Hot temperatures played a prominent role at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya during the first day of MotoGP free practice on Friday.
Pol Espargaró rode the fifth fastest time in FP1, establishing a good pace and starting the Catalan Grand Prix with a good feeling. In the afternoon, in which there was a notable rise in track temperature, the Repsol Honda Team rider was unable to break into the Top 10 and finished FP2 in eleventh.
With a best time of 1:40.237, on his penultimate lap (18 of 19), he was just 0.033 off a provisional spot in Q2.
Stefan Bradl got back on the Repsol Honda RC213V as a stand-in for Marc Márquez. He made steady improvement in terms of his feeling, and set progressively faster times. Bradl put in a best lap of 1:41.074, placing 23rd overall.
"With the race tyre we are looking quite good, we were able to run towards the top of the time sheets. It’s honestly better than we expected. When we fitted the soft tyre, we weren’t able to improve as much as everyone else so we have some work to do overnight. Even like this we were very close so I think we can overcome it tomorrow, but you have to see what the conditions are like and what everyone is doing tomorrow. I’m quite positive about our situation for the race so we need to get inside the three rows on the grid."
"Today was about riding the bike and getting back to racing mode where you have to deliver in the moment. It has been a good day as we were able to find some improvements between this morning and this afternoon. We are also here still testing some things, so it is a busy Grand Prix already. We are in the process of building, getting faster and I hope we can make another step tomorrow"