Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.-Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) continued to play his symphony at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™. In a first since Austin 2016, he claimed the top of the timesheets in the three free practice sessions. And, as if all were in the family, Álex Márquez (Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS) climbed to the top of the timesheets in Moto2™ today. In Moto3™, Arón Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) led a free practice clearly dominated by the locals.
At the end of day one of the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™, the Safety Commission decided to go back to last year’s track layout. The new Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya chicane was replaced with the one used in 2016, a mere 40 meters further down. This nullified the FP1 and FP2 classifications, so today was a brand new start for all the teams.
The riders feelings, thought, remain unchanged –except for that chicane- as the bikes performance were identical. Surprise hit FP3, as some of the usual frontrunners did not make it into Q2: championship leader Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP™) and team mate Valentino Rossi classified 13th and 15th fastest, 0.711 and 0.875 seconds off the pace.
Marc Márquez (1m 44.178s) topped the timesheets, followed by Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team, +0.101s); Álvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team, 3rd, +0.217s); Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, 4th, +0.231); Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team, 5th, +0.437s); Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team, 6th, +0.445s); Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, 7th, +0.478s); Scott Redding (OCTO Pramac Racing, 8th, +0.498s), and Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Racing, 9th, +0.503s). Héctor Barberá (Reale Avintia Racing, +0.562s) closed the list with his first ever direct Q2 classification.
Álex Márquez, favourite for Moto2™ pole position
Local rider Álex Márquez is on fire. After posting a strong performance yesterday, he set the fastest time in FP3 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today. The Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider stamped his authority in the session through scorching laps, consistently below the 1m50s bar. In the dying minutes, Italian Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) demoted him on a 1m 50.284s lap, but Márquez kept an ace up his sleeve and regained the top of the standings with a final 1m 50.208s.
Valencian rookie Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) secured his best performance ever in a Moto2™ practice and completed the leading trio, just two tenths of a second off the pace. Championship leader Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) finished 9th, behind local rider Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing, 1m50.767s).
The intermediate class of grand prix racing provides an incredibly even playing field, with as many as 18 riders within a single second. A fascinating battle for pole position is assured.
Canet keeps setting the pace in Moto3™
Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders were head and shoulders above the crowd. Aron Canet was again the quickest man on the track, as on Friday, and bettered his performance with a 1m 53.966s flying lap which sent a resounding message about his aspirations to pole.
Team mate Enea Bastianini wound up second, 32 hundredths off the lead, improving on his previous results. Current championship leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) followed in, 69 hundredths off the pace. Jorge Martín (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) spent part of the practice on top of the timesheets but eventually fell down to 4th spot, on 1m 54.293s. Less than one second covered the top 11 riders in this class.