Aleix Espargaro put in a late charge to steal top spot from Petronas Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli during MotoGP FP1 in Catalunya. 

The Aprilia rider fitted a new front and rear medium tyre during the closing stages and set a lap time of 1:40.738s, while most of the field remained on used tyres.

Before that, Espargaro was running third for much of the session - behind Morbidelli and brother Pol Espargaro.

Morbidelli was particularly strong in sectors three and four after exchanging fastest times with Marc Marquez early on. The Italian has good form around the Catalan track as he took pole position here last season.

It was a much improved start to the weekend for Repsol Honda and Espargaro who endured a tough Mugello race where he finished 12th.

Fourth was the Monster Energy Yamaha of Maverick Vinales, while team-mate and championship leader Fabio Quartararo was sixth. 

Quartararo comes into the weekend following a third MotoGP win of the season, but also the latest rider to win around Barcelona.

Splitting the two factory Yamaha riders was Johann Zarco aboard the Pramac Ducati. The Italian team is back to full strength this weekend as Jorge Martin made his MotoGP return - finished 12th quickest. 

Miguel Oliveira was seventh following his and KTM’s first podium of the 2021 season last time out. 

Rounding out the top ten was 2020 world champion Joan Mir and both factory Ducati riders Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia - ninth and tenth respectively. 

Fans were seen in the grandstands for the first time this year, as 20% of the circuit capacity is allowed.