A flying start to the day for Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez as just a second splits 17 riders in Montmelo.
Friday in Barcelona presented the MotoGP World Championship grid with their first taste of the new Turn 10 on MotoGP machinery. The reaction to the revised corner has been positive with Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro looking forward to racing it on Sunday. Both sides of the Repsol Honda Team garage quickly got up to speed around the revised layout and went to work with their weekend plans. For the first time since the race here in 2019, a limited number of fans returned around the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit – the sound of their cheers a welcome sound.
Pol Espargaro enjoyed an excellent start to his home Grand Prix, running inside the top three for the entirety of Free Practice 1. It was only in the closing stages that he was pushed back from second to third, ending the session 0.349s off the top time. Free Practice 2 began in a similar fashion with Espargaro setting a top-five time almost immediately. Working through a number of items, the Granollers-native sealed his place in the top ten with a late lap. A 1’39.983 saw him end tenth on the combined times and 0.748s back from Zarco. Saturday’s goal is to improve the one lap pace of his Honda RC213V.
There was no waiting around in Free Practice 2 as Marc Marquez was on the pace as soon as the session began, leading early on and immediately faster than his morning time. The session was a steady one for the recovering eight-time World Champion who ended the day with a best lap of 1’40.120. Although 15th in the standings, Marquez was within a second of the fastest time and only 0.137s off his team-mate. Marquez and his team have identified several key areas to improve upon tomorrow.
Action continues tomorrow first with the crucial Free Practice 3 session at 09:55 Local Time and Qualifying, starting with Q1, coming later in the day at 14:10 Local Time.
Catalan GP Combined Free Practice Classification
In 1989, through the joint collaboration of the Catalan Autonomous Government, the Montmeló Town Council and the Royal Automobile Club of Catalunya (RACC), work began on giving one of Europe’s most beautiful cities a state of the art race track to match. The Circuit de Catalunya opened on the doorstep… read more.
|Length||4.627 kilometres / 2.875 miles|
|Longest straight||1.047 kilometres / 0.651 miles|
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Montmeló, Catalunya, Spain - View in Google Maps
|Pole Position||1m38.639s (169.9km/h) Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati, 2023)|
|Race Lap||1m39.939 (167.7km/h) Johann Zarco (Ducati, 2021)|
|Race Time||40'21.749 (166.1km/h) Miguel Oliveira (KTM, 2021)|
|2023 Sprint Winner||Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia)|
|2023 Race Winner||Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia)|