until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Marquez in Q1 again after Barcelona Friday practice

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

For the second round running, six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez was again the biggest name to miss out on Q2 at Barcelona.

Marquez was only 12th in the second Friday practice session at the Catalan Grand Prix - topped by the retiring Aleix Espargaro.

Key moments:

  • Espargaro's lap record
  • KTM strong despite Binder's two crashes
  • All frontrunners but Marquez secure Q2 spots

A 1m38.562s by Espargaro, who announced on Thursday that he would be walking away from full-time competition at the end of the season, stands as the new lap record of his home venue.

It was an expected performance from the Aprilia rider given both Espargaro's personal affinity for the circuit and the potency of his RS-GP on its low-grip, flowing layout - but team-mate Maverick Vinales just narrowly snuck into the top 10.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia, MotoGP

Instead, it was KTM RC16s that ran Espargaro closest.

They were already 1-2-3 in the early going, though Brad Binder looked to have potentially jeopardised his session by crashing twice in the same part of the track.

He first had the front of his KTM lift up and send him crashing in the change of direction from Turn 1 and Turn 2, and then a few minutes later fell a few metres further into the corner sequence.

But Binder was back out there with 13 minutes left to run, and ultimately lifted himself to second, followed by Pedro Acosta on the Tech3-run Gas Gas-badged sister KTM.

With reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia slotting into fourth, the under-pressure Jack Miller made it three KTM RC16s in the top five.

He was followed by the two Pramac Ducatis of championship leader Jorge Martin and team-mate Franco Morbidelli, and the second works Ducati of Enea Bastianini.

Alex Rins, Yamaha, MotoGP

Yamaha rider Alex Rins deftly tucked in behind Espargaro and Miller during Espargaro's record lap, and parlayed that into a guaranteed Q2 appearance with ninth place, while Vinales secured his own passage in 10th.

But he was staring at potential elimination as Gresini Ducati's Alex Marquez was improving late on - only for him to crash at Turn 10.

Marquez crashed right in front of his brother, but Marc anyway did not look on pace to force his way into the top 10, consistently losing time through the lap despite being reliably fast in the first sector.

VR46 Ducati rider Fabio Di Giannantonio looked to have the performance to contend for Q2, but fell twice, ending his session with 10 minutes left on the clock. There were also crashes for Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) and Augusto Fernandez (Tech3 Gas Gas).

But both of them were ahead of the Hondas, led by Johann Zarco (LCR Honda) - who was somehow half a second clear of his fellow RC213V riders despite finishing in a lowly 19th.

There were only four Honda riders in the session, with wildcard Stefan Bradl having to sit it out due to a suspected case of food poisoning.

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