MotoGP Catalunya: Espargaro heads Aprilia one-two in home FP2

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Aprilia claimed another Friday one-two as Aleix Espargaro led Maverick Viñales in the FP2 times at his beloved Barcelona Circuit.

The local rider’s impressive run saw a 1’39.402 head his home standings, 0.303s clear of his teammate with Gresini Racing’s Enea Bastianini returning to form as he completed the top three.

The afternoon action began with Mooney VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi launching to the top of the times with a 1’40.728, a lap worthy of fifth in the combined standings. Monster Energy Yamaha’s Franky Morbidelli sitting second once again from Pramac’s Johann Zarco and Fabio Quartararo until KTM’s Brad Binder arrived to steal the runner’s up spot.

Quartararo improved to join his teammate in the top four next time around with Zarco then Bezzecchi striking for the top and Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro splitting the battling pair with his fifth attempt. The top two improving their personal bests to claim third and fourth respectively overall with the reigning champion’s 1’40.837 the current gatekeeper to Q2, in tenth.

Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia joined the front runners, in fifth, on his fifth lap, from Morbidelli, Aleix Espargaro, Quartararo, Takaaki Nakagami and Miguel Oliveira. Lenovo teammate Jack Miller continuing to struggle in 16th as rumours of his Bologna departure pick up speed across the paddock.

Aprilia was back on top in the hands of Espargaro with a 1’40.067 at the halfway stage. Stefan Bradl crashing the Repsol Honda out at turn five as he resumed his stand in role for Marc Marquez - the Spaniard having successfully completed his fourth shoulder surgery in the USA on Thursday.

A new soft rear Michelin saw Viñales straight to the top for an Aprilia one-two with a 1’39.884 in the final six minutes. The Spaniard immediately hammering a second effort in as he shaved another couple of tenths off the target. Prima’s Jorge Martin stunning after his earlier predicaments to claim second before Bagnaia bettered moments later.

Gresini’s Fabio de Giannantonio claimed his place in the combined top ten as the clock counted down. Improvements from Miller displacing the rookie, alongside his former front row cohorts on the fringes as teammate Bastianini stuck for third.

The triple winner was on a charge with just seconds remaining, bettering Bagnaia for the runners up position as Espargaro topped the day on the RS-GP with a 1’39.402. Martin headed Miller in the stop six until a final effort from Brad Binder slotted the KTM into sixth with rins, Quartararo and Zarco completing the top ten as Morbidelli and Pol Espargaro were dropped just 0.03s shy.

Zarco’s fastest time was disallowed after the flag with the Frenchman dropped to 17th, reinstating Morbidelli into Q2 contention overnight.

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