Aleix Espargaro gave Suzuki a major morale boost by topping the Friday practice timesheets ahead of this weekend’s Catalunya Grand Prix. The Spaniard produced a sensational final sector on his last lap to outpace defending champion Marc Marquez on a day where Honda also returned to something like their best.
Suzuki have arrived at the Circuit de Catalunya with an upgraded engine on their GSX-RR and the initial impressions were positive, with Espargaro delighted with the machine’s performance. The local favourite paid tribute to his team for bringing upgrades to Barcelona and feels it bodes well for the future.
“It’s a very positive feeling. This race means a lot to me and I feel very comfortable on this track, therefore it is emotional to be leading the pack. I know it’s only Friday but we’ve done a huge job, also because this track requires a very fine-handling machine and my GSX-RR excels at that. We mainly worked to find a good set-up and started immediately to use the new engine developments that arrived from Japan; I don’t feel an extraordinary difference but for sure we showed some improvements. Of course we still need to work on them to find the best set-up and electronics settings. Apart from the results, which are very satisfying, the best feeling is that Suzuki is giving me unbelievable support; everyone is working very hard and deeply believe in the project: This is something that makes me very proud and happy.”
Having topped the morning session, Marquez continued to look much more like his old self in FP2, ending with the second fastest time ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa. Andrea Dovizioso was the leading Ducati in fourth with Maverick Vinales a fantastic fifth on the second Suzuki, narrowly pipping Mugello polesitter Andrea Iannone.
By contrast, Yamaha seemed to struggle with Jorge Lorenzo unable to do better than seventh as he begins his chase of a fourth straight win. Despite showing his usual consistency over longer runs, Lorenzo was eight tenths down in seventh spot with Valentino Rossi even further behind in eleventh, leaving him outside of Q2 and exposed to the possibility of rain on Saturday morning.
Cal Crutchlow, Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding did squeeze into the top ten this afternoon but like Rossi, Bradley Smith is in the danger zone heading into FP3 after finishing Friday in a lowly fourteenth.
2015 G.P. MONSTER ENERGY DE CATALUNYA – FRIDAY PRACTICE CLASSIFICATION
|1||41. Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:41.158|
|2||93. Marc Marquez||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:41.443|
|3||26. Dani Pedrosa||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:41.789|
|4||4. Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:41.823|
|5||25. Maverick Vinales||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:41.922|
|6||29. Andrea Iannone||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:41.938|
|7||99. Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:42.034|
|8||35. Cal Crutchlow||Honda||CWM LCR Honda||1:42.044|
|9||44. Pol Espargaro||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:42.313|
|10||45. Scott Redding||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||1:42.354|
|11||46. Valentino Rossi||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:42.367|
|12||68. Yonny Hernandez||Ducati||Pramac Racing||1:42.417|
|13||69. Nicky Hayden||Honda||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:42.623|
|14||38. Bradley Smith||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:42.645|
|15||8. Hector Barbera||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:42.697|
|16||76. Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||Athina Forward Racing||1:42.968|
|17||9. Danilo Petrucci||Ducati||Pramac Racing||1:42.995|
|18||17. Karel Abraham||Honda||AB Motoracing||1:43.008|
|19||50. Eugene Laverty||Honda||Aspar MotoGP Team||1:43.351|
|20||43. Jack Miller||Honda||CWM LCR Honda||1:43.369|
|21||19. Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:43.463|
|22||6. Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||Athina Forward Racing||1:43.536|
|23||63. Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:43.760|
|24||15. Alex de Angelis||ART||Octo IodaRacing Team||1:44.614|
|25||33. Marco Melandri||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:45.270|