MotoGP

Espargaro tops red-flagged FP2 from Bagnaia

Hotter conditions greeted the field for the second 45-minute session of the Mugello weekend, but this didn’t have an adverse effect on lap time improvements on the combined order.

Aprilia’s Espargaro set the early pace with a 1m47.126s inside the opening five minutes, before Pramac’s Johann Zarco set the best lap of the day with a 1m46.381s.

Eight riders inside the top 10 made lap time gains on the combined order through the first 30 minutes or so of FP2, with the closing stages leading to a mock qualifying run for the field.

Zarco’s lap remained the benchmark through to that late time attack, though the Frenchman’s session was interrupted with around 19 minutes remaining when he crashed at the Turn 4 right-hander.

His Ducati then slid through the gravel and spilled debris across the racing line at Turn 5, leading to a brief red flag while the circuit was cleaned.

Suzuki’s Alex Rins had a similar crash at Turn 4 just moments into the restarted session.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bagnaia deposed Zarco with a 1m45.940s on his first soft tyre lap at the end of FP2, but would be beaten by Espargaro after he guided his Aprilia to a 1m45.891s.

A second crash for Zarco at the Turn 12 right-hander at the end of FP2 stopped a number of riders from making any improvements and ensured Espargaro ended Friday fastest of all.

Bagnaia shadowed the Aprilia rider 0.049 seconds adrift as he led something of a Ducati onslaught ahead of team-mate Jack Miller, Zarco, VR46’s Luca Marini and Gresini’s Enea Bastianini.

KTM’s Brad Binder broke up the Ducati party with a late 1m46.439s which put him seventh ahead of the sister VR46 Ducati of Marco Bezzecchi.

Reigning world champion and current championship leader Fabio Quartararo put his underpowered Yamaha into a provisional Q2 place in ninth ahead of the factory Honda of Pol Espargaro.

Pramac’s Jorge Martin was denied a top 10 spot by just 0.011s, which could prove pivotal given uncertain weather forecasts for Saturday.

This could also mean Marc Marquez faces Q1 in qualifying tomorrow after he ended Friday in 12th ahead of FP2 pacesetter Takaaki Nakagami on the LCR Honda, while both Suzukis in Rins – who was 14th – and 19th-placed team-mate Joan Mir could join them.

FP3 for the 2022 MotoGP Italian Grand Prix gets underway at 9:55am local time (8:55am BST) on Saturday.

Results:


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