0.230
24 Spain Iker Lecuona Honda 24 1'39.274 2.566 0.346

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