Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) has come out the Moto2™ blocks blazing on Friday at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix to beat Marcel Schrötter’s (Dynavolt Intact GP) FP1 time by 0.087 to go top overall, but the German rider remains second at the end of action. Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team), also by virtue of his time from the morning session, completes the top three.
Binder got in his groove in the afternoon and was able to top FP2 by over two tenths from Schrötter, with Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) finishing third in the session and fourth overall after improving by over three tenths. That was despite a fast crash at Turn 1 for the Spaniard, who headed to the medical centre for a checkup. Fifth overall is title race leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46), who had a positive start to the weekend on which he faces his first match point; able to improve by over two tenths in FP2. Who was just behind him? Last year’s winner and biggest rival Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), and it was by just 0.021 seconds.
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was another rider to improve his time from FP1 and the Spaniard ends the day seventh overall, just over half a second off Binder’s pace. Fellow Spaniard Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40) ends up eighth fastest despite crashing at Turn 4 in FP1, another good result for the returner to the class, with Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) rounding out the top ten.
FP2 saw a host of fallers in the Moto2™ class. Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) collided with stand-in Tech 3 Racing rider Bryan Staring at Turn 4 – the latter will be assessed on Saturday morning to see if he’s fit to continue – and Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) suffered a second fall of the day at Turn 4 at almost the same time. Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing GP), Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2), Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) also all crashed.
The intermediate class will be heading back on circuit at 10:55 local time (GMT +11) for FP3, can anyone break Binder’s early stranglehold before qualifying? And how will Championship contenders Bagnaia and Oliveira fare in a vital QP? That will be on from 14:30.
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