Aprilia Racing have dominated the opening day at the Monster Energy Catalan Grand Prix as Aleix Espargaro clinched top spot ahead of teammate Maverick Viñales. The pair were split by three tenths after sharing the lead of the timesheets throughout FP2, with Gresini Racing’s Enea Bastianini the Noale factory’s closest challenger in third.

Espargaro took over at the top with 20 minutes remaining, displacing FP1’s fastest man Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) with a set of medium tyres. Seven minutes were left when we saw the first man stick some soft rubber in, with Viñales deciding it was the moment for a time attack.

The Spaniard put the soft rubber to good use as well by stealing top spot away from his teammate. Top Gun then found another two tenths on his next lap, posting a 1:39.705. The Ducati trio of Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), Bastianini and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) all had a go at trying to better Viñales but all three failed in their quests.

Then, with the chequered flag out, Espargaro snatched Friday’s fastest man tag away from his teammate with a blistering 1:39.402 – half a second shy of Fabio Quartararo’s (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) outright lap record from 12 months ago. A 1-2 for the Aprilia teammates to start the weekend, as both Espargaro and Viñales look to repeat their Catalan heroics after taking 1-2 on the grid whilst riding for Suzuki at the 2015 Catalan Grand Prix.

Bastianini fronted the Ducati threesome looking to spoil the RS-GP party, 0.488 adrift of the fastest lap of the day in third. Bagnaia secured fourth overall, with Martin in fifth four hundreths further back. A strong final flying lap from Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) saw the South African jump up to sixth on the timesheets.

Making sure there were four Bologna bullets in the top ten was Jack Miller, who stuck his Ducati Lenovo machine into seventh late on. Quartararo will have some concerns after only managing to get to within three-quarters of a second of his title rival Espargaro in eighth. Completing the top ten on Friday were FP1’s fastest rider Rins and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli, who slipped back after starting his weekend inside the top three.

MotoGP™ are back on track for the vital FP3 at 09:55 local time (GMT+2), as the world’s best on two wheels all fight it out for a place inside the top ten.

MotoGP™ Top 10 on Friday:
1. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) – 1:39.402
2. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.303
3. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 0.488
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.548
5. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.587
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.681
7. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.693
8. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.721
9. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.724
10. Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 0.802

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