(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
Frenchman Johann Zarco set the fastest time in the first two free practice sessions of the Austrian MotoGP yesterday. Zarco, who rides for Ducati Pramac, was 0.024 seconds faster than Australian Jack Miller on a factory Ducati, with another Pramac rider Jorge Martin at 0.029.
Zarco topped qualifying for the last race at Silverstone but then crashed out on lap five.
“Happy with this first day,” said Zarco after the session, adding that he had given himself insurance in case the forecast rain arrives during the third practice session today. Important lap time in the afternoon in case of tricky conditions on Saturday morning. Overall a good feeling,” he said.
World champion Fabio Quartararo was fastest of the title contenders. The French rider, who again leads this year's standings, was fourth on his Yamaha at 0.040.“The pace looks good, but it's true that we set those laps riding alone,” the Frenchman said yesterday.“In a group it's different. It's a shame that we had some yellow flags, and we weren't faultless today. I'm pushing myself to the limit. It won't be easy, but I feel we have good potential,” he added.
Italian Francesco Bagnaia, who is third in the standings after winning the last two races, was next on the second factory Ducati at a track where the Italian manufacturer has dominated in recent years.
Yesterday's practice sessions finished with seven Ducatis in the top eight places. Spaniard Aleix Espargaro of Aprilia, second in the standings, was 11th.
1. Johann Zarco (FRA/Ducati-Pramac) 1min 29.837sec, 2. Jack Miller (AUS/Ducati) at 0.024, 3. Jorge Martin (ESP/Ducati-Pramac) 0.029, 4. Fabio Quartararo (FRA/ Yamaha) 0.040, 5. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA/Ducati) 0.160, 6. Luca Marini (ITA/Ducati-VR46) 0.193, 7. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA/Ducati-VR46) 0.229, 8. Enea Bastianini (ITA/Ducati-Gresini) 0.229, 9. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Aprilia) 0.276, 10. Brad Binder (AFS/KTM) 0.291, 11. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprilia) 0.310
Pol Espargaro switching to KTM's rebranded affiliate GasGas
Pol Espargaro will switch to KTM's second outfit GasGas, the rebranded team announced yestreday in a press conference ahead of the Austrian MotoGP.
The 31-year-old Spaniard is the younger brother of Aleix Espargaro who races for Aprilia.
While the 33-year-old is having a breakout season, taking his first MotoGP victory and sitting second in the championship, Pol is 17th.
Pol Espargaro raced for the KTM factory team from its entry in MotoGP in 2017 to 2020, finishing fifth in the championship in his final season, the team's best finish. He has never won a race. In reply to Honda's tweeted thanks, he promised them on Twitter that he would be“Pushing 110% until the end!!!”
KTM has been running a second team since 2019 when it replaced Yamaha as the bike supplier for French team Tech3.
Yesterday, the team announced it would rebrand next season as GasGas, a KTM-owned Spanish bike manufacturer based in Catalunya. Espargaro is also from Catalunya.
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