Ducati Lenovo Team's Francesco Bagnaia was once again able to illustrate his breathtaking pace over one-lap by flying to top spot as the opening day of the Red Bull Grand Prix of Spain came to an end in Jerez. The Italian's 1:37.209 was more than enough to make sure he was at the top of the timesheets in FP2, with World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) the only man to be within touching distance of the 2019 Moto2™ World Champion; 0.178 seconds adrift of his title rival.
Your Friday pacesetter! ????— MotoGP™???? (@MotoGP) April 30, 2021
P1 for @PeccoBagnaia! ????#SpanishGP ???????? pic.twitter.com/taaD0TbJ7k
Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Sprinta Racing) set the fastest lap of the weekend with 20 minutes remaining, the Italian's 1:37.704 setting the benchmark just moments after Quartararo had become the first man of the weekend to dip beneath the 1:38 barrier. The clock ticked by and only four minutes remained when things suddenly started to heat up. The timing screens were awash with red sectors as the premier class grid got down to business.
The first man to move ahead of Morbidelli was factory counterpart Quartararo, the Frenchman reclaiming what his former teammate had stolen away from him earlier in the session. El Diablo took top spot by half a tenth only for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini's Aleix Espargaro to then steal it away from the 22-year-old.
It looked to be Aprilia's day in Andalucia only for Bagnaia to come along and blitz it. A scintillating lap put the factory Ducati man just under half a second clear of everybody else, throwing down quite the gauntlet ahead of qualifying on Saturday. Quartararo’s final flying lap saw him half the Italian’s advantage down to 0.178 of a second but that was it, nobody was able to conjure up something in the final seconds to topple Bagnaia. Friday was officially Pecco’s day.
The men first and second in the World Championship look to be continuing their fine form this weekend, with Bagnaia and Quartararo a comfortable quarter of a second clear of their closest rivals. That man being Aleix Espargaro and the Spaniard definitely falls into the category of rival from his Friday showing. Not only did Espargaro have the pace over one lap but the Aprilia man showed some incredible consistency highlighting the fact he's a serious contender for victory.
Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix: MotoGP™ FP2
Morbidelli was unable to improve on his lap from earlier in the session and, as a result, was half a second behind his VR46 Academy teammate in fourth. Yamaha look to be once again feeling at home in Jerez with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) ensuring there were three Yamaha M1s inside the top five. Fastest Honda went the way of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) in sixth as the Japanese star looks set to replicate the career-best showing of one year ago at the Andalucian Grand Prix.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) closed out the opening day in Jerez six tenths back in seventh, before Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) made sure there were all six factories inside the top eight. Rounding out the top ten was Pramac Racing's Johann Zarco, who's new teammate Tito Rabat was the only man to crash out during FP2 at the final corner, and the man who clinched top spot in FP1: Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Brad Binder.
Turn 13 proves unlucky for @TitoRabat! ????— MotoGP™???? (@MotoGP) April 30, 2021
The @pramacracing stand-in is unhurt though! ✊#SpanishGP ???????? pic.twitter.com/PiLNIH6Ouw
Just like in Portimao, both Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) are currently outside of the top ten and could well be heading into Q1. World Champion Mir needs to find at least 0.144 of a second overnight to jump up from 13th, whilst Marquez was the only rider unable to improve on his FP1 lap time and, therefore, finds himself down in 16th. Can the pair of Champions find something during FP3 on Saturday morning and salvage a Q2 place? Find out at 09:55 local time for the final throw of the Free Practice dice!
MotoGP™ top 10:
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1:37.209
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.178
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.437
4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 0.495
5. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.517
6. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 0.566
7. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.607
8. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.638
9. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.679
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.687
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