Espargaro returns to the top as Marc Marquez faces Q1

The #41 ends Friday in style after breaking the lap record ahead of Binder and Acosta in Barcelona

It was time for an intense hour of Practice at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya with everyone aiming for a spot inside the top 10 for direct entry to Q2. Once the chequered flag flew it was home hero Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), who ended the session quickest in a dream start to the weekend – just one day after announcing his retirement. The #41 was ahead of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who had a tough session – improving on his final lap to jump to second. Rounding out the top three at the end of Practice was rookie Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3).

Although it was a Red Bull KTM Factory Racing one-two for the majority of the session it would not stay like that as the chequered flag flew with the Aprilia’s responding as Espargaro stole top honours. However, Binder gave it everything on a last flying lap, ending Friday 0.072 away from the top spot. During the session, it was not smooth sailing for Binder after crashing at turn two before returning to the pits to get his second bike and then crashing again at the same corner. Binder was able to exit the pitlane in the last 15 minutes once one of his bikes was repaired.

Down in fourth was Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), who set 23 laps across the session. Bagnaia had some drama after the flag came out, with the Italian forced to push his bike back to the pitlane after the session. However, the #1 was able to end the day ahead of the second Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine of Jack Miller, with the Aussie ending a brilliant day of running at the Catalan GP. 

Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), was sixth with the #89 showing great potential after briefly occupying the top spot. Martin was ahead of teammate Franco Morbidelli, who made it both Prima Pramac Racing machines inside the top 10, ending a strong day for the team who have unveiled a new special livery for Sunday.

Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) ends Friday in eighth after spending most of the session outside the top 15 positions. Bastianini found time in the closing minutes to place the #23 machine ahead of Alex Rins (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™). After a strong day, Rins now prepares to make his 200th Grand Prix start, but the same cannot be said for teammate Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), who crashed at turn five early on – ending the session in 14th. Behind the #42 was Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), who rounded out the top 10.

There was plenty of drama throughout with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) crashing at turn five. However, things soon got worse for the Italian then crashed for a second time at turn nine in the last 10 minutes of the session. Di Giannantonio ended the hour-long session in 17th ahead of Red Bull GASGAS Tech3’s Augusto Fernandez who also had a crash late in the session at turn four.

Now forced to go through Q1 will be Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) who could not improve after suffering from a crash in the final five minutes, to end Friday down in 11th ahead of teammate Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), who also missed out on a spot inside the top 10 for the second weekend in a row.

The MotoGP™ field will have one last chance to perfect their setups in Free Practice 2 on Saturday at 10:10 local time (UTC +2) before qualifying gets underway at 10:50 local time, so make sure you don’t miss any of the action on!

Top 10:

1 Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) 1:38.562
2 Brad Binder (Red Bull Factory Racing) +0.072
3 Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) +0.103
4 Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) +0.133
5 Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.140
6 Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) +0.231
7 Franco Morbidelli (Prima Pramac Racing) +0.269
8 Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) +0.455
9 Alex Rins (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) +0.481
10 Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) +0.496




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