Aprilia, Espargaró and Viñales, a solid candidacy

Aprilia, Espargaró and Viñales, a solid candidacy for the Catalunya GP

The Italian duo monopolised the top positions with a great pace on the World Championship track. Enea Bastianini was third in the battle for the best times.

Moto GPMotoGP

The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™ has started confirming some predictions. Aprilia didn’t want to waste a single second at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and closed the first day of activity, enjoyed by a total of 16,132 attendees, at the top of the timesheets. Aleix Espargaró was already in the betting, but the home rider was joined by his team-mate Maverick Viñales.

Aleix Espargaró had already said in yesterday’s press conference that they were looking strong for this weekend. He wasn’t off track at all. A bike in constant evolution, a more than familiar circuit and a streak of four podiums in a row could be some of the factors that give an extra boost to the Granollers-born rider. The Catalan clocked 1:39.402, the fastest time on the MotoGP™ grid today.

His teammate, Maverick Viñales, was a pleasant surprise with the second fastest overall time, three tenths off Espargaró. Nonetheless, Maverick Viñales was able to get a double second place in FP1 and FP2, something that Aleix Espargaró, who finished fourth this morning, was unable to do. Alex Rins, eighth in the combined times, was the fastest rider in the first session.

Behind the Aprilia double, three Ducati riders found their place. Third fastest was Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP), followed by Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Jorge Martín (Prima Pramac Racing). As has been a recurring theme this season, the Ducati riders are not letting up in their fight for the Manufacturers’ World Championship. The three were the last riders to set a lap in one minute and thirty-nine seconds.

Brad Binder put his KTM in sixth position, but only twelve thousandths of a second behind Jack Miller. This part of the standings is always a mystery, with multiple contenders in a constant dance of positions. In this fight is Alex Rins, one of the few riders who today did not improve his time in the second free practice session. Despite this, the Catalan was the best qualifier for the Suzuki Ecstar team, as Joan Mir had to settle for the sixteenth fastest time.

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team riders had a very similar pace, occupying the last two positions of the top 10 with Fabio Quartararo in front and Franco Morbidelli behind him. They will need to be at their best this weekend if they are to retain third position in the MotoGP™ World Championship team standings.

Pol Espargaró, who has a new team-mate following the news of Marc Márquez’s surgery, was eleventh today, while Stefan Bradl was twenty-third. Álex Márquez was the Catalan rider in eighteenth position.

Arón Canet and Augusto Fernández, very close in Moto2™

The intermediate category promises a Sunday full of surprises and strong emotions. The equality between the best times was more than evident, with up to four riders within just over a tenth of a second of each other. The lucky ones were Arón Canet (Flexbox HP40), Augusto Fernández (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) in that order. Canet’s best time was 1:44.450.

Canet scored a first goal with respect to his immediate rivals in the World Championship, Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), who did not make it into the top ten positions of the day. To be precise, they were twelfth and eleventh respectively. Although the points will be distributed over two days, Canet can breathe a little easier than Vietti and Ogura.

Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) took fifth place, followed by home rider Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team). Alex Toledo (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) has been confirmed at the last minute as a replacement for Gabriel Rodrigo and joins the Catalan representation. The rider from Calafell was twenty-third, a result very similar to that of Jeremy Alcoba (Liqui Moly Intact GP), who was twenty-fifth.

Izan Guevara, the fastest in Moto3™.

Guevara ended the first day at the top of the timesheets in the smallest category of the World Championship. The rider from Palma de Mallorca set the benchmark time with a 1:48.675. This time was achieved in the morning free practice session, which was much faster than the second one. The Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team rider confirmed his good pace in every possible way, as he was not only the fastest in the combined times, but he also topped both classifications.

Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was in a slightly different situation, with a second place and an eighteenth, and a best time of 1:48.870. The provisional podium was taken by Dennis Foggia, with Honda third. These results and positions are somewhat in line with those of the World Championship standings. Jaume Masià (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was also among the leading men, in fourth place.

The leader of the championship, Sergio Garcia, completed the ninth fastest lap of the day with his GASGAS. Garcia was seven tenths off Guevara’s best time, but he will surely move up the table tomorrow. Home representative Xavier Artigas (CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP) closed Friday from 25th place.

The day ended with the traditional visit of the fans to the pit lane, the Pit Walk. For an hour and a half, all those who came to the garage area were able to see some of the drivers of the World Championship and walk around one of the most emblematic and exclusive places of the track with an unbeatable aesthetic.

Inauguration of the Sebastià Salvadó Square

The Circuit wanted to pay tribute to Sebastià Salvadó, promoter of motorsport and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. It has done so by naming the square at the entrance to the paddock as Sebastià Salvadó Square, who was the president of the RACC for 30 years. The opening ceremony was attended by several members of the Salvadó family, authorities and personalities from the world of motor sports such as Josep Lluís Santamaría, General Manager of the Circuit; Josep Mateu, President of the RACC; Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports; and drivers such as Sito Pons, Carlos Checa, Pol Espargaró, Pedro de la Rosa, Luis Pérez-Sala and Joaquim Folch.

A full programme of sporting events

The bikes will take to the track tomorrow for the final free practice sessions of the weekend. Moto3™ will turn green at 9 a.m., MotoGP™ at 9.55 a.m. and Moto2™ at 10.55 a.m. Qualifying will start at 12.35 p.m. with Moto3™. At 1.30 p.m. the premier class will complete FP4, followed by two laps of timed practice (2.10 p.m. and 2.35 p.m.). At 3.10 p.m. Moto2™ will close the programme.

Another sustainable Grand Prix with KISS Barcelona 2022

The Circuit, through its Green Meeting Point platform, is promoting, for the tenth year in a row, the KISS Barcelona programme invoking the KISS (Keep It Shiny and Sustainable) programme by FIM Ride Green. This year, all efforts are focused on raising awareness among the public about the care and respect for the environment, within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals SDG 2030 of the United Nations, pursuing the objectives of reducing CO2 emissions, minimising waste, caring for the environment, raising awareness and inspiring the community.

This is achieved with the 3C Management “Conscience, Commitment and Coherence”, with actions like the use of 100% renewable energy, the donation of food, the use of 0-km gastronomy products, the use of circular economy in waste management or the sustainable forest care in the surroundings of the Circuit.

Access to the Circuit

Fans will be able to access from Friday to Sunday through any of the gates of the Circuit, as well as to park their vehicles in any of the outdoor car parks. In order to do so, it is necessary to have previously bought a parking ticket online, as there is no physical sale of this type of ticket on site. The gates will open on Friday and Saturday at 8 a.m. and on Sunday at 7 a.m.

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