MotoGP: Pol Espargaro Under Race Lap Record In FP2 At Red Bull Ring II (Updated)

MotoGP: Pol Espargaro Under Race Lap Record In FP2 At Red Bull Ring II (Updated)

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

MotoGP FP2




More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

KTM top as we begin another Red Bull Ring rodeo

The Austrian factory split the spoils with Ducati on Friday, but it’s Pol Espargaro quickest out the blocks in Styria

Friday, 21 August 2020

He’s done it again: seven days after topping Friday in the Austrian GP, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) returned to the top of the timesheets on Day 1 of the BMW M Grand Prix of Styria, giving KTM yet more to smile about in Spielberg. The Spaniard was two tenths clear at the top courtesy of his FP2 best, with Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) slotting into second from his fastest effort in the morning. Fresh from the top step of the Red Bull Ring podium, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completed the top three – an infinitesimal 0.004 off Miller.


It was Miller who took to the top of FP1 as action began again, but the Australian retained the shadow he’d had for much of his time in the lead of the Austria GP, with Dovizioso just that aforementioned 0.004 off the Aussie’s best. The timesheets in FP1 were so tight that the top five – completed by Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – were covered by just 0.102. Not, that’s not a typo.

Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) extends it to five manufacturers in the top six as he was next up on the FP1 timesheets, just a couple more tenths down, ahead of a much improved Friday for tookie Brno winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) in P7. Fellow rookie KTM rider Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) picked up with the form he’d left off with too as he was eighth, ahead of Austrian GP polesitter Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), who completed the top ten in the morning.

With sunny skies and not much sign that will change any time soon, FP1 saw a little less of a rush than this time last week and there was only one crasher in the session, Tito Rabat (Esponsorama Racing), as the Spaniard took a tumble at Turn 4 – rider ok.


FP2 saw Pol Espargaro hit back, and by the end of play he was the only rider able to dethrone Miller and Dovizioso’s FP1 efforts, courtesy of a 1:23.638. With pace all the way through the Austrian GP weekend before the race ended in disappointment in a crash, the Spaniard remains a force to be reckoned with at the Red Bull Ring. Nakagami was the closest man to him in the afternoon but could only home in to within two and a half tenths, with Mir just 0.003 off the Japanese rider to take third.

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – another looking for a comeback after a crash on Sunday – was a tenth behind his teammate despite his continued recovery from his shoulder injury, with Viñales completing FP2’s top five.

Overall, the headlines remain in KTM’s court as Pol Espargaro keeps his hold on Friday honours in Styria from that FP2 lap, with Miller and Dovizioso’s FP1 times putting them in hot pursuit, fresh from the podium. Oliveira’s FP1 best makes it two KTMs in the top four as the Portuguese sophomore – and Austrian factory – continue to impress.

Nakagami was once again top Honda as he completed the top five courtesy of his fastest effort in FP2, and the Japanese rider says they’ve improved braking stability and front end feel – sounding very positive about his prospects on Sunday. Mir and Rins, meanwhile, stack the Suzukis up in P6 and P7 as the Hamamatsu factory continue their warning shots for the field. Viñales emerges from the Friday shuffle in eighth as the fastest Yamaha, but not by much as Morbidelli ended the day just half a tenth in arrears.

The final man set to move through as it stands is Binder, who was P10 overall. Last Friday the rookie said he’d struggled to manage even one decent lap, but what a difference a week – and a fourth place in the Austria GP – make. Lecuona was just 0.050 off the South African too as he took 11th, missing out but keeping that strong form after a tougher start to his MotoGP™ career.

Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), despite fifth in the Austrian GP, ended the second Friday in Styria in P13 and will want to move forward and grab a place in Q2 – and Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) most definitely will as he ended the day just behind the ‘Doctor’. Last weekend it was braking that caused some drama for the Frenchman, this week he says it’s more the drop in pace that’s bothering him… but the weekend remains young and Quartararo has finished two Fridays outside the top ten and two within it so far in 2020.

FP3 starts at 9:55 (GMT +2) as the likes of Rossi, Quartararo and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) saddle up to try and move through. But with the weather forecast looking positive, there wasn’t the same mad Friday dash this weekend – so plenty can change ahead of qualifying. Saturday morning is also expected to welcome Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) back on track as he was passed fit to ride from FP3 on after his recent scaphoid surgery. Stat attack: the Frenchman has never ridden with an injury before, and isn’t sure what to expect…

Q1 starts at 14:10, before the top 12 places on the grid are decided just after in another stunning Q2 shootout at 14:35.




