Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder has started the Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix in perfect fashion by taking top spot as the chequered flag came out in MotoGP™ FP1. The South African was two-tenths clear of Aprilia Factory Racing Gresini’s Aleix Espagraro, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) a quarter of a second adrift of KTM’s history-maker.
After a difficult start to life in 2021, the Austrian factory is back at favourable circuits and making the most of it with both factory men, Binder and Miguel Oliveira, on course for top spot on their final flying laps. Binder held on in the final sector to jump to the top of the timesheets with Portugal’s Oliveira settling into seventh.
Espargaro had been FP1’s fastest man for most of the session before being bumped down to second by Binder, with Marc Marquez quickly banishing the demons of twelve months ago by sticking his Honda RC213V into third place. Making sure there were five factories in the top five in an ultra-competitive start to life in Jerez was Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) in fourth and fifth respectively.
Pramac Racing’s Johann Zarco was just a 0.001 of a second clear of Oliveira in sixth. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) ended up eighth overall despite an off-track excursion through the gravel trap at Turn 5. Taking the final places inside the top ten were Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar). The World Champion only completed 15 laps on Friday morning, less than any other rider, with motogp.com pitlane reporter Simon Crafar believing the blue brand was looking to save some crucial soft rubber for later in the weekend.
We look set to see a stunning pace later on Friday in MotoGP™ FP2, as the premier class field throw everything at trying to secure a place inside the top 10. Don’t miss it at 14:10 local time in Jerez.
1. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – 1:38.013
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 0.191
3. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.278
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.288
5. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.331
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.384
7. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.385
8. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.420
9. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 0.421
10. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.471