The Marc Marquez penalty appeal looks to have gone against him, but Pol Espargaro put the off track discussions firmly behind him by leading both Moto2 practice sessions at Assen on Thursday.

World championship leader Marquez looks certain to keep his 16 Catalunya points after a Wednesday hearing into his collision with Espargaro decided that the FIM Stewards were right to overturn the initial Marquez penalty.

That means Marquez will start Saturday's race with a six-point lead over Espargaro and Thomas Luthi, but it was Pons Kalex rider Espargaro who took the initiative on Thursday.

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Only Andrea Iannone had been able to threaten Espargaro's pace in the morning session, when Marquez was just eighth. Italian Iannone (Speed Up) was again runner-up to Espargaro in the afternoon, this time 0.147s adrift, with Dominique Aegerter the top Suter rider in third (+0.451s).

Repsol Suter rider Marquez closed the gap slightly to finish fourth and 0.642s from Espargaro, with class rookie Johan Zarco fifth for MotoBI after getting the chance to trail Marquez in the closing stages.

Silverstone runner-up Scott Redding fell with fifteen minutes to go, the Englishman low-siding from his Marc VDS Kalex after almost clipping the back of former champion Toni Elias, who was also brought down in the incident.

Initially unable to stand due to a knock to his right leg, Redding - who later said he felt Elias had been cruising - eventually limped away, while Elias tried unsuccessfully to dig his Aspar Suter from the Dutch gravel.

Alex de Angelis marked the end of his first day on the 2012 FTR chassis with a late accident - Forward Racing having switched from Suter from this weekend. The Sammarinese finished the afternoon in tenth, but team-mate Yuki Takahashi just 28th.

Australian Damian Cudlin, who has replaced Angel Rodriguez at the Desguaces La Torre SAG (Bimota) team, finished the day 29th out of the 33 riders.

Final practice and qualifying takes place on Friday.

Thursday practice (2):

1. Pol Espargaro SPA (Kalex) 1m 38.421s
2. Andrea Iannone ITA (Speed Up) 1m 38.568s
3. Dominique Aegerter SWI (Suter) 1m 38.872s
4. Marc Marquez SPA (Suter) 1m 39.063s
5. Johann Zarco FRA (MotoBI) 1m 39.130s
6. Claudio Corti ITA (Kalex) 1m 39.148s
7. Toni Elias SPA (Suter) 1m 39.160s
8. Simone Corsi ITA (FTR) 1m 39.182s
9. Scott Redding GBR (Kalex) 1m 39.232s
10. Alex De Angelis RSM (FTR) 1m 39.318s
11. Bradley Smith GBR (Tech 3) 1m 39.362s
12. Mika Kallio FIN (Kalex) 1m 39.373s
13. Thomas Luthi SWI (Suter) 1m 39.479s
14. Takaaki Nakagami JPN (Kalex) 1m 39.486s
15. Max Neukirchner GER (Kalex) 1m 39.493s