Open class rider leads overall times on day one while Marquez tops second session
The first day of practice ahead of Sunday’s Gran Premio bwin de España saw Open Class rider Aleix Espargaro leading the way on combined times with the NGM Forward Racing rider settling into a good rhythm at the Jerez De La Fronteira track while MotoGP Championship leader Repsol, Honda’s Marc Marquez set the fastest time in this afternoon’s FP2 session.
Fast from the very first lap, Espargaro was only 0.216s off Marquez’s pace this afternoon and set the overall fastest time on day one of 1m 39.357s. Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo sits second overall with a best time of 1m 39.714s Good enough to be ahead of Marquez while he stayed ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa who set a best lap of 1m 39.860s.
Andrea Dovizioso’s best lap of 1m 40.028s was enough for the Ducati Team rider to stay ahead of Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi (1m 40.125s) and GO&Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista (1m 40.560s). LCR Honda Stefan Bradl sits in 8th after day one with his best lap of 1m 40.672s better than that of Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez 1m 40.686s and Andrea Iannone in 10th place with a best lap of 1m 40.742s.
Speaking afterwards, Lorenzo said the soaring temperatures this afternoon changed the track conditions significantly. “The track changed so much from the morning to the afternoon, it was much more slippery and we had to try the different rear tire. Like in Qatar it gave us the same problems with less grip and the bike then feels nervous. We are much closer than before though and I think we can close the gap,” he said.
Marquez was happy with his performance but is also wary of rising temperatures and said, “Today was a positive first day at a track where I had a lot of difficulty last year. It seems as if this year we are at the same level as the faster riders like Dani, Lorenzo and Rossi right from the start, and this is obviously important. With that accomplished, we have also tried to work on things, but it was much easier to set a fast lap and pace this morning, than when the temperatures rose this afternoon. I think that everyone had grip issues, due to the track temperatures reaching 50 degrees. Tomorrow, we will try to take another step forward and work towards qualifying and the race.”