Espargaro Edges Out Nakagami In Moto2 Opener

Pre-season title favourite Pol Espargaro set the pace in the opening Moto2 practice session of the season after a private battle over top spot with Takaaki Nakagami. The Spaniard was three tenths clear of Nakagami by the end of the session but the Italtrans rider was impressive in his own right to split the Pons Tuenti HP 40 Kalex teammates Espargaro and Esteve Rabat.

As in the earlier Moto3 session, a lot of sand had settled off line which forced the riders to bide their time before setting any blistering lap times. Nakagami for example improved by four seconds from his first representative lap to his fastest which would ultimately be a 2:01.755. Espargaro knocked him off the top of the leaderboard with two minutes to go while Rabat closed to within a quarter of a second of Nakagami with another late surge.

Scott Redding suffered the worst possible start to his 2013 campaign when his Marc VDS Kalex ground to a halt on his very first timed lap but the Briton recovered once his machine had been fixed to go fourth ahead of Julian Simon who completed a lock-out of the top five for Kalex.

Simone Corsi was the first rider on another make of motorcycle in sixth on NGM Mobile Racing’s Speed Up with Mika Kallio seventh on another Kalex. Nicolas Terol was the leading Suter rider in eighth for Aspar while Dominique Aegerter and Johann Zarco completed the top ten.

Reigning Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese was the leading rookie in sixteenth with British newcomers Danny Kent and Kyle Smith 26th and 31st respectively.