Fresh faces come to the fore on Friday

Fresh from arm pump surgery less than two weeks ago, Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo has ended Friday at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya at the top of the times, thanks to a final flying lap time of 1:40.079 at the end of FP2. The rookie heads Mission Winnow Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso by nearly three tenths, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) completing the top three.

After a cloudy start to proceedings in FP1, the sun appeared for the second session of the day as the times in the afternoon would eventually settle the provisional automatic Q2 places. Quartararo did a bit of grass tracking in the early stages of FP2 but after finishing FP1 in second, the Frenchman would go one better in the afternoon to snatch Friday honours from Dovizioso at the death. A stellar last sector paved the way for Quartararo to go 0.281 quicker than anyone else on Day 1 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with 2017 Catalan GP winner Dovi going well in the second Friday session to go from P4 to P2 in FP1 and FP2.

The leading Honda rider so far in Barcelona isn’t home hero and Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). Nakagami went great guns in FP1 to finish P5, only for the Japanese rider to go even better in the afternoon to finish third on the combined times – 0.302 splitting Nakagami from Quartararo as fresh faces challenge the more experienced riders in Barcelona on Friday.

One of those more experienced riders in Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro, the Spaniard managed to improve his time by over a second in FP2 to finish fourth fastest, making it four manufacturers inside the top four, with reigning Moto2™ World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) closing out the top five on his Desmosedici GP18 – the Italian also going over a second quicker in the second session.