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MotoGP Mugello: Espargaro denies Ducati in FP2

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro continued his commanding presence in MotoGP by topping the FP2 times at Mugello on Friday afternoon.

A 1’45.891 denied the entire Ducati pack with factory Lenovo riders Pecco Bagnaia and Jack Miller heading the Desmosedici offensive.

Espargaro was straight to the top of the times as FP2 fired up on Friday afternoon. The Aprilia rider setting the pace with a 1’47.126, from Mooney VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi and Prima Pramac’s Johann Zarco before he bettered himself then the Frenchman took charge overall with a 1’46.381.


Bagnaia slotted into second, three-tenths adrift of his fellow Desmosedici rider with Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins and Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez completing the top five. Enea Bastianini joined the Bologna party out front with the Gresini GP21, 0.021s ahead of his fellow Italian with Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo seventh.

Pol Espargaro took a trip through the gravel as he attempted, and failed, to promote his Honda from 17th as Bagnaia set a personal best out front. The Italian now 0.157s adrift of Zarco as the pair commanded the overall times.

The fastest GP22 of the day slid across turn four and thought the gravel trap with the bike lay stricken on the racing line as the second half counted down. The red flag brought out due to track conditions.

The action resumed with 18 minutes remaining. Suzuki’s 2020 champion Joan Mir currently the first adrift of the Q2 zone, by just 0.077s, with Bezzecchi holding the 1’47.192 gateway time. Maverick Viñales and Takaaki Nakagami the only two riders inside the top ten yet to have improved on their FP1 laps as Rins crashed out on the second GSX-RR thought the first chicane with 12 minutes to go. The track falling quiet once again ahead of the final runs.

A late session shootout saw the Ducatis fire up first with Bagnaia leading the assault. The number 63 taking the top spot from Miller, Zarco and Luca Marini with Jorge Martin locking out the five fastest times before Bastianini and Bezzecchi joined the fun in fifth and sixth and the Spaniard dropped to seventh.

Espargaro was on a roll, however, in what has already been a newsworthy weekend for the Noale squad. The Spaniard leapfrogging the entire Bologna brigade with a 1’45.891 before setting about for a second bite of the cherry. Quartararo entered the top ten fight from eighth with Pol Espargaro ninth and Marc Marquez just adrift in eleventh. Brad Binder’s P7 effort dropping Martin out of contention as his teammate Zarco hit the deck for the second time in the session in the closing minute.

The yellow flags from the Frenchman’s fall prevented any further improvement as the chequered flag prepared. Espargaro commanding the day from the gaggle of Ducatis with Martin, Marquez, FP1 man Nakagami and Rins left in no mans land ahead of a Saturday morning push.

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