Monster Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro scorched to the top of the Misano MotoGP timesheets this afternoon and dipped under the existing lap record to beat a resurgent Dani Pedrosa to set the fastest time of the day so far - a 1’32.769.
Espargaro, who was second quickest this morning behind Valentino Rossi, knocked almost a second off his laptime this afternoon in Italy after following current championship leader Marc Marquez but he was chased hard by Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa who is only 0.065s behind his compatriot.
Higher track temperatures are helping the tiny Spaniard as he has struggled to get heat into the front Michelin so far this year but there are no such problems on the Adriatic coast as 125°C is the normal operating temperature for this rubber.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso jumped into third place with his 18th lap of 20 and is the last rider under the 1’33s barrier with a 1’32.901. He will fly solo for the rest of the weekend as team-mate Andrea Iannone has been declared unfit after his crash at turn 11 this morning (click here).
Jorge Lorenzo is enjoying the non-wet conditions and is incredibly strong when it comes to race pace. The Movistar Yamaha man put in nine laps in the 1’33s over three runs with a best of 1’33.056 set on his penultimate lap. By comparison, Espargaro spent much of his time in the 1’34s with only two laps in the 1’33s and then his best of 1’32.769.
Pedrosa has five laps in the 1’33s and Dovizoso has four while Marquez, who ended in fifth place, is in better shape with six laps under the 1’34 barrier.
Hometown hero Valentino Rossi ended the day in sixth place after having a proper dummy spit at Aleix Espargaro after the Spaniard looked over his shoulder as he cruised into the final two corners and then still managed to get in The Doctor’s way. It caused Rossi to lose his temper and remonstrate with the Ecstar Suzuki man as he rolled down pitlane while Rossi cruised down the home straight.
The Doctor recovered his composure to end six-tenths behind Espargaro and has a similar pace to Marquez using the hard rear Michelin.
Cal Crutchlow ended in seventh place with Scott Redding jumping up to eighth with his 17th lap of 19. Hector Barbera ended in ninth while Maverick Vinales struggled with rear grip in the hot conditions and also had his best lap of 1’33.576 cancelled due to exceeding track limits. He rounds out the top ten.
Alex Lowes finished in 17th on the combined sheets but 15th in free practice two after dropping eight-tenths off his time and ending 1.4s slower than his team-mate. Eugene Laverty bounced back from a crash this morning to finish in 18th place.