Marc Marquez saw off a late challenge from Stefan Bradl to set the pace in Friday morning's first free practice session for the Italian Moto2 Grand Prix.

The young Spaniard, winner last weekend at Assen, led the session throughout but was forced to respond when his championship rival beat his long-standing time with a minute to go, lapping in 1:54.020.

But respond Marquez did, producing a stunning lap of 1:53.701 to not only top the timesheets, but smash the existing circuit record by nearly two seconds.

Bradl took second while Alex De Angelis jumped up to third with a last gasp effort. Aleix Espargaro and Michele Pirro did likewise to finish fourth and fifth. The loser in the closing stages was Andrea Iannone who dropped from third to sixth. The Italian has had a miserable time since his victory at Jerez and is in desperate need of a strong performance at home if he is to harbour any hopes of the title.

The Swiss pairing of Dominique Aegerter and Randy Krummenacher were seventh and eighth ahead of Mike Di Meglio who was the fastest Tech 3 rider in ninth. The French team had a mixed session with Xavier Simeon in 15th, but Bradley Smith suffered a crash on his fourth lap and dropped to 33rd.

Scott Redding took his time to get up to speed but eventually got into the top ten and completed the British line-up, with Kev Coghlan sadly losing his ride in the Aeroport de Castello squad to Italian rider Tommaso Lorenzetti.