Marquez ready to fight from fifth, Espargaro shows speed to match

Saturday at the Spanish Grand Prix saw Marc Marquez deliver when it mattered, securing fifth on the grid while Pol Espargaro showed speed to battle for the top five but was left looking for more.

It was a classic Jerez day as the Gran Premio Red Bull de España began, the Spanish sun warming the 4.4-kilometre-long circuit throughout the day. When Qualifying got underway, near ideal conditions were waiting for the MotoGP class.

Putting a complicated Friday behind him, Marc Marquez and the Repsol Honda Team steeled their focus in Free Practice 3 and got the job done. Setting the fourth fastest time of the session, Marquez earned a spot in Q2 and was able to make some progress with the feeling of his Honda RC213V. This one lap speed continued in Q2, the Repsol Honda Team rider able to set a best lap of 1’37.145 to secure fifth on the grid for Sunday’s 25-lap race. This is Marquez’s second-best Qualifying of the year after starting from the front row in Qatar.

Free Practice 4 saw Marquez work almost exclusively on very used tyres, producing strong and consistent pace. A fast start to stay with the leading group will be the first objective for Sunday, Marquez ready to see how the race then unfolds.

Having shown such promise during the opening day of practice, Pol Espargaro’s Free Practice 3 hit a roadblock right at the end. Ashe was on his quickest lap of the weekend to that point, the #44 fell at the last corner of his last run and finally missed out on the combined top ten. Bitterly disappointed, Espargaro was fired up for Q1 and attacked from the opening of the session as he went about setting his times alone.

But Zarco’s final lap of the session was enough to push Espargaro from a transfer spot, the Repsol Honda Team rider lining up in 13th for Sunday’s race. The 1’37.138 from Espargaro’s Q1 session would have been good enough for fifth on the grid, 0.007s faster than his teammate. Clearly able to run the times, Espargaro heads into the race with a point to prove.

Sunday’s Gran Premio Red Bull de España is schedule to start at 14:00 Local Time and run over 25-laps. Fans look set to once again fill the hills and grandstands of Jerez.

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