2021 Aragon MotoGP FP2 Result: Miller Steps Up

The premier class had their second practice session of the day in pretty hot conditions, track surface reaching nearly 45 degrees Celsius, which meant that a lot of hard rubber was out in play. However, when the time came for a time attack to secure positions in the provisional top 10, things hotted up further and Marc Marquez’s impressive FP1 benchmark eventually tumbled at the hands of Jack Miller. Marquez himself didn’t engage in the shootout and opted for another run on used tyres, leaving Aleix Espargaro as the main challenger to the Ducatis. The Aprilia man ended the day two tents of a second behind Miller, while the lead Yamaha was somewhat surprisingly Cal Crutchlow, the test rider making a late jump into third position, less than three tenths off top spot.

Then there were more Ducatis on the menu, as Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin made late progress on the timesheets, while Pecco Bagnaia claimed sixth place despite a late tumble at turn five. Fabio Quartararo found himself outside of the top 15 in the final couple of minutes and tinkering with his helmet, but found enough speed to soon climb into seventh position, ahead of the initial leader of the session, Takaaki Nakagami. Enea Bastianini’s late charge dropped the likes of Pol Espargaro and Alex Rins out of top 10 contention on the combined standings, despite being only half a second off top spot.

Positions 18 onwards make for unusual reading, with the likes of Valentino Rossi, Maverick Viñales, Marc Marquez and Joan Mir all ending the session one second off top spot. However, Marquez secured a combined top 10 position courtesy of his FP1 time and opted out of the time attack after a careless crash at turn 16, while Mir was also not tempted by soft rubber in the closing stages of FP2 but will have to find some time on Saturday morning.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'47.613    
2 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'47.886 0.273 0.273
3 35 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 1'47.897 0.284 0.011
4 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'47.988 0.375 0.091
5 89 Jorge Martin Ducati 1'48.023 0.410 0.035
6 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'48.032 0.419 0.009
7 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'48.034 0.421 0.002
8 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'48.057 0.444 0.023
9 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 1'48.086 0.473 0.029
10 44 Pol Espargaro Honda 1'48.166 0.553 0.080
11 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'48.267 0.654 0.101
12 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'48.278 0.665 0.011
13 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'48.314 0.701 0.036
14 9 Danilo Petrucci KTM 1'48.351 0.738 0.037
15 10 Luca Marini Ducati 1'48.456 0.843 0.105
16 27 Iker Lecuona KTM 1'48.526 0.913 0.070
17 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'48.623 1.010 0.097
18 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'48.649 1.036 0.026
19 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia 1'48.755 1.142 0.106
20 93 Marc Marquez Honda 1'48.827 1.214 0.072
21 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'48.886 1.273 0.059
22 96 Jake Dixon Yamaha 1'49.987 2.374 1.101
Round Number: 
13
2021
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Comments

Marc's crash (2nd one, going through their spares bin again) - both a "Honda crash" of front end late in corner entry AND a stupid unnecessary mistake. L hand turn btw, strong side. A 2021 Marc event in which he entered a corner on a line that another rider happens to be in...his brother. He has been REALLY fast, but the glue isn't dry, and it can be volatile. What used to be called loose brave aggression has devolved into loose sloppy disregard. But he IS coming, fitness is on a rise. I fully expect yet another first lap corner collision with a fast rider just behind the front pack. Looking at the order Saturday, you could narrow it to a few riders. Whomever is slated 3rd to 5th in the race is pinned in the Marquez bowling ball zone. Not if, but when it happens next, can RD please have their action prepared at the ready? Marc, your old top end can't exceed your current bottom end, ease up on the compression ratio and don't lean this mixture out just yet. Run a bit cooler. Grab the tow from that 3rd to 5th place rider for a few laps, get rhythm, THEN pull the pin. Same w your plan for the Round, why push so much today rather than save a bit of strength in the bag for Sunday? If you are consciously treating this season's events as a series of mere workouts in service of 2022, I beg your pardon. That may work out?

KTM is trying different chassis today, not a good sign perhaps that they are unsure of their way at the moment. Slow Orange day. Hoping last minute testing produces a good Saturday. 

Maverick in Black looks good. He and Aleix working together. Mav does not yet have the shape shifter that Aleix is running. They have barely touched his bike after ergonomics. More to come. Curious what is going on with Mav's sponsorships, he has nothing on him. Assuming they are reworking the paperwork from Blue to Black? Until then, just "Mav" unbranded. Who doesn't lend favor to an underdog? Aprilia looks good. Be patient folks, this weekend is first teething and the current MotoGP pace is blistering way past mid pack. Aleix just got a 2nd! He may be getting a boost of invigoration now too, and Aprilia must be really buzzing. 

Crutchlow 3rd?! Nice Cal. In FP1 he and Vinales had a good go at each other for a while. Interesting of course the narrative there.

Zarco likes this track, good Friday, and little between he, Martin and Bagnaia. Tipping Martin to have more coming this weekend, and aren't we all? Might his trajectory be looking orbit breaking? 

Fabio's helmet fiddling may have been a bee sting inside it. Poor guy. 

Mir looks to be really pushing over the limit. Unusually wiggle-wobbly. It looks unsettled, but hungry. You can do it Weezuki! 

v I disagree about Miller's job security d9s. Very popular guy, fun and enjoyable. But stoppie and popularity contests don't win championships. Duc brass just today mentioned his inconsistency, said he needs to get competitive for a championship, and added that Bagnaia is fast and due a win. 

Martin though, he is in there too. Zarco hasn't dropped out of contention. Ducati has a wish to bring a standout rider forward and show little patience. There is a ton of talent pushing to get in MotoGP. 

I like Jack! More than his current outlook of job security reflects. 

I still see many of the tyre problems in the race (Michelin consistency aside) is the fact that Moto2 lay down fresh rubber before MotoGP, yet throughout the rest of the weekend the big boys are gathering their data following Moto3. Some riders can adjust on the fly, others - not so much.

Miller's charisma is getting some solid airtime these days too. He looks set to be the one that takes over from Rossi in that regard. If he can maintain his speed and string together some consistency he is a shoe-in to sit in factory seats for the rest of his career.

 

It seems to me Marc must have nerve damage in his right shoulder to an extent greater than he's let on. Building strength is a process that is fairly linear and I don't see any progress in his right arm and shoulder. He used to hold the bike on his elbow while straightening the front wheel to pull out of those slides/crashes and now his arm doesn't even go toward that position let alone have the strength to do both things. It's as if the humerus was reattached 15 degrees out of alignment. Something looks very wrong structurally to me. I fear for his career. Especially on that carnival ride he's trying to keep on 2 wheels. This weekend it occurred to me he may have to think about stopping before he really hurts himself. Or someone else. Sad but he looks far away from competing with the young guns.

Pecco owns that Ducati.

Fabio is a true alien. It's going to take someone special to get past him for the next few years.

JM89 looks like someone special who will be able to push Fabio or anyone else for the next few years. The next alien. Factory ride soon.

And Joan Mir will finish 4th. Again. Always.

He gutted it out. At a ccw track. I hope he's better but I don't think this track reveals enough. Great race outta Marc - kept Pecco honest all the way. Beautiful attacks on the faster rider and bike. And beautiful responses from FB63.