Aprilia records one-two in second Jerez practice

Aleix Espargaro headed an Aprilia one-two in Practice 2 in Jerez

Aleix Espargaro headed an Aprilia one-two in Practice 2 in Jerez

Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales sealed a one-two for the factory team in Practice 2 at Jerez in Spain on Friday.

The duo hit the top late in the session after bettering wildcard Dani Pedrosa’s time from the morning, which wasn’t threatened until the closing minutes due to hotter track temperatures in the afternoon.

Espargaro’s 1:36.708s lap led the times, with team-mate Viñales only two-thousandths of a second adrift in second.

KTM test rider Pedrosa’s time from Practice 1 was enough to put him third on the combined leaderboard on the Red Bull RC16. The 37-year-old was ninth in the afternoon session.

Big guns Francesco Bagnaia (Lenovo Ducati), championship leader Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati) and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) all finished outside the top 10, missing out on automatic progress to Qualifying 2.

Bezzecchi’s Ducati suffered a huge engine failure about halfway through the one-hour session.

Australia’s Jack Miller finished third quickest in Practice 2 after making good progress on the Red Bull KTM, leaving ‘Jackass’ fifth overall on Friday.

Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco was fifth fastest in the latter session ahead of Miguel Oliveira (RNF Aprilia) and Alex Marquez on the Gresini Ducati, with the top six covered by three-tenths of a second.

World champion Bagnaia was eighth on the factory Ducati, but his afternoon time wasn’t enough to put him into the top 10 overall on Friday.

The session was red-flagged before resuming again shortly afterwards due to a damaged air fence when Honda World Superbike rider Iker Lecuona came off the Repsol Honda.

Lecuona is deputising for the injured Marc Marquez this weekend in the factory squad on the RC213V. He finished last of the 24 MotoGP riders again in Practice 2.

Repsol Honda’s Joan Mir also had a tough afternoon, coming off twice in separate incidents at Turn 5 and Turn 6 respectively.

LCR Honda’s Alex Rins was also a faller.

Rins, victorious at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas last time out, was 21st fastest in Practice 2 and will have to participate in Qualifying 1 on Saturday.

The returning Enea Bastianini ruled out of the last two rounds in Argentina and America after suffering a fractured shoulder in an incident with Luca Marini in Portugal, was 20th.

The ten riders who have secured an automatic place in Qualifying 2 in Jerez are Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM), Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati), Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM), Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati), Miguel Oliveira (RNF Aprilia), Alex Marquez (Gresini Ducati), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) and Luca Marini (VR46 Ducati).

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