File Photo by Gold & Goose
It doesn’t happen often, but Bradley Smith closed Friday’s MotoGP FP2 leading at a blistering hot Catalunya with a 1:42.123 on his Monster Energy/Tech 3 Yamaha. However, Smith wasn’t the fastest on Friday. That honor goes to Aleix Espargaro, who was able to clock a 1:41.672 in the cooler morning session aboard the NGM Forward Racing Yamaha, using the softer tires available to Open class teams.
Focusing on FP2 is was a bit surprising to see Smith end the day atop the timing screens. Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Stefan Bradl each shared time at P1, but in the closing minutes of the session Smith was able to string together some excellent sector times to springboard to the top. Smith is currently 10th in the standings and has only scored in the top five once so far this year, so Smith and his team had big smiles on their faces after the fine FP2 performance.
Coming into the Catalunya weekend Smith said, “The last Grand Prix at Mugello did not go exactly how I had planned and it was not a true representation of my race ability. We were just a bit unlucky which can sometimes happen to any rider, however I am confident as always and I know I can get a strong result this weekend. The Yamaha works well here and last season I got my joint best result of sixth in my rookie season. So this year I plan to up the stakes and finish higher.”
Bradl closed FP2 in second with a 1:42.130 on the LCR Honda.
Perhaps the only thing a bit more surprising than Smith’s top time in FP2 was the fact that Marquez did not top the charts. The undefeated series leader finished third in the session on the Repsol Honda. In the pre-race press conference Marquez weighed in on running at his home track and addressed the talk that he might go undefeated in 2014.
He commented, “It is special to be riding at my home track not too far from my home town, but it is more special to be arriving here in this form. It is almost like if I don’t win the race it is a disaster, but it’s not like that. I expect Jorge and Valentino to be strong here from the beginning, but if we get our set-up right here we can be competitive too.”
“Some people talk about me winning all the races this year, but it’s almost impossible. My confidence and level is high at the moment but winning each single race is difficult.”
Jorge Lorenzo, who is the defending race winner and Pol Espargaro rounded out the top five in FP2. Rossi, who led was P1 early in the session on the factory Yamaha, finished the session in sixth.
Andrea Dovizioso, Yonny Hernandez, Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa rounded out the top 10 – Pedrosa’s sub-par performance also a leading story on the day.
Colin Edwards (1:43.819) was 15th in FP2 on his NGM Forward Racing Yamaha. Nicky Hayden, who recently had surgery on his ailing right wrist, was back in action after missing the race in Italy and ran 18th on Friday in FP2. The Drive M7 Aspar rider was using Friday as a test of his wrist and has yet to announce if he’ll continue on the weekend.
MotoGP FP2 Result from Catalunya – Friday, June 13, 2014
1. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 42.123s
2. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 1m 42.130s +0.007s
3. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 42.274s +0.151s
4. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 42.282s +0.159s
5. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 1m 42.608s +0.485s
6. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 1m 42.629s +0.506s
7. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 42.812s +0.689s
8. Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 1m 42.860s +0.737s
9. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 1m 43.037s +0.914s
10. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 1m 43.078s +0.955s
11. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 1m 43.160s +1.037s
12. Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 1m 43.198s +1.075s
13. Scott Redding GBR Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 1m 43.612s +1.489s
14. Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 43.725s +1.602s
15. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 1m 43.819s +1.696s
16. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 1m 43.908s +1.785s
17. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Avintia) 1m 43.961s +1.838s
18. Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 1m 44.027s +1.904s
19. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 1m 44.096s +1.973s
20. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 1m 44.125s +2.002s
21. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 1m 44.525s +2.402s
22. Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 1m 44.852s +2.729s
23. Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing (Avintia) 1m 45.482s +3.359s
24. Michel Fabrizio ITA IodaRacing Project (ART) 1m 47.329s +5.206s