Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Mugello
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Mugello

As it happened: Espargaro leads dominant Aprilia showing in Catalan MotoGP FP2

Round nine of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship takes place in Catalunya at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. 

Update: Alex Rins bounced back from consecutive DNF's in Le Mans and Mugello by topping FP1 for the Catalan MotoGP. 

It was another strong opening session for Aprilia as Maverick Vinales finished second and Aleix Espargaro fourth.

Ducati head into the second Spanish race of the season in fine form following Francesco Bagnaia’s second victory in three races.

The Italian manufacturer has won over 50% of the races held so far in 2022, and with sections of the Catalan circuit expected to suit the Bologna bullets, a sixth victory is a strong possibility. 

Hoping to stop Ducati’s early season dominance will be reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo who claimed his third podium in four races at Mugello. 

The current championship leader also extended his points advantage after crucially beating Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro to second. 

Catalunya, which hosts a Grand Prix for the 31st consecutive season this weekend, will do so without eight-time world champion Marc Marquez following the Spaniard’s decision to receive a fourth right arm operation since 2020. 

Marquez managed to claim tenth in Mugello, but with the Repsol Honda rider continuing to struggle physically, it’s a move that comes as no surprise. 

One team that’s in desperate need of a response is Suzuki as Joan Mir and Alex Rins have combined for 0 points in the last two races.

Four crashes between them has turned potential title challenges into unrealistic dreams as it stands. 

In his three appearances at Catalunya [MotoGP], Mir has not finished lower than sixth, which includes a podium during his championship winning season [2020]. 

Rins also claimed a podium during the 2020 Catalan MotoGP after coming home in P3. 

Of the riders currently competing in MotoGP, Marquez, Quartararo, Andrea Dovizioso and Miguel Oliveira have taken victories - Oliveira was the last to do so, while the most successful premier class riders in Barcelona are Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. 

The ex-Yamaha riders produced one of the greatest MotoGP races of all-time in 2009, a race which Rossi won. 

The nine-time world champion won 10 times around Montmelo (six in MotoGP), while Lorenzo won six times (five in MotoGP). 

03 Jun 2022