Pol Espargaro showed no ill effects of the ankle injury that has hampered his preparations for the British Grand Prix by leading the way at the conclusion of the opening Moto2 practice session at Silverstone.
The Pons rider suffered the injury in a crash with Marc Marquez at the previous race in Barcelona but looked very confident around the English circuit this morning. With the wet weather having cleared and blue skies bathing the track the surface dried throughout the 45 minute session and the riders began to press harder and harder as the session progressed with almost the entire field setting their fastest time in their last two laps.
Espargaro has looked re-energised this season with a switch to Pons and the Kalex chassis following a disappointing rookie campaign last year. He is a genuine title contender and he is showing a similar ruthless and aggressive streak that we saw from him in the 125cc class.
The Spaniard ended the session 0.3s faster than Bradley Smith with the home favourite enjoying a more competitive start to the weekend than we have seen in recent races.
Ricard Cardus was third fastest with the Spaniard revelling in the damp conditions and looking very adept aboard the AJR to outpace the Marc VDS bikes of Scott Redding and Mika Kallio.
Thomas Luthi, winner of the French Grand Prix, was sixth fastest with Johann Zarco seventh. The Frenchman has been very competitive this season as a rookie and it would surprise nobody to last year’s 125cc vice-champion stand on the rostrum in the near future.
Marc Marquez was eighth fastest with Mike di Meglio and Yuki Takahashi rounding out the top ten.
Marquez seemed to riding within himself throughout so there is little reason for his team to fret but with Andrea Iannone, fresh from winning in Barcelona, languishing down the order in 24th the same cannot be said for the Speed Master squad.
The Italian struggled to qualify at the front in races last year and it made it impossible to challenge for victories and the championship. This season however he has been on the front two rows of the grid at every race except Jerez so while it might be unwise to read a lot into his performance in the opening session his times in FP2 will of much interest throughout the Moto2 field.