Alex Marquez fastest as Aleix Espargaro suffers three falls in Practice 2

Alex Marquez led a Ducati 1-2 during the second practice session for the Malaysian MotoGP, while Aleix Espargaro endured a nightmare session for Aprilia. 
Alex Marquez, Ducati MotoGP Sepang 2023
Alex Marquez, Ducati MotoGP Sepang 2023

Practice 2 saw the Marquez brothers make an early statement of intent as Marc was the pacesetter with a time of 1:59.513s.

Alex Marquez then dipped below the 1m 59s barrier as he went fastest ahead of Marc and Fabio Quartararo.

Aleix Espargaro became the first rider to crash this afternoon as he lost the front-end of his Aprilia at turn one. The fall was Espargaro’s second of the day after his RS-GP23 caught fire in Free Practice 1. 

It wasn’t just Espargaro who was struggling for Aprilia, as Vinales was 21st with 20 minutes gone.

The Spaniard, who was using a hard rear tyre instead of the medium which was becoming the favoured option, soon improved but only to P19.

Marco Bezzecchi improved at the same time as he jumped up to third, although he was still over half a second off Alex Marquez’ top time.

Top in FP1, Jorge Martin then went back to the top of the leaderboard with the quickest time of the day. 

Sliding the rear tyre out of turn 12, Brad Binder was pushing his factory KTM very hard before moving up to P11. 

Espargaro’s disastrous Practice 2 session continued with under 30 minutes remaining as he crashed for the second time.

The Catalunya race winner went down at turn nine before getting his machine restarted, unlike his earlier tumble. 

Espargaro’s team-mate Vinales was one of the first riders to make a significant step forward after fitting a new medium rear tyre with a third of the session to go. 

As the time attacks started picking up steam, French duo Johann Zarco and Quartararo jumped up to second and third respectively.

Zarco had two red sectors before losing out by just +0.007s to his team-mate Martin. The title contender was eventually pushed off top spot by Binder, before Quartararo went quickest with a time of 1:58.399s.

Binder then responded by also setting a 1m 58.3s time to go top, while Espargaro suffered a third crash (fourth of the day). The Aprilia rider fell at turn five.

It was all change at the front again as Alex Marquez backed up his early-session potential.

With just a couple of minutes remaining, Martin showed his usual devastating pace to dip below the 1m 58s barrier. 

But Martin couldn’t secure top spot as A. Marquez went close to two tenths faster on his final flying lap.

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