Yuki Takahashi set the pace in an incredibly close second practice session for this Sunday's Moto2 Grand Prix of Spain.

The Gresini rider, who sits fifth in the Championship after the opening round in Qatar, set a time of 1:44.044, with virtually half of the field within touching distance of him.

The pattern from the earlier 125cc and MotoGP practice sessions continued with strong winds preventing the riders from matching the quickest times from the morning.

As a result Thomas Luthi's 1:43.528 remains the fastest Moto2 time of the weekend so far. The Swiss rider finished the second session in fourth.

Between him and Takahashi were Marc Marquez, who took an impressive second despite missing the first half of the session, and local boy Julian Simon who was third for the Mapfre Aspar Team, just 0.109 seconds adrift.

As a flurry of riders improved in the dying moments, Aleix Espagaro moved almost unnoticed into fifth. He was just ahead of Italian duo Andrea Iannone and Claudio Corti, who themselves were less than a quarter of a second off the pace.

Scott Redding was eighth as he had been in the morning, and he was in good company, with Championship leader Stefan Bradl ninth, and Alex de Angelis tenth despite a fall.

Proof of the closeness of the field could be found with Esteve Rabat. The former 125cc rider was all the way back in 20th, but his time of 1:44.888 was just eight tenths away from Takahashi at the top of the timesheets.

Next up was Kev Coghlan in 21st. The Brit ignored the furious gestures of Andrea Iannone after the Speed Master rider felt he was held up earlier in the session.

Unusually, the slowest Brit was Bradley Smith. The 20 year old had a quiet day as he got to grips with the Andalucian circuit on 600cc machinery, ending the day in 28th.

The riders all have one more practice session to perfect their set-ups ahead of what promises to be  a thrilling qualifying session which takes place at 14:10 BST on Saturday.