Pol Espargaro fastest on filthy track


Heavy rain ahead of Friday’s running and construction work around the circuit situated on Indonesia’s Lombok Island left the track absolutely filthy.

The session was stopped just over an hour in because of track conditions, with a lengthy clean-up operation taking place for around 90 minutes.

A delegation of riders also held a meeting with Race Direction and FIM safety officer Franco Uncini to discuss the circuit, but lap times eventually improved as the day wore on – though an extra 45 minutes was added to the clock to make up for the stoppage.

Suzuki’s Alex Rins was the first to complete a lap at Mandalilka this morning on wet tyres, with Pramac’s Johann Zarco fastest ahead of the stoppage with a 1m44.830s.

As the track cleared up, riders were able to switch from wets to slicks and lap times improved.

However, only Honda’s Espargaro on the radically revised RC213V was able to get underneath the existing World Superbike lap record of 1m32.882s with his 1m32.466s set on the 68th of his 69 laps on Friday.

He headed his Aprilia-mounted brother Aleix Espargaro, who trailed the Honda by 0.471s, while KTM’s Brad Binder made a late jump to third.

Rins was top Suzuki in fourth on a 1m33.058s ahead of reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo, who ended last weekend’s Sepang test unhappy with a lack of progress made by Yamaha with its 2022 bike.

Ducati’s Jack Miller was 0.006s behind, with Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales, the sister Suzuki of Joan Mir, RNF Racing’s Andrea Dovizioso and Pramac’s Jorge Martin.

Marc Marquez did lead the session at one stage but slid back to a low-key 17th on the second of the factory team Hondas, 1.3s off the pace, while Francesco Bagnaia was 22nd having crashed during the afternoon running.

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Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio (14th), VR46 rider Marco Bezzecchi (21st) and LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami (11th) also suffered crashes on Friday.

Tech3 KTM’s Raul Fernandez was the fastest of the rookies in 19th, while team-mate Remy Gardner was 2.1s off the pace in 24th behind RNF Racing’s Darryn Binder.

Testing results (Top 10):

Pos. Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Pol Espargaro Honda 1’22”446
2 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +0″471
3 Brad Binder KTM +0″477
4 Alex Rins Suzuki +0″592
5 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha +0″642
6 Jack Miller Ducati +0″648
7 Maverick Vinales  Aprilia +0″681
8 Joan Mir Suzuki +0″778
9 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha +0″779
10 Jorge Martin Ducati +0″892

…Read more.

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