Espargaro made it three consecutive sessions in which he was fastest after producing a lap time of 1:38.648s - some two tenths quicker than reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo. 

The extended MotoGP warm-up session got underway with Aleix’s brother Pol Espargaro reduced to watching from pit lane. 

The Repsol Honda rider was seen sitting in his garage as work continued to be done to his RC213V. Luckily for Espargaro, the issues only resulted in a six minute delay for the Spaniard who then headed out to join a full complement of riders. 

At the front of the leaderboard Johann Zarco led an early Pramac Ducati 1-2, while Marco Bezzecchi kept his strong weekend going with third.

Ducati’s 1-2-3 was short-lived however, as Espargaro began to show his true potential by going quickest for the first time in this session, once again backing up his status as pre-race favourite. 

As lap times continued to get quicker in what was bright sunshine around the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit, Brad Binder made it two KTM’s inside the top five by overhauling Quartararo for P1. 

Both riders had relatively disappointing qualifying sessions by their standards - Quartararo managed sixth and Binder P12 - but the two have so far demonstrated very good race pace.

While turn one proved to be quite the nemesis for riders during day-one, it was instead turn six that produced the day’s first crash as Bezzecchi suffered a front-end fall.

In typical MotoGP fashion, lap times then began to close up as Quartararo went quickest by just -0.002s from Espargaro. 

But with the Aprilia rider at the very beginning of his second stint, more pace was delivered on his next lap around as he went close to two tenths clear of the factory Yamaha man.

Following a disastrous qualifying, Francesco Bagnaia’s start to race day didn’t seem to go much better. 

The 2021 championship runner-up ran wide on some parts of the track, a consistent theme from Saturday’s action. While Martin was as high as third with half the session complete, Bagnaia remained outside the top ten in P11. 

Third on the grid for today’s race, Luca Marini joined his Mooney VR46 Ducati team-mate Bezzecchi in crashing - this time it was a turn two fall for the former Moto2 runner-up.

Continuing to push the benchmark time further away from his competitors, Espargaro went two-and-a-half tenths clear of Quartararo, as he also became the lone rider to get within a second of his pole position time. 

With Espargaro clearly in a league of his own, Bagnaia finally moved up the order by going fifth fastest with ten minutes remaining. 

As warm-up entered the closing stages, both factory KTM’s were showing impressive pace given their tyre age. 

Race winner at Mandalika, Miguel Oliveira was sixth with team-mate Binder one place further back in seventh. 

One rider who seemed to be struggling for pace again was championship leader Enea Bastianini. Late race performance has been one of his biggest strengths since joining the premier class, and it appears he will need it again once racing gets underway.