More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM Tech3:

Impressive opening to second Red Bull Ring round for Oliveira and Lecuona

The Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo of Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona started the Grand Prix of Styria where they left off at last weeks’ Austrian GP with very fast lap times and some great feelings. After Oliveira impressively did the third fastest lap time in FP1 on Friday morning, he was working on race distance during the second Free Practice session to finally finish the opening day of the third round in a row in a fantastic fourth position, just 0.260 seconds to the top.

Meanwhile, Iker Lecuona likewise picked up his speed from the word go. He concluded the first session of the weekend in a fine eighth and ended up in P11 after FP2 this afternoon, missing out on the top 10, who sit on their provisional overnight Q2 place, by a tiny margin of 0.050 seconds. The Spanish premier class rookie is eager to make up for the 50 thousands of a second come FP3 tomorrow at 9.55 local time.

Miguel Oliveira

Position: 4th

Time: 1:23.898

Laps: 46

“Today has been a positive first day. We managed to be very fast already in the morning. In the afternoon, the pace was very good with very used tyres and then we made some changes to the bike, that didn’t work out with the new tyre, but still we made a decent job in the morning and we are confident, that we can also improve further tomorrow morning.”

Iker Lecuona

Position: 11th

Time: 1:24.301

Laps: 47

“I’m really happy about today. I didn’t only finish in P8 this morning, but also had a really good lap time and went alone, I improved a lot compared to last week. This afternoon, we were working more towards the race and later we tried to put in a new set of tyres to go faster, but finally, we missed out on the provisional Q2 by just 0.050. Anyway, I’m really satisfied about this day one.”




More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Progress continues for Alex Marquez in second Austria visit

The march of progress continues for MotoGP rookie Alex Marquez as he follows the direction found last week while Stefan Bradl remains hungry for more.

After a few days rest in the Styrian hills, it was back to work for the Repsol Honda Team as the Red Bull Ring roared to life again. With a week’s running under their belts, times in Free Practice 1 for the premier class were already within just a few tenths of the previous week’s best.

Alex Marquez started the day off with a 1’24.690, only two tenths slower than his Q1 time from the previous Grand Prix as he once again showed the benefit of two races at the same circuit. Steady weather conditions allowed the MotoGP rookie to put his knowledge to use and continue improving in Free Practice 2, eventually setting a 1’24.463 for 12th in the session and only 0.4s from the top five. The lap was  faster than his qualifying time from the previous round and a clear demonstration of the progress being made by the Moto2 World Champion in his rookie season, leaving him pleased with the solutions he and the team have found.

The differences in MotoGP continue to grow smaller and smaller, as Stefan Bradl found out in FP1. A 1’24.914 in Free Practice 1 saw the German only one second off the fastest time in the session, but down in 21st spot. Riding the Repsol Honda RC213V for the third time in three weeks, the 2011 Moto2 World Champion has continued to have a busy programme during the weekend but feels he is on the cusp of a step forward on Saturday.

It was another strong day of running for LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami, the Japanese rider ending Friday practice as the fifth fastest on combined times. Less than half a tenth split the Japanese rider from the top of the time sheets as he aims to launch a podium challenge this weekend.

Alex Marquez

15TH  1’24.463

“Today was an important day for us, we tried a new setup and this started our day very well. It was positive and it took a few laps to change my style, but in the afternoon we made a really good step. I have some very good partial times, but I still need to work a bit to improve over one lap and put them all together. Our rhythm, especially with the used tyres, is good. I’m really happy with how today went in Austria and tomorrow we know what areas we need to work on, I’m feeling positive.”

Stefan Bradl

21ST  1’24.914

“It was a tough day today honestly. We have improved a lot of things, but the position is not where we want to be, I’m not satisfied with it. Aside from this, it’s been a busy and productive day trying a lot of things and we are aiming to make a step tomorrow. We’ve been trying some different settings and pieces and tomorrow hopefully we can combine them all to find something more. The times are very close again, so there is potential.”




More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:



The name changes (GP of Styria) but not the track – the fast asphalt of the Red Bull Ring. For the first two practice session for the second Austrian Grand Prix, much work was done in preparation for the race in the Aprilia garage, with a lot of runs on used tyres and particular focus on pace.

Aleix was looking particularly good in the afternoon session, the one that is closed to the race situation in terms of temperature and track conditions. His eighth-best time, however, became twelfth place in the combined times of the two sessions, a position that the Spanish rider intends to improve on in FP3 tomorrow morning.

It was a good day for Bradley Smith, just over 3 tenths behind his teammate in the combined standings and focused on preparing for the race Sunday.


