Johann Zarco top by two thousandths
Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS were aptly-named on Friday morning in Brno, as 2014 Moto3™ world champion Alex Marquez proved the star of FP1 at the Czech venue as his return to form continues. The afternoon then saw the pack shuffle slightly once again as reigning champion Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) upped the pace to take to the top, after Italian Lorenzo Baldassarri had taken Forward Racing to the front for much of the session. Zarco’s margin at the top was tiny, however, as the Moto2™ grid prepare for another incredibly close weekend in the intermediate class.
Behind the French reigning Moto2™ world champion was key 2016 rival Tom Luthi (Garage Interwetten Plus), who missed out on the top spot by only two thousandths, with a resurgent Lorenzo Baldassarri then pushed back into P3 on an impressive day for the Italian.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was fourth quickest on Friday as the Japanese rider enjoyed a great start to the HJC Helmets Grand Prix České Republiky, ahead of the rookie Leopard Racing pairing of Danny Kent and Miguel Oliveira in P5 and P6 respectively.
Seventh quickest was championship contender Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), who showed a huge improvement in the final half of FP2, ahead of Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) as the former world champion continued his presence in the top echelons of the timesheets. Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Pacelin Malaysia) had a positive FP2 to end Friday in P9, with Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) completing the top ten on day 1.
Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) was the surprise of the day as the title contender suffered a tough day 1, ending track action in P16 on the combined timesheets.
Rins will be back out for FP3 at the Automotodrom Brno hoping to improve, ahead of qualifying practice for the Moto2™ grid on Saturday afternoon at 15:05 local time (GMT +2).