MotoGP: Espargaro Breaks Lap Record Friday Afternoon At Catalunya

MotoGP: Espargaro Breaks Lap Record Friday Afternoon At Catalunya

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

Just hours after announcing he will retire at the end of the season, Aleix Espargaro led MotoGP Practice One with a new All-Time Lap Record at Circuito de Barcelona-Catalunya, in Spain.

Riding his factory Aprilia RS-GP, the Spaniard lapped his 2.9-mile (4.7 km) home track in 1:38.562, eclipsing Francesco Bagnaia’s 2023 mark of 1:38.639.

Brad Binder was second-quickest with a 1:38.634 in spite of crashing his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing RC 16 twice in the session.

Rookie sensation Pedro Acosta was third with a time of 1:38.665 on his Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 machine.

 

MotoGP Practice

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Espargaro smashes lap record ahead of Binder and Acosta as Marc Marquez faces Q1

It’s an Aprilia-KTM-GASGAS party on Friday at the top, setting the scene for an interesting Saturday in Barcelona

 

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

Friday, 24 May 2024

Practice at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya definitely didn’t disappoint, setting us up for an interesting super Saturday. First, 2023 Barcelona winner Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) was back on top and with a new lap record. Second, it’s two RC16s on the chase as Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and rookie Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) ended the session second and third, respectively. Third, Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) will once again have to head through Q1… although it didn’t stop him in France.

It was a Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1-2 for the majority of the session, but it wouldn’t stay like that by the end of play. Espargaro’s new lap record but paid to that, although Binder got close with one last bid for it. On his last flying lap, the South African got within 0.072 of the top to complete a recovery in style, having crashed once early on at Turn 2 and then again at the very same Turn 2 later in the session. 

 

Brad Binder (33) and Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Brad Binder (33) and Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Down in fourth it’s reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) as he looks for his first GP podium in Barcelona, and on Friday he was the fastest of the Championship top three. The Italian set 23 laps across the session but had some drama after the flag came out, forced to push his bike back to the pitlane. Still, the #1 was able to end the day ahead of the second Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine of Jack Miller, who nevertheless completes the top five.

Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) and managed to get the better of teammate Franco Morbidelli, who had a solid day and made it both Prima Pramac Racing machines inside the top 10, split by just 0.038. Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) ends Friday in eighth after spending most of the session outside the top 15 positions but finding time in the closing minutes.

 

Pedro Acosta (31). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Pedro Acosta (31). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Alex Rins (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) heads through to Q2 from P9 on Friday, his second visit this season so far and on the way to his 200th Grand Prix start. Teammate Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), meanwhile, crashed at Turn 5 early on – rider ok but ending the session in 14th. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) rounded out the top 10.

There was plenty of drama, with a number of crashes at the end of the session playing some havoc with yellow flags too. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) crashed earlier at Turn 5, but things soon got worse for the Italian then crashed for a second time at Turn 9 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.

Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) also couldn’t improve after suffering a crash in the final five minutes, and with all that drama there was no space for many others to move forward either amongst the yellow flags. That included for his teammate Marc Marquez. The number #93 faces Q1 for the second time in two weeks, although in France it didn’t make too much difference… and he didn’t even make it through! Will he this time? Tune in on super Saturday to find out!

FP2: 10:10 (UTC +2)

Q1: 10:50

Q2: 11.15

Tissot Sprint: 15:00

 

 

Jorge Navarro (9). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jorge Navarro (9). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 
Navarro heads Roberts, Muñoz third as full-timers get deposed on Friday

Friday in Moto2™ ended in some wildcard glory at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, with Jorge Navarro (KLINT Forward Factory Team) taking to the top and with a new lap record. Joe Roberts (OnlyFans American Racing) was second quickest, with replacement rider Daniel Muñoz (Pertamina Mandalika GAS UP Team) taking third fresh from doing the double at the venue in the Moto2™ European Championship last weekend, where Navarro also stood on the podium.

After finishing fastest in Free Practice, Manuel Gonzalez (QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2™) was fourth at the end of the day, setting a 1:43.076. Fermin Aldeguer (MB Conveyors SpeedUp) rounded out the top five in Moto2™ but was unable to improve on his time late in the session, instead forced into a save. Aiming to take his second Moto2™ victory will be Aron Canet (Fantic Racing), who was sixth – ending the day ahead of Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s Filip Salač. The #12 was ahead of Sergio Garcia (MT Helmets – MSI) who showed consistent pace throughout the session despite a crash in the morning.

Check out the full results below and come back for more at 9:25 local time (UTC+2) for Practice 2 before qualifying at 13:45 local time.

 

 

David Alonso (80). Photo courtesy Dorna.
David Alonso (80). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 
Alonso heads Rueda and Holgado as the top five in the standings stake their claim on Catalunya

CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team’s David Alonso ends Friday at the top of the standings at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, fastest in the morning and afternoon. The #80 put in an impressive 12 lap run at the start of P1 and then stamped some authority back on the session on his final exit. He ends the day 0.158s clear of Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo), with Daniel Holgado (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) fnding a heap of time on Friday afternoon to end P1 in third.

It was a thrilling end to Friday with riders treating it like qualifying, as Holgado, Rueda, and then Alonso all switched the top spot between them with the pace beginning to heat up. However, Nicola Carraro (LEVELUP – MTA) crashed on his final lap, bringing out the yellow flag and taking away any chance for the #10 to improve. Another rider who had a bad end to Friday was Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Racing), who ended Friday at the bottom of the standings after suffering from a technical issue – unable to set a time.

Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) continued to impress, showing consistent pace to end the day a mere 0.255s adrift from the top spot. Ivan Ortola (MT Helmets – MSI) rounded out the top five, with the #48 putting in fast laps in the early stages of the session. Moto3™ head back out in the morning for P2 before qualifying at 12:50 (UTC +2).

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