“Overall, they were two good sessions. We worked a lot with used tyres in light of what happened last Sunday. In fact, I didn’t even do a time attack in FP1. In the afternoon, I knew that with the higher temperatures it would be difficult to get below the 1’24 mark, but I was able to finish in the top 10 of the session and that is important. I feel good and I think that there is still room for improvement on our part on this track as well.”


“Definitely a positive day. The time this morning was better than my best from last week. In the afternoon, I didn’t put on the new tyre for a time attack. Our goal was to analyse the tyre over race distance. It seems like some of the ideas we’re testing will be able to help my riding style. Since we just raced here a few days ago, we took the liberty of making a few more drastic changes than we usually do. I am at the same level as the riders I want to be competing with in the race and that is our goal for the weekend.”




More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:


The MotoGP class reassembled at the Red Bull Ring on Friday for the opening sessions of free practice ahead of this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix. It proved a tough day for LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow who had to settle for 18th position in the combined times as he again worked hard to fine-tune the set-up of his 2020 RC213V machine.

Looking to better his 15th place finish in last Sunday’s race at the same venue, Crutchlow was 18th fastest in FP1 – although less than half a second outside the top 10. He improved to finish 13th in a sun-drenched FP2 session, but acknowledged afterwards he has work to do ahead of qualifying if he is to secure a good position on the grid.

Cal Crutchlow – 18th


“Today again was a tough day with the bike. It seems that we tried something this morning that worked better in the morning, but in the afternoon session the feeling of the bike felt exactly the same as last weekend. It’s the same with any set-up we try with the bike, it’s difficult to find any improvement and I have no real idea why. Also when we put the new tyre on, we go one tenth fastest when you should be going a lot faster than this and that seems to be the problem that me and the other 2020 Honda riders are struggling with. We need to work this out and assess this situation more and, once we do, we can be more competitive. I feel like I’m riding the bike in a good way, the best I can to give the information to improve, but, at the moment, we’re a bit lost as to which direction to take.”




More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:


LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami was back amongst the pacesetters as free practice for the Grand Prix of Styria got underway on Friday. For the second straight week, the MotoGP class were back out on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg and Nakagami again emerged as the leading Honda by some distance as he finished in fifth place in the combined times.

Heading into the weekend, the Japanese star admitted he was targeting a spot on the podium and immediately backed up those claims by posting the fifth fastest time in FP1. He then underlined his consistency in a hotter FP2 as he produced a superb final lap to claim second position in the session, leaving him well placed ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

Takaaki Nakagami – 5th


“I’m pretty happy with the first day. FP1 and FP2 were completely different conditions, this afternoon the temperature increased a lot, the track temperature was close to 50 degrees. It was a different feeling from morning to afternoon, but by the end of the session we had a good package and the lap time was quite consistent this morning and also this afternoon. The team has done a really great job today and hopefully we can maintain this performance from today into qualifying tomorrow.”




More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:


Spielberg (Austria), 21st August 2020



Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi applied themselves to working on various setting options during FP2 at the Spielberg circuit today. They finished the Friday holding 8th and 13th position respectively in the combined free practice timesheets.

8th MAVERICK VIÑALES 1’24.060 (FP2) / 22 + 22 LAPS

13th VALENTINO ROSSI 1’24.378 (FP2) / 23 + 21 LAPS

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team continued their search for the optimal setting for their YZR-M1s this afternoon, ahead of Sunday‘s Grand Prix of Styria. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi ended a full-on Friday in 8th and 13th place respectively in the combined rankings.

After a productive FP1 session, Viñales was looking forward to trying some further setting tweaks to shave off a couple more tenths of a second per lap at the challenging Spielberg track in the afternoon. He worked diligently on getting his bike race-ready until the final stages of the session, when he went all out to earn himself a provisional place in Q2. Riding with a soft rear tyre, he produced a 1‘24.060s on his very last lap, taking fifth in FP2, 0.422s from the top. His best time earned him eighth position in the combined free practice results.

Rossi spent the majority of the afternoon session on improving his pace, though the track conditions were significantly warmer than they were this morning. He was in 10th position in the final seven minutes when he had a soft rear tyre fitted on his Yamaha, but the competition was fierce. He dropped a 1‘24.433s for 11th place in FP2 and crossed the line with 2 seconds left on the clock. He made his last lap count, setting four personal-best sectors for a 1‘24.378s and ninth place, 0.740s from the top. However, as some riders had clocked a faster morning time, The Doctor is 13th in the combined free practice timesheets.



