Francesco Bagnaia is the qucikest driver of the MotoGP FP2 at the Spanish GP in Jerez on Friday.
It was FP2 time for the MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix. In FP1 the top 19 were split by a second, with KTM’s Brad Binder on top from Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro. There were five manufacturers in the top five in the morning running, so only a fool would make a prediction so early in the weekend. FP2 is an important session. The top 10 in combined Friday practice get a ticket to Q2 on Saturday afternoon. The other 12, or 13 this weekend, need to fight through Q1, where the top 2 get a spot in the second qualifying session. This means there will be a lot of action in this session as riders battle it out to get into the top 10.
The 45-minute session got underway, and a steady stream of 23 riders made their way on track. There were no fallers in a clean FP1, but at Moto3 practice showed, that could be expected to change in this session. The conditions were far warmer than the cool, overcast conditions of the morning session. There was sunlight and the temperature was significantly higher around 21 degrees Celsius.
It took two laps for the riders to get into 1.38s, with the lap times falling all the time. It took seven minutes for Fabio Quartararo the equal the fastest time in FP1. 10 minutes in, he became the first rider in the 1.37s, with Aleix Espargaro second. The riders were beginning to set into race run rhythm, with most just doing lap after lap of mid 1.38s laps. Franco Morbidelli put his Yamaha on top with a 1.37.965 with half an hour to go. He immediately lowered it to a 1.37.704, while other riders ended their first runs by going into the pits.
Interestingly, Joan Mir did much of his FP2 stint on his old first practice tires, which were 21 laps old, with lap time still coming out of them. At the halfway point, Morbidelli was still on top from Quartararo with Espargaro in third. The riders were beginning to leave the pitlane for their second runs now with race runs in mind. Takaaki Nakagami made his name known by going second, but Morbidelli was secure in first with 15 minutes left. Rookie Enea Bastianini seemed to have something loose on the rear of his bike which was flapping around in the wind.
Tito Rabat then had a fairly sizeable smash at the final corner, becoming the first crasher of the weekend. He was ok, but the bike was ruined. Most of the riders were settling on riding around with mediums on the front and rear, unlike FP1 where the soft front was the tire of choice. With 10 minutes left, most were back in the pits getting ready for a final run, which would likely be a qualifying run to get in the top 10 and Q2.
Those fast runs came in the final five minutes. Every rider was out on brand new soft tires, and as such, the times were tumbling. Miguel Oliveira was the first to put a big lap in, moving to third. Quartararo went fastest, then Espargaro deposed him briefly before Pecco Bagnaia put a massive lap time in, a 1.37.209. Quartararo and Johann Zarco were both flying though, but neither could top Bagnaia’s lap.
So it was Bagnaia fastest. The top 10 in FP2 were all into Q2, but there was still FP3 tomorrow to go to finalize it. Quartararo was second and Aleix Espargaro was a brilliant third again for Aprilia. Once again, one second covered most of the field, with the top split by a single second.