A steady start to proceedings at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley for the Repsol Honda Team as Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez begin their preparations for Sunday.
It was a classic day in Tuscany as a strong sun beat down on the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello throughout the day. Reaching 33°C ambient temperature during Free Practice 2, the conditions were a test for rider and machine.
Friday in Mugello saw Pol Espargaro immediately in the mix as he took eighth place in Free Practice 1, 0.705s shy of LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami who topped the session. Working hard to maintain his speed as the temperatures increased in the afternoon, Espargaro cut 0.7s off his best lap time from FP1 to FP2. This improvement was enough to hold his position in the top ten, ending the day as the tenth fastest rider. Despite being top Honda, Espargaro is not content with the day’s work and is determined to extract the maximum performance possible on Saturday to secure a top grid position.
Marc Marquez’s Italian GP weekend began with a muted Free Practice 1 session, the eight-time World Champion following his trend of a calm start to preserve himself for Sunday. 19th and 1,213 seconds behind Nakagami’s fastest time, there was room to build at the end of the session. Finding an impressive 1.2 seconds from the morning to the afternoon, Marquez saw some of the biggest improvements to one-lap speed on the grid in practice. Just 0.040s slower than his teammate, the #93 was just outside the cut off for the top ten as he ended the day 12th fastest.
Now it’s time to check the forecasts and see if the rain will arrive tomorrow. Free Practice 3 stats at 09:55 local time, a last chance to be in the mix for Q2 – if it’s dry.