MotoGP: Aleix Espargaro Under Race Lap Record In Practice At Silverstone

MotoGP: Aleix Espargaro Under Race Lap Record In Practice At Silverstone

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

Aprilia factory rider Aleix Espargaro was fastest in MotoGP Practice Friday afternoon at Silverstone Circuit, in England.

Espargaro led the session, which determines the top 10 riders who qualify to go direct to Qualifying Two, with a time of 1:58.183. That time was quicker than Alex Rins’ 2022 Race Lap Record of 1:59.346.

Jorge Martin was second-best with a time of 1:58.854 on his Prima Pramac Ducati Desmosedici.

Brad Binder made it three different brands in the top three with a lap at 1:58.898 on his Red Bull KTM RC 16.

 

MotoGP Practice (Pre Q)

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Aprilia reign Day 1 as MotoGP™ comes back with a bang

Aleix Espargaro pulls out an incredible 0.671 on the chasing pack, with Martin and Binder on the chase

 

Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Friday, 04 August 2023

MotoGP™ is back with a bang as the riders enjoyed a dry Day 1 at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) absolutely shot out the blocks. The number 41, who took Aprilia’s first ever MotoGP™ podium at Silverstone in 2021, was over six tenths clear at the top with a 1:58.183 and the chase is on to cut that gap on Saturday.

In second it’s Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), who seemed to have a firm hold of the top spot with the chequered flag already out before Aleix Espargaro struck. Martin wasn’t the only rider to hit the top in the closing stages and then be denied by the Aprilia missile either, as Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was looking incredibly strong on his KTM as he put in a solid time attack to hit the front but ultimately finish Day 1 in P3. The first Friday with the new FREE Practice 1 and renamed afternoon Practice counting for Q2 promised much and delivered on it, with the day ending in a crescendo of late fast laps.

 

Jorge Martin (89). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jorge Martin (89). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Silverstone is an emblematic track for Aprilia in MotoGP™. Not only was it the scene of the manufacturer’s first podium in the modern MotoGP™ era, but it also saw Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) pick up his first podium for Aprilia just one year ago. This time out Viñales suffered a big high-side early on in Practice which winded the Spaniard, it didn’t stop him from pushing on however as he went top with just over ten minutes remaining and continued to post impressive lap times to finish the day in 4th, just 0.006s away from the top 3.

Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) rounded out the top 5 as the Frenchman put in a solid Friday Practice run.

 

Brad Binder (33). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Brad Binder (33). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

It was looking as if Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) was struggling for form in Free Practice 1, but he seemed to find more in the afternoon Practice session. The number one-plated Ducati was in the danger zone towards the closing stages, but then decided it was crunch time and found an extra gear to hit the top before a plethora of fast laps demoted him to P6. The Championship leader is slowly building into his weekend and will be one to watch.

The Mooney VR46 Racing Team were looking in fine fettle during the morning session, using team tactics to their advantage with Marco Bezzecchi and Luca Marini locked together on the circuit as they took the top two spots in FP1. The VR46 duo used the same tactics during the afternoon practice session too, and enjoyed the most of it at the sharp end. Marini then unfortunately suffered a fast crash but was unable to improve, Bezzecchi then met the same fate and joined his teammate in the gravel trap whilst pushing for a fast lap in the closing stages. Both riders managed to secure Q2 spots, however, with Bezzecchi finishing in 7th place and Marini rounding out the top 9. Both riders ok.

The two KTMs were also on a charge as they both went to the top of the timesheets with just under a quarter of an hour remaining. Whilst Binder held on to the top 3 after the flag, Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) slipped down to 8th place seeing him slot in between the VR46 duo.

Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) took the final Q2 spot as the Spaniard rounded the top 10, forcing some big hitters to compete in Q1 session.

HEADING FOR Q1

Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) is one of the names that will be competing in Q1 after missing out on the top 10 by just 0.127s, taking P11. The Frenchman also had his teammate Franco Morbidelli latched to his back wheel as the Italian sits in P12 0.029s away from Quartararo.

Despite jumping into the top 10 in the closing stages, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) will also compete in Q1 after being bumped down to 13th. The Spaniard states he’s taking a “calmer” approach this weekend in hopes of bringing home some solid points.

Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) rounded out the top 15 to kickstart his second half of the season. The Italian hopes to be closer to 100% this weekend in fitness, and will want a lot more from Saturday.

SHOWTIME

With some huge names in Q1, the stage is set for Qualifying and then the Tissot Sprint at Silverstone. Make sure you don’t miss a single detail as the action unfolds! Here’s when it all gets underway in GMT+1:

MotoGP™ FP2: 10:10

MotoGP™ Q1: 10:50

MotoGP™ Q2: 11:15

Tissot Sprint: 15:00

 

Aron Canet (40). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Aron Canet (40). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Moto2™: Canet pips Lopez by less than a tenth

Aron Canet (Pons Wegwow Los40) is the rider to beat in Moto2™ at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix as the Spaniard heads into Saturday’s action on top of the combined standings after setting a 2:04.420. The SpeedUp duo were in hot pursuit and by no means letting their compatriot have it all his own way, as Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools SpeedUp) and Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools SpeedUp) finished 0.063s and 0.137s away from Canet’s top time.

Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is showing good pace at Silverstone despite walking slightly wounded after a training crash over summer. The title contender bagged P4 after Friday’s practice sessions. Ai Ogura (IDEMISTU Honda Team Asia) rounded out the top 5 ahead of Jake Dixon (Tensite GASGAS Aspar Team) who started his home Grand Prix with a P6 after the combined Friday practice sessions.

Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) finished Day 1 in 7th place with Albert Arenas (Red Bull KTM Ajo) on his tail in 8th. Sam Lowes (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) finished Day 1 of what could be his final British Grand Prix in 9th place ahead of Somkiat Chantra (IDEMISTU Honda Team Asia) who rounded out the top 10.

Moto2™ will be back in action on Saturday for Practice 3 at 9:25 and qualifying at 13:45 local (GMT +1).

 

Jaume Masia (5). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jaume Masia (5). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Moto3™: Masia picks up where he left off

It’s advantage Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) as the Monster Energy British Grand Prix gets underway at the iconic Silverstone Circuit. The Spaniard put down a 2:11.403 to keep the field at arm’s length, with his teammate Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) bagging P2 just 0.113s behind. Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets MSI) was threatening the top spot as well but Leopard teamwork on the circuit worked a treat as the Brazilian was forced to settle for 3rd spot, 0.450s away from Masia.

Practice 2 saw the riders take big chunks out of their lap times with a late time attack from the field seeing slipstreaming come into full effect at the longest circuit on the Grand Prix calendar. Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) and Romano Fenati (Rivacold Snipers Team) put the hammer down to secure 4th and 5th respectively, with Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) taking P6 on the combined timings despite topping the P1 session.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders were locked together as Deniz Öncü and Jose Antonio Rueda finished Friday in 7th and 8th respectively. Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) finished in P3 in Practice 1 but crashed very early on in Practice 2, losing the front through Becketts to remount and set the 9th fastest time of the day, with Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) rounding out the top 10.

Moto3™ action continues on Saturday, make sure not to miss any of the action with Practice 3 at 08:40 and qualifying at 12:50 local time (GMT +1).

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