Just a few tenths split the Repsol Honda Team pairing of Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez during the only dry session of the day at the Styrian Grand Prix, both riders on the pace as racing resumes.
The opening day of the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring proved to be a day of two halves as rain hit the circuit in the afternoon after clear running in the morning. With the weekend’s forecast still looking mixed, the Repsol Honda Team worked to gain the most of both sessions regardless of the weather to prepare for Qualifying and the race.
Pol Espargaro has shown fine form around the 4.3 kilometres of the Red Bull Ring in recent visits and continued that form on Friday morning. Steadily improving throughout Free Practice 1, he ended the first session back in fifth place with a best time of 1’24.254. His personal best time would go unchallenged as rain at the start of Free Practice 2 left the circuit damp and drying. A 1’33.415 Espargaro’s quickest time of the wet afternoon. With a solid foundation found, Espargaro is looking to take further profit from his Honda around the Austrian track.
It was straight back to work for Marc Marquez after the summer break as he was reunited with his Honda RC213V in FP1. Like his Repsol Honda Team teammate, Marquez started Friday with a longer run and worked throughout the opening practice to adapt to the Red Bull Ring. A best time of 1’24.492 left Marquez only 0.221s behind Espargaro on the time sheets and sixth overall. Although only 0.6s off the top, Marquez admitted he was hoping for more after the break. As with the rest of the field, Marquez did not improve his time in FP2 and ended the session in tenth.
The LCR Honda of Takaaki Nakagami ended the day quickest with a 1’23.805.
Current predictions are calling for a return to dry running during Saturday morning’s Free Practice 3 session, a last chance for riders to compete for place inside the combined top ten. This important session is scheduled to begin at 09:55 Local Time with Qualifying starting later in the day at 14:10.
Styrian GP Combined Free Practice Classification
The Red Bull Ring in Spielberg is located beautifully in the Murtal-region of Styria, Austria. The circuit was originally built in 1969, then known as the Österreichring. In 1996 it was rebuilt with the track-layout it still had when, in 2011, it was reopened as the Red Bull Ring and… read more.
|Length||4.3 km / 2.68 miles|
|Longest straight||626 m / 2053.81 ft|
Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Steiermark, Austria - View in Google Maps
|Pole Position||1m28.539s (176.7 Km/h) Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati, 2023)|
|Race Lap||1m29.840s (174.2 Km/h) Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati, 2023)|
|Race Time||42'14.886 (172.8 Km/h) Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati, 2022)|
|2023 Race Winner||Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati)|
|2023 Sprint Winner||Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati)|