Espargaro leads second Aprilia 1-2 after setting new lap record

Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia continued their dominant start to the Catalan MotoGP after the Spaniard broke the official lap record in second practice, which he set last season. 
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Catalunya 2023
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Catalunya 2023

After securing a 1-2 finish in FP1, the all-important second practice of the day saw Miguel Oliveira continue Aprilia's good start to the Catalan MotoGP by going fastest.

Right behind the Portuguese rider was Maverick Vinales, who was second quickest in the morning session.

A dismal morning for Honda didn’t get any better at the start of the afternoon as Takaaki Nakagami jumped off his RC213V with a technical issue at turn 12.


Unlike FP1 when Espargaro and Vinales were untouchable at the head of the field, Oliveira’s top time was under threat from both Vinales and Brad Binder, as the pair were under a tenth off the RNF rider.

Marco Bezzecchi was also not far off the pace as he sat in fourth ahead of Johann Zarco.

With his three closest tital rivals all in the top ten, world champion Francesco Bagnaia was having to play catch up as he was only 20th with 20 minutes gone. 

A name that hasn’t spent much time atop a MotoGP leaderboard is Fabio Di Giannantonio, who went fastest by just under two tenths. 

Di Giannantonio then continued his impressive run by setting another lap in the low 1m 40s barrier.

Continuing to languish down the order, a new medium rear tyre helped Bagnaia find significant improvements as he jumped up from 20th to first.

After being caught up behind Marc Marquez, Bagnaia was then set to improve his top time before catching Binder at the final corner. 

Just as Vinales saved a huge highside on the exit of turn 13, Raul Fernandez was not able to avoid a crash as he went down at turn 12.

With a soft rear fitted, VInales recovered from his big moment to go fastest with a time of 1:40.095s.

Johann Zarco was next to trouble the top time as a soft-soft combination helped the Frenchman overhaul Vinales. Zarco then found more time on his next effort but was unable to break into the 1m 39s barrier.

Top spot continued to change during the closing stages as Di Giannantonio went quickest by four tenths before both factory Aprilia riders went faster. Espargaro set a time of 1:39.389s to go two tenths clear of Vinales. 

Set for P2 after three sectors, Zarco produced a stunning final sector to gain over two tenths over Espargaro. 

Zarco’s time wasn’t enough to hold off the Aprilia duo as Vinales went quickest before a new lap record was set by Espargaro.

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