Just like it did for the Spanish GP, Free Practice 2 at the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucia provided us with a chance to have a look at who’s looking ready for the race on Sunday.
Unsurprisingly, there are some Yamahas that look strong – two in particular. Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) spent the entire session on a hard front and medium rear tyre which had 22 laps put into them, the last of those being a 1:38.161. Including his laps that got chalked off by Race Direction, Quartararo set seven laps that were in or below the 1:38.2 bracket, with the Frenchman setting seven more that didn’t rise over a 1:38.562.
Maverick Viñales’ (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) pace is looking pretty similar to Quartararo’s. The Spaniard’s opening run on a three-lap old hard front and new medium rear was pretty inconsistent, but on worn tyres at the end of the session, Viñales did four laps between a 1:38.107 and 1:38.331 – an indication his pace on used tyres is solid.
Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) looks like he’s found something extra in Andalucia. The Doctor doesn’t look like he can match the pace of Quartararo or Viñales judging from the FP2 timesheets, but there’s plenty of 1:38s in both of his runs. Looking at the second run, where he had 11 and 16 lap old tyres underneath him – hard front, medium rear – Rossi produced six 1:38s, with his best of 1:38.292 coming on his final lap. On a front hard that had 23 laps completed on it and a rear medium that had 28 on the clock, it’s promising.
Plenty of eyes will be looking at the KTMs this weekend, especially Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and teammate Pol Espargaro. Binder said the RC-16 “works so well” in the hot conditions, with the South African putting in four consecutive mid-1:38s on nine lap old rubber. Espargaro set his fastest lap of the session on 16 lap old tyres – a 1:37.889 – before he crashed at Turn 2. Expect both of the factory KTMs to be in the podium hunt, at least.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir also looked good. The Spanish sophomore completed six-straight mid-1:38s on used tyres on his final run, the slowest of those being a 1:38.644. Mir and Suzuki will be hoping they can nail qualifying so they can start up the sharp end on Sunday afternoon.
We can learn some things from FP2, but not everything. It’s going to be more than the riders mentioned in the fight for the leading positions on Sunday afternoon. And as we know, the race is a different kettle of fish. You can take a deep dive into the FP2 lap times by CLICKING HERE – who are you backing to win?