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Aleix Espargaro, Catalunya MotoGP, 3 June

As it happened: Aleix Espargaro sets new lap record in Catalan MotoGP qualifying

Last Updated: 04 Jun 2022 - 13:54

Round nine of the 2022 World Championship is well under way as we reach FP3 in the CatalanGP weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona - Catalunya.

After Friday’s sessions concluded it was advantage Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia with his team-mate Maverick Vinales next quickest on combined times after the opening day concluded.

Espargaro is on a fine run of form, with four consecutive third place finishes under his belt from the last four races, backing up his win from pole back in Argentina, which sees him sit an impressive second in the overall standings.

Ducati arrive on a successful run having taken the spoils in the Mugello MotoGP race as Francesco Bagnaia claimed his second victory in three races.

This time it was Gresini’s Enea Bastianini who was leading the way for the Italian factory after day one, third overall after picking up the pace in FP2, himself a recent winner having claimed victory one race earlier in Le Mans.

Bagnaia was fourth on the factory Ducati, with Jorge Martin giving him a run for his money on the Pramac entry, while Jack Miller posted the seventh best time on the opening day.

They were split by the KTM of Brad Binder in sixth.

Alex Rins arrived on home soil coming off another early exit in Italy with neither he nor team-mate Joan Mir scoring over the last two rounds. A promising first session turned out to remain Rins’ best effort as only he and the last two riders did not improve, though he still lead the way for Suzuki in eighth.

Reigining champion and standings leader Fabio Quartararo has work to do. The Yamaha rider has a new contract under his belt to remain with the factory,  but begins Saturday from ninth, one place ahead of team-mate Franco Morbidelli as he continues his resurgence.

Marc Marquez is a notable absentee at the Catalunya Grand Prix. The eight time world champion has already had his fourth right arm surgery since 2020 after announcing his decision in Italy. 

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12:43

Fabio Quartararo is showing good pace as he moves into second spot - +0.200s off Espargaro. The Yamaha rider is using a hard rear tyre too.

12:38

It's still ealry but FP4 is once again being dominated by Espargaro. The Spaniard's pace is unrelenting at the moment. 

12:36
12:34

One of the big names needing to go through Q1 will be Enea Bastianini.

12:32

And we're underway for FP4.

12:22

Can anyone stop Aleix Espargaro heading into qualifying after the Aprilia rider continued his day-one domination in FP3?

12:20

Good afternoon and welcome back to qualifying day at the Catalan MotoGP. Before the choas that is qualifying ensues, FP4 is coming up next! 

10:47
09:45

Session completed and it is still Aleix Espargaro on top after that huge new all time lap record. The top five is completed by Zarco, Martin, Bagnaia and Miller as the Ducati bikes queue up behind.

09:45
09:41

All change again as the final runs drop times for everyone - current top five is A. Espargaro, Zarco, Martin, Bagnaia and Miller as the chequered flag comes out. 

09:37

Jack Miller had dropped to 14th - with three minutes to go he bounces back for third

09:32

It's busy out on track as first Fabio Quartararo lays claim to second, before he is swiftly bettered by Johann Zarco. The gap is down to 0.261s but it's still Aleix Espargaro leading the way.

09:30

Alex Rins finds something extra and is up to second - but that lap from Espargaro was special - he's over half a second off the top lap.

09:28

A lot of movement again - Alex Rins is up to sixth, knocking his team-mate Joan Mir out and down to eleventh. Enea Bastianini moves into fourth at the same time.

09:24

Aleix Espargaro immediately bites back with the fastest time today, and went again to push hard for the fastest ever lap of the Catalan track - a 1m 38.771s.

09:21

A tyre change sees Maverick Vinales top the session and is now just behind Aleix Espargaro and his time from yesterday.

09:18

Joan Mir moves into the top ten, but is in the 'at risk' slot. Marco Bezzecchi is shuffled out to eleventh.

09:13

Pol Espargaro is down! Now running through the gravel back to his bike at turn five. He was pushing hard - hes's currently 16th whille Nakagami is sixth.

09:07

Fabio Quartararo has the fastest time in this session after that run of laps - moving the Yamamha man up to second.

09:06

Taka Nakagami moves his Honda up to seventh. There have been a flurry of changes but Aleix Espargaro remains top.

09:03

Brad Binder is the first faller - down at trun four after his brother equalled his lap time- a fast crash.

09:02

Miller makes the first move - he's up to fifth. Fabio Di Giannantonio is next - up to ninth, knocking Franco Morbidelli out of the top ten.

09:00
08:55

The bikes leave pit lane and FP3 is go!