Espargaro leads the way on first day of practice in Catalunya
Open class rider sets overall best time ahead of Smith and Bradl
The opening day of free practice ahead of Sunday’s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya threw up a number of surprises at the top of the time sheets with open class rider Aleix Espargaro setting the overall best time of 1m 41.672s this morning for the NGM Forward Racing team while Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith ended up second fastest on combined times with the British rider also setting the best time this afternoon.
We were able to do a fast lap and also the pace was quite good.
Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone continues his good vein of form with the Italian sitting in front of fellow countryman Valentino Rossi and the Movistar Yamaha YZR-M1 and both Iannone’s best time of 1m 42.411s and Rossi’s 1m 42.423s lap were set this morning. Pol Espargaro sits in 8th overall with his best lap of 1m 42.608s good enough to see the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 man ahead of Dani Pedrosa with the Repsol Honda rider unable to improve on his best lap of 1m 42.664s set this morning.
Espargaro was happy to finish in front but will focus tomorrow on his electronics set up to deal with the soaring Spanish temperatures. He said, “I’m happy with this morning’s result. We were able to do a fast lap and also the pace was quite good. We suffered more in the afternoon with the hot temperatures as the track was very slippery and the traction control was not helping. We made some changes on the front and we tested some different electronics settings, but we couldn’t improve our lap times and tomorrow we will keep on working on the electronics.”
Speaking after finishing second with the fastest lap this afternoon Smith was very happy saying, “To finish in 1st in FP2 is certainly great. I am pleased as we undertook some key work in Mugello and the results are shining through here as well. The setting is very positive with the bike although I wasn’t able to show it last time unfortunately. The main thing we looked at today was the front contact, the turning of the bike as well as front tire choices.
There are still a few areas we need to make some small adjustments on such as the balance and how it behaves in sector 4 of the circuit, which is a bit tough. Overall, I feel confident and happier plus I enjoy Barcelona as I run strongly here. It’s been a tricky few races but we have always worked hard and now I aim to keep this positive momentum for this weekend and the next few MotoGP races and continue to try my best."
Bridgestone: Aleix Espargaro quickest in opening melee at Montmeló
Difficult day 1 for Ducati Team riders in Catalunya GP free practice
About this article
|Drivers||Bradley Smith , Andrea Dovizioso , Marc Marquez , Nicky Hayden , Dani Pedrosa , Jorge Lorenzo , Andrea Iannone , Valentino Rossi , Scott Redding , Stefan Bradl , Aleix Espargaro , Alvaro Bautista , Pol Espargaro , Yonny Hernandez|
|Teams||Forward Racing , Pramac Racing , Ducati Team , Tech 3|