Luthi Sets the Pace In First Practice At Catalunya

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Thomas Luthi left it late before setting the fastest time in first practice for this weekend's Moto2 Grand Prix of Catalunya.

The Swiss rider has been devastating over a single lap so far this year, having qualified on the front row at every race and he showed that same form on Friday morning, setting a 1:47.571 in the final minute of FP1.

This knocked Aleix Espargaro off the top after the Pons HP 40 rider had moved to the top of the timesheets six minutes from the end. He eventually finished second, 0.123s down on Luthi.

Julian Simon is another rider searching for his first Moto2 victory and the Mapfre Aspar team's recent test at Aragon seems to have paid dividends, as the Spaniard was third quickest ahead of championship leader Stefan Bradl.

Britain's Scott Redding has had a miserable start to his 2011 campaign and is still looking for his first points. But the Marc VDS rider was certainly on form on Friday morning and was rarely put of the top six, eventually finishing 0.368s off the pace in fifth.

The first half of the session was dominated by Ioda Racing Project's Simone Corsi who set a 1:47.963 with just eight minutes gone. The Italian would fail to go any quicker in the remainder of the session though and dropped to sixth.

The youngest of the Espargaro brothers, Pol, was seventh ahead of Dominique Aegerter, Axel Pons and Kenan Sofuoglu, with just 0.763s covering the top ten.

The closeness of the times meant Andrea Iannone and Bradley Smith were outside that bracket in eleventh and twelfth. Both were still within a second of pacesetter Luthi and remain strong contenders for the weekend.

Further proof of the competitiveness of Moto2 could be found with Kev Coghlan. The Scotsman appears to be over the injury problems that hampered him in recent weeks and was only 1.863s off the pace this morning. Incredibly though, that was only good enough for 30th place.

Marc Marquez is a rider who will definitely carry hopes of a strong result after his maiden Moto2 victory three weeks ago, but the Spaniard didn't make the best start to his home weekend after crashing out. As a result he was the slowest of the 38 riders in FP1.

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