South African ends Day 1 of the Dutch GP on top as KTM strike back.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder ended Day 1 at the Motul TT Assen in top spot after setting a 1:37.398 at the very end of Moto2™ FP2, putting the Austrian factory back at the sharp end after a tougher run of form. He was 0.132 ahead of second fastest Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), with FP1 pacesetter Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) completing the top three.
Lowes had once again set the pace throughout the afternoon session but Gardner, who finished fourth in FP1, topped it in the final ten minutes to sit top of the tree before Binder’s final assault. Having just saved a crash at Turn 9, the South African set the timing screens alight to have the final say on Friday. Have KTM found the improvements they have been looking for?
Fourth on Day 1 is Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP), who ended the day 0.287 down, with another on-song day for Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) seeing him pipped to P4 by just 0.002. In turn, Navarro sits only 0.007 ahead of title rival Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) – a swap from what we saw in FP1 – as the riders all improved their times towards the end of FP2.
Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) sat second at one stage but the Italian had to settle for P7 at the end of the day, just ahead of compatriot Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40). Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), the winner of the last three races, was ninth overall, with Binder’s teammate Jorge Martin completing a top ten covered by just four tenths.
Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was 11th, but it was a tougher day for his teammate Dimas Ekky Pratama. After a heavy crash in FP1 at Turn 9, the Indonesian has been declared unfit for the Dutch GP after sustaining cranial, thoracic and abdominal trauma. Pratama suffered a concussion and had a CAT scan which confirmed that but also ruled out any further injuries. He will remain under observation for 24 hours.
Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) was just behind Chantra and took P12, with Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) in P13. Jonas Folger (Petronas Sprinta Racing), replacing the injured Khairul Idham Pawi, put in a much improved performance on Day 1 at Assen as he settles back into competition and he was 14th.
That’s all from Friday. Will Binder hold his advantage ahead of qualifying? Automatic Q2 places are still up for grabs and with dry weather expected, FP3 could well decide the Q1 and Q2 places yet. Don’t miss a single lap of the action in the Moto2™ class on Saturday morning, with FP3 going green at 10:55 local time (GMT+2).
1 – Brad Binder (RSA – KTM) 1’37.398
2 – Remy Gardner (AUS – Kalex) +0.132
3 – Sam Lowes (GBR – Kalex) +0.194
4 – Marcel Schrötter (GER – Kalex) +0.287
5 – Jorge Navarro (SPA – Speed Up) +0.289
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