Espargaro on the pace as Marquez aims for smooth sailing on Saturday

Espargaro on the pace as Marquez aims for smooth sailing on Saturday

Consistent progress for Pol Espargaro who is hunting more one-lap speed as teammate Marc Marquez vows to recover after back-to-back crashes on Friday in Jerez.

A positive morning welcomed the Repsol Honda Team to the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, Pol Espargaro ending Free Practice 1 in eighth and Marc Marquez just a few tenths behind in 11th. Espargaro was able to show his speed in the morning, leading the way until the final moments when riders began to throw in single quick laps. 0.327s back from the leader, Espargaro would continue to show strong pace over the rest of the day.

Ultimately taking seventh on the combined times, Espargaro would finish Friday with a best time of 1’37.590. Half a second off fastest rider Fabio Quartararo and just a tenth of a second from the top five, Espargaro feels there is room to improve between now and Saturday as he and the Repsol Honda Team continue to experiment with the RC213V in Jerez. With 0.9s splitting the entirety of the top 16, every thousandth of a second will count come Qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Pleased with his race pace, Espargaro feels there is still more to be done over a single lap.

Marc Marquez ended the morning’s session 0.612s behind Mir’s best lap and in 11th as his day of experimentation began. It would be a complicated afternoon ultimately for the eight-time World Champion as he suffered two falls within just minutes of each other in Free Practice 2. First falling at Turn 6, Marquez fell also at Turn 9 but avoided injury in both incidents. The falls left the #93 unable to dramatically improve his lap time, ending the day down in 19th with a 1’38.200 – 1.1 seconds shy of Quartararo.

Experimentation was the order of the day for Marquez, his two RC213V machines running quite different setups. As a result of this, Marquez’s second bike did not provide the feeling he needed to improve his time after falling.

Action resumes with Free Practice 3 at 09:55 Local Time on Saturday, April 30.

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