Espargaro Sets Catalunya Practice Pace for Suzuki

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.



PosRiderConstructorTeamBest Time
141. Aleix EspargaroSuzukiTeam SUZUKI ECSTAR1:41.158
293. Marc MarquezHondaRepsol Honda Team1:41.443
326. Dani PedrosaHondaRepsol Honda Team1:41.789
44. Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati Team1:41.823
525. Maverick VinalesSuzukiTeam SUZUKI ECSTAR1:41.922
629. Andrea IannoneDucatiDucati Team1:41.938
799. Jorge LorenzoYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:42.034
835. Cal CrutchlowHondaCWM LCR Honda1:42.044
944. Pol EspargaroYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:42.313
1045. Scott ReddingHondaEstrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS1:42.354
1146. Valentino RossiYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:42.367
1268. Yonny HernandezDucatiPramac Racing1:42.417
1369. Nicky HaydenHondaAspar MotoGP Team1:42.623
1438. Bradley SmithYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 31:42.645
158. Hector BarberaDucatiAvintia Racing1:42.697
1676. Loris BazYamaha ForwardAthina Forward Racing1:42.968
179. Danilo PetrucciDucatiPramac Racing1:42.995
1817. Karel AbrahamHondaAB Motoracing1:43.008
1950. Eugene LavertyHondaAspar MotoGP Team1:43.351
2043. Jack MillerHondaCWM LCR Honda1:43.369
2119. Alvaro BautistaApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:43.463
226. Stefan BradlYamaha ForwardAthina Forward Racing1:43.536
2363. Mike Di MeglioDucatiAvintia Racing1:43.760
2415. Alex de AngelisARTOcto IodaRacing Team1:44.614
2533. Marco MelandriApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini1:45.270