We used today to explore different set-ups for both Maverick and Valentino that we didn‘t have time to work on last weekend, keeping last week’s race set-ups of the bikes as a reference. Today we’ve been more focused on preparing for the race than on putting in a time attack. The higher temperatures this afternoon didn’t help Valentino to get inside the top 10. Now we have to check the data and assemble all the good points for tomorrow’s FP3 bike set-up. We will put all our energy into getting both our riders into Q2. I’m expecting the FP3 session to be quite tough, but we are confident that we will be able to achieve our goal.


We tried to work a lot on the race set-up today, because last time we suffered a lot during the race compared to the practice sessions. Last Sunday, I didn’t really have a good feeling, especially in the beginning of Race 2, so today we were trying to find ways to be better and focus less on our position in the practice. We found some positive things. We’re not completely where we want to be yet, but little by little we are moving forward, and this is the most important. For tomorrow, we will concentrate on securing a pass into Q2, and then in FP4 we will work again in preparation for the race. Here it’s very important to start from the front row. Last week I secured pole position, and this was very good for the race, so that’s what we need to do again – being on the front row is our main objective for tomorrow.


The bigger problem today was that we tried to do the time attack in the afternoon, but the asphalt was more than 50 degrees, and it was difficult to improve on the lap time from this morning. We did only one time attack in FP2, because we are always at the limit with the tyre quantity, like everyone else. We hope that tomorrow in FP3 we will have a dry session. Usually the morning is a bit colder, so you can go faster. So, tomorrow morning it will be crucial to try to stay inside the top 10. We will try! About my pace, we’re not so bad, but as always there are many riders who are very strong. Today we worked on improving compared to last week, but we weren’t able to find something that gave us a better pace.




More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:

Combined practice times:

Joan Mir: 6th – 1’23.907 (+ 0.269)
Alex Rins: 7th – 1’24.009 (+ 0.371)

Team Suzuki Ecstar were back to work on Friday morning at the Red Bull Ring, just five days after the Austrian GP, for the last in a run of three races in a row. This weekend’s event will be known as the Styrian GP.

Both riders were very competitive last week and were running at the front of the race. Joan Mir took his debut MotoGP podium, but Alex Rins had an unfortunate crash while going for the race lead.

For this reason the riders began FP1 with a lot of positivity and used the session to regain their rhythm and make a few minor adjustments to setup, putting down respectable lap times while they were at it.

In the afternoon’s FP2 the name of the game was to secure a Top-10 position and direct passage to Q2 owing to a chance of rain on Saturday morning.

Mir was keen to improve his performance in the first two sectors of the track, something which he managed during the course of FP2, and then focused on working his way up the order to sit comfortably inside the Top-three at the end of the session, Mir is sixth on combined standings.

Rins set about building a run of consistent and quick lap times, upping the pace with every pass across the finish line. He spent a portion of the session sitting in the top spot and finished fourth in FP2 and seventh overall.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“We’ve had a positive start to the weekend, with both riders showing good pace and feeling happy with their bikes. Joan put in some very quick laps this afternoon, and he seems to have strong one-lap pace, but also he’s managing some consistent runs too. Alex tried a few things this morning and this afternoon he also had great pace over the course of many laps. Having both of them in the Top 10 could be good for tomorrow; let’s see what happens with the weather.”

Joan Mir:

“In FP2 I tried some laps with a used tyre, because the track temperature increased a lot compared to the morning. I managed to improve my lap time, and I felt great even on the used tyre. I knew I could be fast in the final two sectors on the lap, but I needed to improve my performance a little bit in the first two in order to be more competitive during the race. I’m happy with the way things are going and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Alex Rins:

“The main focus today was to find the differences between the medium and soft compound rear tyres, so I used FP1 to try the tyre life and adjust a few things. In FP2 I started with a new tyre to see how it would feel in a sort of semi race simulation situation. Overall I’m in seventh, and I feel good about that; it’s a nice start to the weekend. My shoulder feels a bit better compared to last week, so I’m hoping for a strong qualifying.”




More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT feel the Friday heat in Styria

Extremely tight Free Practice sessions for Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo, who finish ninth and 14th respectively

With 1.276secs covering the entire MotoGP field in the combined Friday times and hot track temperatures around Red Bull Ring – Spielberg, the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT pairing of Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo had their work cut out to finish the first day of the Grand Prix of Styria in the top-ten. Morbidelli snuck inside on his final flying lap to take ninth, while team-mate Quartararo rounded out the day 14th.

