until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Aprilia sweeps Argentina MotoGP Friday, Quartararo to Q1

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Aleix Espargaro ended MotoGP’s Friday practice in Argentina on top as Aprilia shone again, while Yamaha’s championship hopeful Fabio Quartararo and all the KTMs were consigned to Q1.

Key moments:

> Espargaro 0.162s ahead of Vinales

> Bezzecchi, Marini best of the rest for VR46

> Nakagami, Morbidelli book Q2 places

> Quartararo in strife

> KTMs miss out

Espargaro posted a 1m38.518s late on to end the day as the pace-setter, jumping a tenth and a half ahead of team-mate Maverick Vinales, who had topped the opening session.

Behind the Aprilia clean sweep – after the Noale bikes were also 1-2 in first practice – VR46 Ducati recorded a 3-4, Marco Bezzecchi heading Luca Marini.

With both the VR46 riders on year-old Ducatis, Pramac’s Johann Zarco was best of the current-spec Desmosedicis in fifth, followed by reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia and the other Pramac entry of Jorge Martin.

LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami and Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli, both under pressure due to their current form and contract status, delivered stellar Friday showings, and both managed to pick up automatic Q2 spots.

Nakagami’s late improvement meant a Q1 spot for former team-mate Alex Marquez, who was unable to respond and ended up 0.067s off 10th place – with the final automatic Q2 spot going instead to Marquez’s LCR replacement Alex Rins.

The KTM RC16s, so promising in Portimao, underwhelmed, with even a tow from Marini not quite enough for its lead rider Binder to get over the line for a Q2 berth.

But it was enough to lift Binder past both Joan Mir – the Honda works team’s sole representative this weekend in Marc Marquez’s absence – and Quartararo.

The 2021 champion is enduring what may well be his worst weekend as a Yamaha factory rider so far, looking well adrift of Morbidelli all throughout Friday – with his final 14th place coming as little surprise.

After Rins’ fall in first practice, it was another one-crash session. Rookie Augusto Fernandez (Tech3 Gas Gas) was the faller, tumbling quite heavily as he entered the gravel, but was unhurt and ultimately continued to show what looks like stellar pace relative to the works KTMs – even if he did end up 17th of 18 riders.

Practice 2 Results

Pos Name Team Bike Gap Next Gap Leader Best Time
1 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia 1m38.518s
2 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia +0.162s +0.162s 1m38.68s
3 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +0.087s +0.249s 1m38.767s
4 Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +0.066s +0.315s 1m38.833s
5 Johann Zarco Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +0.076s +0.391s 1m38.909s
6 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.035s +0.426s 1m38.944s
7 Jorge Martin Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +0.062s +0.488s 1m39.006s
8 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +0.065s +0.553s 1m39.071s
9 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.009s +0.562s 1m39.08s
10 Alex Rins LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +0.037s +0.599s 1m39.117s
11 Alex Marquez Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +0.067s +0.666s 1m39.184s
12 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.018s +0.684s 1m39.202s
13 Joan Mir Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.035s +0.719s 1m39.237s
14 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.027s +0.746s 1m39.264s
15 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +0.024s +0.77s 1m39.288s
16 Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +0.088s +0.858s 1m39.376s
17 Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM +0.185s +1.043s 1m39.561s
18 Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia +0.014s +1.057s 1m39.575s
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