Aleix Espargaró is writing what would be the ideal story for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™, the home race. The Catalan rider took another pole position today at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and also beat the record set last year by reigning champion Fabio Quartararo. He did so in front of 38,374 passionate fans of the world of motor racing and competition.
The ninth round of the season was duly completed today at the Catalan track before tomorrow’s big test. Aleix Espargaró was the most diligent in this task, confirming the good sensations of the first days of the event with his second fastest lap at the Circuit. He already did it in 2015 with Suzuki, and now he has done it with Aprilia. The Catalan’s 1:38.742 is now the fastest time ever set in the premier class of motorcycling, an honour previously held by Fabio Quartararo (01:38.853).
The qualifying session, however, was not an easy one for any of the participants. The high temperatures put the riders and their bikes to the test, with the focus on tyre degradation. Aleix Espargaró himself was doubly satisfied with his pole position after a challenging session in which there was no room for mistakes. Francesco Bagnaia also had it clear and completed a masterful lap, just 31 thousandths of a second behind Espargaró. In fact, in the final minutes of Q2, the Catalan had to abort his final attempt and left everyone on tenterhooks as Bagnaia pushed hard on the last lap.
The Ducati rider is gaining a reputation as an expert in degradation control, as this morning he tested nearly 28 laps on the same tyre at a fast and consistent pace, a point that could work in his favour tomorrow. Fabio Quartararo did his best to compensate for the tenths lost by the Yamaha’s engine with his riding ability and exhaustive knowledge of the Catalan track. Although he didn’t take the pole position, he came close and will start third tomorrow, alongside Espargaró and Bagnaia.
Once again, a diversity of makes at the front: Aprilia, Ducati and Yamaha. The second row of the grid, however, is an absolute Ducati monopoly. Johann Zarco will lead the group from fourth, followed by Fabio Di Giannantonio in fifth and Jorge Martín in sixth; in other words, Prima Pramac Racing versus Gresini Racing MotoGP.
Alex Rins, who dominated the first practice session, was seventh, followed by another of the fastest riders at the Circuit, Maverick Viñales. The two Catalans are both in with a chance of a podium finish on home soil and a chance to make up for a somewhat negative run for both of them. Luca Marini will join them on the third row of the grid. Another home rider, Pol Espargaró, was in the top 10 of the fastest riders, seven tenths off the best time of his brother Aleix and with the best top speed. Miller and Nakagami will start 11th and 12th respectively.
Álex Márquez was missed among the local riders. The LCR Honda Castrol rider was unable to take part in the qualifying session due to a crash at the end of the fourth practice session this morning. Shortly after the incident it was confirmed that Márquez had not suffered any fractures, but did suffer some bruising. Tomorrow it will be decided whether the Cervera-born rider will ride on track. If that is the case, Márquez will start last on the grid.
Celestino Vietti regains command at the Circuit
The Moto2™ leader has returned to what seems to be his natural place in the championship. The member of Valentino Rossi’s team completed a somewhat discreet free practice yesterday at the Circuit. Indeed, he didn’t even make it into the top ten this morning, but when things got serious in Q1, so did he. Vietti took the chequered flag with 1:43.823, a time almost identical to that of Arón Canet.
Canet was second, but only 8 thousandths of a second behind Vietti. The Flexbox HP40 rider has clinched three second places this year, but he comes from a difficult race in Mugello. Tomorrow, the Valencian rider will fight with the championship points in mind. On the positive side for him, Ai Ogura, the other title rival, qualified in tenth place. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) continued his upward trend and, after finishing this morning’s free practice session in first place, was third in qualifying.
Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) leads the second row of the grid, followed by his teammate Albert Arenas. The Catalan can already look forward to a good result at home, showing an impressive pace throughout. In fact, only two tenths of a second separated him from pole position. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) was sixth on the timesheet. Alex Toledo and Jeremy Alcoba failed to make it through to Q2 and will start tomorrow from 23rd and 28th respectively.
Dennis Foggia takes his second pole position in Moto3™
Dennis Foggia claimed the pole position in the Moto3™ class today. The Leopard Racing rider set an impressive lap, setting a time of 1:48.290. Considering the level playing field in the small class of the World Championship, the Italian’s achievement is commendable, given that second placed Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) stopped the clock at 1:48.428, thus gaining some margin of difference. In addition, Foggia took his second Moto3™ pole position in Barcelona and heads into the race with a certain degree of calm.
This relative calm is also due to the fact that Sergio García, the championship leader, will start tomorrow from the third row of the grid, in seventh position to be precise. The Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team rider is used to fighting until the end, so tomorrow he will have to focus on getting to the front as soon as possible. His teammate Izan Guevara took third position and will start alongside Foggia and Öncü.
Jaume Masiá (Red Bull KTM Ajo), third in the points standings, took the chequered flag in 14th position. The session was a little more positive for Lorenzo Fellon (SIC58 Squadra Corse), the fourth fastest rider. Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets -MSI) and Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) will close the second row of the grid with fifth and sixth places. Xavier Artigas (CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP), the only Catalan representative in the class, will start 25th in his home GP.
A racing Sunday
The riders will get down to work tomorrow from 9 a.m. with the Warm Up sessions. Moto3™ will be the first category, followed by Moto2™ at 9:20 a.m. and MotoGP™ at 9.40 a.m. The Moto3™ race will take place at 11 a.m., followed by the Moto2™ race at 12:20 p.m. and the premier class at 2 p.m.
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.