The morning’s practice session for Franco and Fabio proved to be an extremely tight one, with all riders covered by just 1.055secs at the Austrian circuit. Both Yamaha YZR-M1 riders worked through their pre-planned programme and focused on race pace in the first half of the session. After this, the pair bolted on some soft rear tyres to run a series of flying laps. An impressive performance from Franco, who was back on the bike for the first time since his crash last weekend, saw him finish sixth with a 1min 24.198secs lap – 0.339secs shy of the fastest time. Team-mate Quartararo, who had some lap times deleted for exceeding track limits, rounded out the top-ten after setting a best time of 1min 24.381secs.

Morbidelli’s second session didn’t get off to the best start, after the Italian ran wide at Turn 4. However, Franco soon found his rhythm again and was back up into the top-five. With reduced grip levels, due to the hot track temperatures at the Styrian circuit, Franco used the 45 minutes to experiment with changing his riding style to suit the conditions. At the end of FP2 his 1min 24.187secs time placed him seventh in the session and ninth overall. Fellow PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider Quartararo experienced a tricky afternoon session, just focusing on his race pace and not attempting a flying lap. Despite this he still finished just over one second shy of the fastest rider on track, in 14th place. This was also where he finished in the combined times for the day.

The first of Saturday’s two practice sessions for the MotoGP category will see them take to the track at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT), before Qualifying 1 gets underway at 2.10pm local time (8.10pm MYT).

Franco Morbidelli

9th (1’24.187)

It was really good to jump back on the bike today. In the first laps of FP1 I was just trying to understand how I was physically. I was pleasantly surprised by how good I felt; I had a good feeling on the bike and there were no major issues. I’m lucky in some respects as this isn’t the most demanding of tracks, so that helps. Overall it was a good day; the pace was good, although it could be better. We’ve been working with the medium tyre, aware that there could be less grip here this weekend and trying to adapt to those conditions. We’ve collected a lot of data today and I’m sure we’ll be able to use it to improve more tomorrow. I think adapting to the grip conditions here is going to be the most important thing this weekend.

Fabio Quartararo

14th (1’24.381)

Today we struggled with the brakes a bit in the morning, but the afternoon was much better in this aspect, so we found something that could be a solution. The problem in FP2 was with the bike setting, because we don’t fully understand why the tyres are dropping off that much. We need to analyse deeply how to work in this aspect. We worked on the race pace in FP2, but it isn’t where we want it to be. I’m not so happy about today but we still have FP3 and FP4 tomorrow to work on what we need to in order to improve. At the moment we are not in Q2 so we will have to make a time attack tomorrow morning, but we’re confident that we can do this. We know our one-lap pace is good but we need to focus on our race pace.




More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Third Andrea Dovizioso at the end of the first day of free practices of the Grand Prix of Styria. Seventeenth time overall for Danilo Petrucci

The Ducati Team took to the track again today at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, to complete the first day of free practices of the Styrian Gran Prix of MotoGP.

Fast already during the early stages of the day, Andrea Dovizioso closed with the third time overall on Friday, after setting his best lap in 1:23.863 in FP1. Thanks to the good lap time that he put in this morning, the rider from Forlì could fully commit the rest of the time available in FP2 to fine-tune his Desmosedici GP bike, as he didn’t have to worry about trying another “time attack”.

On the other side of the garage, it was an uphill start of the weekend for his teammate Danilo Petrucci. Forced to sit out the final minutes of FP2 due to some issues, the rider from Terni failed to go beyond the seventeenth time overall. Petrucci closed Day 1 with the fastest time in 1:24.517, 879 thousandths of a second off the top of the timesheets, and he will aim to place himself in the top ten positions during the crucial session of FP3 tomorrow morning.

Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 1:23.863 (3rd)

“It has been a very positive day, and I am pleased with the work we’ve completed today. This morning we did a very quick lap time, and this allowed us to dedicate the afternoon session to try to understand how to manage the tyres better in the race. Since we had been racing here last week, we know where do we need to focus our work on. The feeling with the bike is good, and we are among the fastest riders. We hope that the weather will hold up, allowing us to continue our programme tomorrow.”

Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 1:24.517 (17th)

“Unfortunately both this morning, and this afternoon we were unable to make the most of the time available due to some problems, which forced us inside the garage, especially in the last part of FP2. We had several tests planned for today, but now we have to postpone them to tomorrow morning. Of course, the main goal of FP3 will be to improve our lap time, to be able to get into the top ten. I am confident as we still have a session to recover.”

The Ducati Team riders will be back on track tomorrow, Saturday, 22nd August starting at 9:55 AM with FP3, while qualifying for the Grand Prix of Styria will be held from 2:10 PM local time, after FP4.

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