Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) wasn’t hanging around in FP2 as he set a new lap record to sit over half a second clear on Day 1 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana. The South African’s 1:34.622 was unmatchable on Friday afternoon, with Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up) getting the closest but still over half a second back.
For Binder, it was suns out, guns blazing as the KTM rider laid waste to Johann Zarco’s previous lap record set in 2016, making a serious statement of intent in his final Friday in the intermediate class – despite a wobble just beforehand. Will anyone be able to catch the South African on Saturday? It certainly seems a tall order…
Behind Fernandez and rookie Di Giannantonio, fourth went the way of Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), with the Brit putting in a late lunge to displace Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Temporary Forward). Manzi had an incredible day on track, topping FP1 and completing the top five overall – with an improved lap.
Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) was sixth after initially proving Binder’s closest challenger earlier in FP2, with Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) in P7 on home turf. Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) put in a solid day for eighth overall, with Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) facing an uphill struggle in ninth: he’ll need to beat Binder on Sunday if he’s to finish the season second overall…
Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) was tenth and the second fastest rookie, although he’s out of the fight for Rookie of the Year – ensuring ‘Diggia’ an advantage in that battle so far as the next man in the running is Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in P15. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) took P11 ahead of Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46).
So where’s the reigning Champion? Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) ended Friday in 13th, but the gaps behind Binder were infinitesimal. He’s within four tenths of Fernandez but 11 places further back, although he is in line for a provisional place in Q2, as is Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) in P14.
FP3 begins at 10:55 (GMT +1) – will the timesheets shuffle again before qualifying? Find out then, before Q1 begins from 12:35.
1 – Brad Binder (RSA – KTM) 1’34.622
2 – Augusto Fernandez (SPA – Kalex) +0.576
3 – Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA – Speed Up) +0.671
4 – Sam Lowes (GBR – Kalex) +0.706
5 – Stefano Manzi (ITA – MV Agusta) +0.730