Barcelona, June 2022: Both Repsol Honda Team riders spent Saturday preparing for what is set to be a challenging Catalan GP, temperatures and tyre life two factors for Espargaro and Bradl to manage.
The heat was again unrelating in Barcelona, ambient temperatures climbing above 30°C as the tarmac crept towards 60°C. On track there was nowhere to hide as the pace also escalated, the outright lap record being broken several times during the day.
Saturday’s first session went well overall for Pol Espargaro, able to end the morning in the top ten for a spot in Q2. Victim to a crash at Turn 5 midway through Free Practice 3, Espargaro leapt to his feet immediately. His best time of 1’39.246 would come after the fall, his never give up attitude on full display. With his team working tirelessly over the midday break, Espargaro was able to continue FP4 and Qualifying with two RC213Vs. Hotter conditions in Q2 saw the home hero unable to improve on his overall best time, missing the mark by just 0.2s.
Tenth place on the grid will see the 30-year-old lead the Honda charge into Turn 1. Espargaro’s Q2 time from 2022 was 2.3 seconds faster than his lap from the previous year. Tyre management will be a key aspect of Sunday’s race.
On the other side of the Repsol Honda Team garage, Stefan Bradl continued his adaptation. Able to consistently improve his lap times in each session and tick off a number of important items for Honda HRC. Setting the 11th fastest time in Q1, the German will start Sunday’s 24-lap race from 21st on the grid ahead of Ducati test rider Michele Pirro.
Forecasts suggest a slight drop in temperature for Sunday, topping out at around 27°C at 14:00 Local Time – just when the race is scheduled to begin.
Pol Espargaro (10th)
“FP3 was quite good for us, even with the crash. Already we knew that the afternoon would be harder and I wasn’t able to be faster. I was losing most of my time braking into Turn 1, this is where my time went. Tenth was the best we could do finally in Qualifying. Tomorrow is going to be a tricky race; we will need to use the harder tyres and try to manage them – like everyone. The change in temperature is not a lot so finally the track will be greasy like today. Let’s see what happens and no matter what we will try out best for the home fans here!”
Stefan Bradl (21st)
“We improved a little bit over yesterday and I avoided any mistakes. This morning I struggled a bit to find speed in qualifying mode but in Q1 we made a step and improved our position. Still, we are building our speed and this is where we are at the moment. Our plan for the race is to manage the tyres and the situation, the main goal is to finish the race and learn what we can. I am not setting a specific target for the race, just to be with the others.”
Qualifying Results – Gran Premi de Catalunya
|1||ESPARGARO ALEIX||41||SPA||APRILIA RACING||APRILIA||1’38.742|
|2||BAGNAIA FRANCESCO||62||ITA||DUCATI LENOVO TEAM||DUCATI||0.031|
|3||QUARTARARO FABIO||20||FRA||MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP||YAMAHA||0.217|
|4||ZARCO JOHANN||5||FRA||PRAMAC RACING||DUCATI||0.285|
|5||DI GIANNANTONIO FABIO||49||ITA||TEAM GRESINI RACING MOTOGP||DUCATI||0.357|
|6||MARTIN JORGE||89||SPA||PRAMAC RACING||DUCATI||0.4|
|7||RINS ALEX||42||SPA||TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR||SUZUKI||0.403|
|8||VINALES MAVERICK||12||SPA||APRILIA RACING||APRILIA||0.655|
|9||MARINI LUCA||10||ITA||MOONEY VR46 RACING TEAM||DUCATI||0.709|
|10||ESPARGARO POL||44||SPA||REPSOL HONDA TEAM||HONDA||0.735|
|11||MILLER JACK||43||AUS||DUCATI LENOVO TEAM||DUCATI||0.781|
|12||NAKAGAMI TAKAAKI||30||JPN||LCR HONDA||HONDA||0.869|
|13||BEZZECCHI MARCO||73||ITA||MOONEY VR46 RACING TEAM||DUCATI||0.024 Q1|
|14||BASTIANINI ENEA||23||ITA||TEAM GRESINI RACING MOTOGP||DUCATI||0.03|
|15||BINDER BRAD||33||RSA||RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING||KTM||0.033|
|16||OLIVEIRA MIGUEL||88||POR||RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING||KTM||0.204|
|17||MIR JOAN||36||SPA||TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR||SUZUKI||0.448|
|18||MORBIDELLI FRANCO||21||ITA||MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP||YAMAHA||0.668|
|19||DOVIZIOSO ANDREA||4||ITA||WITHU YAMAHA RNF MOTOGP TEAM||YAMAHA||0.855|
|20||GARDNER REMY||87||AUS||TECH 3 KTM FACTORY RACING||KTM||0.897|
|21||BRADL STEFAN||6||GER||REPSOL HONDA TEAM||HONDA||1.082|
|22||PIRRO MICHELE||51||ITA||DUCATI TEST TEAM||DUCATI||1.135|
|23||BINDER DARRYN||40||RSA||WITHU YAMAHA RNF MOTOGP TEAM||YAMAHA||1.157|
|24||FERNANDEZ RAUL||25||SPA||TECH 3 KTM FACTORY RACING||KTM||1.371|
|25||MARQUEZ ALEX||73||SPA||LCR HONDA||HONDA||NO TIME SET|
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