Rennie Skysbrook | April 29, 2022
Alex and Marc: A Love Story
After Aleix Espargaro lamented the combative riding of Alex Marquez in the early laps of the Portuguese GP, he took aim at older brother Marc on day one at Jerez. The Aprilia man was incandescent after his compatriot slowed to a near standstill to get a tow at the close of FP2.
“He was stopping in the middle of the back straight, waiting for me for one minute,” Espargaro said. “Unbelievable! I say go, go, go. And he doesn’t care. He looks behind. It’s just unbelievable. I will not blame him, but I will blame the people on race direction. He can do whatever he wants and no one says to him.
“This is why I get mad, because he doesn’t give you 2 seconds and then he catches you. He goes touching your exhaust, you can hear him all the time and I can’t be focused on my line.”
Marquez’s retort? “He needs to be proud we are looking for his slipstream!”
Honda seeking solutions
One reason Marquez was seeking a tow was Honda continues to push to find solutions for its 2022 RC213V. The Portuguese GP was a sobering weekend, in which the eight-time’s post-race mood was beyond pessimistic.
And he delivered a frank assessment of his current predicament on Thursday. “It’s a bike that in big circuits it’s working really well like we saw in pre-season in Malaysia and then in Qatar. But as soon as we arrive at a small circuit and you need to turn in a short time, that is where we struggle a lot.”
As engineers designed the new machine to take advantage of the grip from Michelin’s rear tire, Honda’s riders have to run wider, sweeping lines as the turning capabilities of the RC213V are reduced. That means its most ferocious weapon– front end stability under heavy braking, then quick turning when the rider has pivoted the front, mid-turn – has been blunted.
HRC test rider Stefan Bradl is present as a wildcard and was running a revised exhaust all weekend. Marquez also continued to try a new swingarm that was used in Austin.
Zarco and JMB together again
Johann Zarco confirmed he has started working with Jean Michele Bayle again as he gains in his preparation. The double Moto2 world champion had previously worked with the Motocross and Supercross legend during his doomed spell with KTM in 2019, before parting ways midseason.
But the pair are working together again, with Bayle offering his compatriot pointers on training and riding technique away from the track. “By helping me and my coach to also confirm if the physical training is good or not, if I can push more in the physical,” said Zarco, currently riding to maintain a seat within Ducati next year.
“On the physical side he also gave some help and we could share what is good or not and then on the last few years for the motorcycle training I was always alone, doing my laps, trying to find some exercises but all on my own. Now we do different things. It’s good because he has a good eye, knowing also what is at the high level. So we are able to control well.”
Reigning Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) is the rider to beat so far at the 2022 Spanish MotoGP at Jerez. The Championship leader pulled two tenths clear on Friday to hold off the hard-charging Ducati trio of Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP), Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), with the Frenchman finding a late 1: 37.071 in FP2 to sit top of the pile despite a crash earlier in the day.
Behind the Quartararo-Ducati caravan in the top four it was Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) who ended Friday as top Honda in fifth. It was close though, the Japanese rider edging out Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) by just 0.004, and the gap didn’t get much bigger thereafter either, with Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro in seventh and only another 0.005 off.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins was eighth and the only rider in the top ten from FP1’s top three, and Aprilia Racing’s Maverick Viñales finished Friday in ninth. 2021 winner Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) is currently the last set to move through, the Australian in P10 on Day 1.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), meanwhile, suffered two crashes. The first off was at Turn 6, before quickly picking up the bike and rejoining. Whilst heading back to the pitlane, however, the eight-time World Champion was cruising off the racing line at Turn 9 and touched a damp patch that remained from Thursday’s rain.
2022 Spanish MotoGP Results—Friday
|2||Enea Bastianini||(Duc)||+ 0.201|
|3||Francesco Bagnaia||(Duc)||+ 0.212|
|4||Jorge Martin||(Duc)||+ 0.297|
|5||Takaaki Nakagami||(Hon)||+ 0.510|
|6||Brad Binder||(KTM)||+ 0.514|
|7||Pol Espargaro||(Hon)||+ 0.519|
|8||Alex Rins||(Suz)||+ 0.655|
|9||Maverick Vinales||(Apr)||+ 0.688|
|10||Jack Miller||(Duc)||+ 0.691|
Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team’s Jake Dixon completed a Day 1 clean sweep at the 2022 Spanish MotoGP in the Moto2 class after topping both FP1 and FP2 to sit over two tenths clear of second-place Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo). The British rider’s 1:41.646 was three tenths faster than he went on Friday morning too, with Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) slotting into third and 0.363s shy of Dixon’s pace.
2022 Spanish Moto2 Results—Friday
|2||Augusto Fernandez||(Kal)||+ 0.252|
|3||Ai Ogura||(Kal)||+ 0.363|
|4||Sam Lowes||(Kal)||+ 0.426|
|5||Tony Arbolino||(Kal)||+ 0.427|
|8||Joe Roberts||(Kal)||+ 0.556|
|11||Cameron Beaubier||(Kal)||+ 0.632|
|27||Sean Dylan Kelly||(Kal)||+ 2.051|
Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) is top of the pile after Day 1 at the 2022 Spanish MotoGP in the Moto3 class, with the home hero setting an impressive 1:46.341 halfway through FP2 and remaining unchallenged. Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) was second quickest, just less than a tenth and a half off, with fellow Portugal podium finisher Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo).
2022 Spanish Moto3 Results—Friday
|2||Ayumu Sasaki||(Hus)||+ 0.132|
|3||Jaume Masia||(KTM)||+ 0.192|
|4||Carlos Tatay||(CFMOTO)||+ 0.326|
|5||Deniz Öncü||(KTM)||+ 0.397|
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