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Moto2: Espargaro sweeps Mugello practice

Pol Espargaro fastest during Friday practice (2) for the Italian Moto2 Grand Prix at Mugello.
Pol Espargaro put his Sachsenring disappointment behind him by setting the fastest time in both of Friday's practice session for the Italian Moto2 Grand Prix at Mugello.

The Pons Kalex rider was fastest by just 0.090s from home hero Andrea Iannone this morning, then lapped 0.221s quicker than nearest rival Bradley Smith this afternoon.

Espargaro best lap was his 14th of 19.

Smith did a valiant job of overcoming the Tech 3's lack of top speed at a circuit which contains the highest top speeds of the season - and will have a new aero package to try on Saturday

2012 race winner Thomas Luthi claimed third place for Interwetten Suter, with Marc Marquez closing the day in fourth.

Marquez, confirmed as a 2013 Repsol Honda MotoGP rider on Thursday, holds a 43-point title lead over Espargaro heading into this weekend's ninth round of 17.

The Repsol Suter rider spent part of the session trying to learn from the flying Espargaro, but still finished 0.516s adrift.

With former Mugello Moto2 winner Iannone dropping to ninth this afternoon, Simone Corsi was the leading home rider in fifth place for Ioda FTR.

2012 podium finishers Scott Redding, Alex de Angelis and Mike Kallio were sixth, seventh and eighth. Italtrans Kalex rider Takaaki Nakagami rounded out a top ten covered by 0.965s.

The returning Mike di Meglio was 23rd quickest after his first day as a substitute for MZ, while further Mugello changes have seen QMMF's Anthony West switch to a Speed Up chassis.

West was 27th (+2.459s) out of 33 riders this afternoon. Team-mate Elena Rosell, the only remaining Moriwaki rider, was last (+5.277s).

Friday practice (2):

1. Pol Espargaro SPA (Kalex) 1m 52.745s
2. Bradley Smith GBR (Tech 3) 1m 52.966s
3. Thomas Luthi SWI (Suter) 1m 53.179s
4. Marc Marquez SPA (Suter) 1m 53.261s
5. Simone Corsi ITA (FTR) 1m 53.308s
6. Scott Redding GBR (Kalex) 1m 53.342s
7. Alex De Angelis RSM (FTR) 1m 53.346s
8. Mika Kallio FIN (Kalex) 1m 53.372s
9. Andrea Iannone ITA (Speed Up) 1m 53.441s
10. Takaaki Nakagami JPN (Kalex) 1m 53.610s
11. Johann Zarco FRA (MotoBI) 1m 53.659s
12. Nicolas Terol SPA (Suter) 1m 53.714s
13. Esteve Rabat SPA (Kalex) 1m 53.787s
14. Claudio Corti ITA (Kalex) 1m 53.810s
15. Yuki Takahashi JPN (FTR) 1m 53.878s

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Smokin - Unregistered

July 13, 2012 3:44 PM

5 mph down on top speed and still second. Only practice and the race will be a tougher challenge, but good stuff. Sensible from Tech3 to get the bike settings sorted before introducing a vraiable into the mix.

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