Espargaro leads Honda 1-2 in FP2, Bagnaia crashes

Rain has come and gone all day at the Algarve International Circuit near Portimao on Friday, with a heavier downpour arriving around 15 minutes into the 45-minute FP2.

Conditions already proved tricky before that, as factory Ducati rider Bagnaia crashed suddenly at the Turn 3 right-hander just seconds after he’d gone fastest with a 1m51.789s.

Bagnaia walked away from the spill but was caught picking up a handful of gravel and delivering it to Ducati boss Davide Tardozzi upon returning to the pits.

Tardozzi later confirmed that Bagnaia will take the stones to this evening’s rider safety commission, with the size of the gravel at Portimao – and the safety problems this causes – an issue raised in the past.

As Bagnaia picked himself out of the gravel, Honda’s Espargaro demoted him from the top of the standings with a 1m50.984s.

Espargaro proceeded to improve on this to a 1m50.707s, which at one stage put him just over a second clear of Honda teammate Marc Marquez.

Marquez managed to claw back some of that deficit with a 1m51.318s, but was still 0.611s adrift.

With around 30 minutes still left on the clock, the rain intensified somewhat and stopped anyone from mounting a challenge on Espargaro’s time.

One rider was on course to get close to the Honda’s benchmark in the form of rookie Marco Bezzecchi.

But the VR46 Ducati rider suffered a nasty highside going through the fast turn 9 left-hander at the Craig Jones corner.

He walked away from the crash and was able to return to the session on his second bike, but was left in the 16th as a result.

Pramac’s Johann Zarco also got flicked from his Ducati at the Turn 2 right-hander in the closing moments of FP2, but he too was unscathed.

With Honda annexing the top of the timesheets with Espargaro and Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso led the Yamaha charge in third on the RNF Racing-run M1.

The 15-time MotoGP race winner was over a second adrift of Espargaro, with Bagnaia and Pramac’s Jorge Martin completing the top five.

Alex Marquez continued his strong wet pace from FP1 this afternoon with the sixth-best time of FP2 on his LRC Honda, as Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli finished seventh ahead of Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales, LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami and home hero Miguel Oliveira on the factory KTM.

Joan Mir was 11th on the first of the Suzukis, with teammate Alex Rins once again having a low-key showing in 20th behind KTM’s Brad Binder and the sister Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro.

Zarco was left in the 12th after his crash ahead of fellow Frenchman Fabio Quartararo, with the reigning world champion 1.8s off the pace on his Yamaha ahead of championship leader Enea Bastianini on the Gresini Ducati.

MotoGP action resumes on Saturday at 9:55am local time with FP3 for the 2022 Portuguese Grand Prix.

MotoGP Portuguese GP – FP2 results