Nicolas Terol answered the challenge of Maverick Vinales with an impressive performance on Friday afternoon ahead of the Grand Prix of Aragon. The younger Spaniard edged out his older compatriot in the morning session but normal service was resumed after the lunch break.
The position at the top of the timesheets was traded exclusively between Terol and Vinales in the final half-hour and the championship leader was the first to go under Vinales' FP1 time, lapping in 2:00.592.
Terol subsequently improved by another tenth of a second and although Vinales lowered the target time to a 2:00.237, his rival immediately demoted him back down to second by 0.026s. With four minutes to go, Vinales finally became the first man to break the two minute barrier, setting a 1:59.774 which proved too quick for Terol initially.
But the champion-elect found another quarter of a second on his next lap to seal the top spot at the end of day one. As if to add insult to injury, he went quicker still on his final attempt to put 0.365s between himself and Vinales.
The Spanish duo were in a class of their own with Sandro Cortese over seven tenths back in third with Hector Faubel over a second off the pace in fourth. The Avant-AirAsia-Ajo Derbis were fifth and sixth with Efren Vazquez outpacing Johann Zarco for the second session running.
Danny Kent led the British challenge again in seventh although he didn't the kind of gains other riders made over their FP1 times, only improving by 0.394s. Miguel Oliveira took eighth place for AndalucÃa Banca Civica while Adrian Martin and Luis Salom completed the top ten.
Harry Stafford put in tremendous performance to finish 16th, almost two seconds quicker than his FP1 time, with Danny Webb and Taylor Mackenzie 18th and 29th respectively.