On Friday it was clear that the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was an Aprilia track. Aleix Espargaro smashed the pole record on Friday afternoon, and he and factory Aprilia teammate Maverick Viñales ended the day first and second, with Espargaro well clear of the rest.
Come qualifying, and Miguel Oliveira got himself into the mix. First with a blistering lap in Q1 to get through to Q2, then an impressive lap in Q2 to put himself on the front row, his first since taking pole at Portimão in 2020. Aleix Espargaro looked to be on course for pole position, and Maverick Viñales was close to making it a clean sweep of the front row for Aprilia.
Aleix Espargaro may have had his sights set on pole, but Pecco Bagnaia had other ideas. "This morning was a bit bitter because I finished second, which is great for the two races, but I felt a little bit like I lost," the Aprilia rider said after the sprint race. "I gave everything, but Pecco was better. It was an amazing lap record. I was a bit angry." Bagnaia had added insult to injury by slicing five hundredths of a second off Espargaro's lap record from Friday to take the pole record for Ducati.