Espargaro fights back as Aprilia complete second 1-2 in practice

After seeing teammate Maverick Vinales take home the FP1 spoils, Aleix Espargaro fought back to claim top spot with the fastest overall time on day-one of the Argentine MotoGP. 
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Argentina 2023
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Argentina 2023

While most of the grid were a few tenths away from their best times from FP1 at the beginning of the second practice session, Brad Binder threatened to beat his best time on his first flying lap.

Down in 16th place, Binder went within a couple of tenths of his best FP1 time but was unable to beat it. 

That changed on his next lap around as he narrowly improved his lap time, although it wasn’t enough to take him ahead of Fabio Quartararo, who also endured a tough FP1 session. 

Fourth at the end of this morning’s session, Takaaki Nakagami was again showing good pace for Honda as he sat fourth after the first few laps. 

Although he remained outside the top ten, Miller was providing fast lap times and plenty of entertainment as he smoked the rear tyre coming around turn six. The factory KTM rider was one of a few riders to improve his overall time early on. 

Fastest after 15 minutes, Espargaro was also providing plenty of sparks as he saved a considerable wobble on the exit of the final corner. 

As Alex Rins found significant improvements to go fifth on combined times, a sign that the Spaniard might be figuring out the Honda puzzle, Augusto Fernandez suffered an early tumble at turn one. 

Fernandez’s fall came at the same corner that Rins also fell at during the opening practice of the weekend. 

While both Nakagami and Rins were inside the top five on combined times with nearly 25 minutes gone, Mir remained last and was over a second down on the two LCR men. 

In an attempt to find out where his Yamaha is struggling, Quartararo spent an entire lap behind Bagnaia but visibly lost time in sectors two and three. 

Bagnaia set a personal best while Quartararo finished the lap 1.5 seconds down Maverick Vinales’s best time. 

As this was happening, Johann Zarco endured a scary moment at turn one as he got his braking wrong and had to run off the track. 

With rain holding off, and race runs coming to an end with 20 minutes remaining, Jorge Martin was one of the first riders to begin the time attack flurry. 


Wasting no time to show his speed and attempt to secure a Q2 spot, Martin immediately went quickest overall. 

Espargaro was next to go fastest ahead of Vinales, but just as quick as he leaped into first was his demotion to second as Bagnaia became the first rider to crack the 1m 38s barrier. 

Vinales finally got his wish of going quickest once again with a brilliant time of 1:38.852s, however, Bezzecchi stunned the Aprilia rider by going even quickest. Bezzecchi’s teammate Luca Marini also showed speed as he slotted into P3.

As FP2 moved into crunch time, Vinales and Espargaro produced once again for Aprilia as the latter got the better of Vinales by 0.162s.

Ducati riders made up the next five positions ahead of Nakagami and Morbidelli, however, it was another disaster for Quartararo who finished outside the top ten and will need to go through Q1 on Saturday.

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