Not even 24 hours after announcing his goodbye to motorcycles, Aleix Espargaró emerged as the rider to beat at the Catalunya GP by setting the best time in Practice, the pre-qualifying session to determine the starting grids. The Aprilia rider overtook Brad Binder (KTM) and Pedro Acosta (KTM) in a session without a clear dominator, in which the Ducati were not on top; The first was that of Pecco Bagnaia, fourth.

Very discreet were the two candidates for the second red Ducati of 2025, Jorge Martín, first in the morning free practice, who could only be 6th, and Marc Márquez who will have to go through the repechage (12th) to be in the top 10 output.

The afternoon qualifying session strangely did not have any Ducati in front dominating the times. Only Jorge Martín appeared on time, with 14 minutes remaining. First the KTM had set the tone, three at the same time, Miller, Binder – despite their two falls in a row – and Acosta. The three Austrian bikes were in charge for 42 minutes of the session time.

The Aprilias took over, first from Viñales and then from Aleix Espargaró, who with the soft tires imposed the good chemistry of the Noale frames with the Montmeló circuit. Aleix’s best time – only disputed by Martín and Acosta, who was close to 11 thousandths – would no longer move. 

The one from Granollers established a new record for the fastest lap given to the Circuit (1m38s562), honoring the inscription on his helmet, a special edition for Montmeló, which reads “Shine home”.

The other Aprilia, from Viñales, set the 10th best time, the last place that gives direct access to Q2 to play for pole position this Saturday.

It was not a good timed session for the Márquez brothers. Marc, who had been one of the fastest in the morning free practice (2nd), found himself falling behind outside the top 12 places in the final minutes. The 93, which with 10 minutes remaining was 7th, 0.396s behind Martín, was expelled from the top 10 by two surprising Morbidelli (8th) and Àlex Rins (9th). So Marc will have to go through the Q1 play-off to qualify for pole position or a good grid position. 

His brother Alex will also go to Q1, who suffered a fall in turn 10 with 10 seconds left before the end of training.