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Practice report
MotoGP British GP

MotoGP British GP: Espargaro tops FP2 as Marquez, Quartararo miss Q2 cut

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro topped second practice for the MotoGP British Grand Prix as both Marc Marquez and Fabio Quartararo failed to make the Q2 cut.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

As part of a format tweak for the remainder of the 2023 season, Friday’s second practice session is the only one that now counts towards Saturday’s qualifying.

The top 10 riders at the end of the session progress directly into the Q2 qualifying segment, while the rest go through Q1.

Aprilia’s Espargaro fired in a 1m58.183s on his final lap to see out second practice fastest of all, dethroning Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin.

Brad Binder completed the top three for KTM, while championship leader Francesco Bagnaia was sixth on the leading factory team Ducati.

As the Japanese manufacturers continue to struggle, both 2021 British GP winner Quartararo (Yamaha) and eight-time world champion Marquez (Honda) will have to vie for a place in Q2 in the first part of qualifying on Saturday.

FP1 pacesetter Marco Bezzecchi set the early pace with a 2m01.897s, before improving to a 2m00.025s over the opening seven minutes of the hour-long outing.

The first sub-2m00s lap came from KTM’s Brad Binder eight minutes into the session as the South African fired in a 1m59.889s, which stood as the benchmark until the half-hour mark.

Bezzecchi was the first rider on his VR46 Ducati to go for a soft tyre time attack run and posted a 1m59.716s, before Aprilia’s Espargaro edged ahead with a 1m59.694s around 10 minutes later.

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Seven minutes later, the times started to tumble as the session fully turned into a time attack, with Binder kicking things off on his KTM with a 1m59.680s – which was immediately bested by team-mate Jack Miller’s 1m59.567s.

Maverick Vinales then took over with a 1m59.218s, having picked himself out of the Vale gravel trap following a crash early on in the session.

With just under five minutes to go, Bagnaia shot to the top of the order with a 1m58.973s, before Martin and then Espargaro lit up the timing screens.

The latter’s 1m58.183s put him a massive 0.671s clear of Martin, who in turn was just 0.044s ahead of Binder.

Vinales was fourth ahead of Pramac’s Johann Zarco and Bagnaia, with Bezzecchi seventh despite a nasty looking highside at Luffield in the closing stages.

Miller, Luca Marini – who also suffered a crash on his VR46 bike during the session – and Gresini Ducati’s Alex Marquez rounded out the top 10 to claim the final Q2 places.

Quartararo missed out by 0.127s at the end of a poor session for the Yamaha rider, which included a nasty compression moment as he changed direction through Chapel curve in the early stages.

He headed outgoing Yamaha team-mate Franco Morbidelli and Marc Marquez, with RNF’s Miguel Oliveira 14th from Enea Bastianini on the sister factory team Ducati.

Joan Mir was 18th at the end of practice on his return for Honda, while Pol Espargaro was 2.6s off the pace in 21st as he gets used to his Tech3 KTM again.

MotoGP British GP - FP2 results

Results to follow

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