A Friday of two halves began the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and in Moto3™ it was Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) who took to the top as he fought off Championship leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) for the honour. The Italian, who has his first chance to wrap up the crown this weekend, was 0.281 behind key challenger Canet by the end of play. Last year’s winner Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) completed the top three despite two crashes in the difficult conditions that greeted the grid in the morning.
FP1 was a washout for all classes and for the lightweight runners, the conditions gradually seemed to get worse and worse. That meant that Tony Arbolino’s (VNE Snipers) earlier lap couldn’t be bettered, the Italian therefore ending the session an impressive seven tenths clear of Dalla Porta. In a sunnier afternoon it was tougher going for Arbolino, however, as he took P17 – as Dalla Porta put his now-trademark consistency to good use to take second in a wet FP1 and dry FP2.
With the difference in the weather, it’s that dry (or largely so) FP2 that decides the combined timesheets on Friday, with Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and teammate Tatsuki Suzuki completing the top five. Andrea Migno (Mugen Race) was next up, ahead of John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) in P7. The Brit was also a solid contender in a wet FP1 and took fifth.
Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) was eighth overall and third in the wet, the Italian hitting the ground running Down Under, with Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) in P9 and Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) completing the top ten. Foggia was a big improver in the dry after ending FP1 in P26, although not quite on the scale of Arenas’ bounce back from quite literally at the back to completing the top three. The Spaniard only managed nine laps in the morning given his two crashes.
Antonelli, Migno and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) were three more names amongst the spattering of crashers on Friday, with tough conditions catching a few out.
Stefano Nepa (Real Avintia Arizona 77), Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46), Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) and Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) complete the fastest 14 and therefore the provisional Q2 graduates, with the likes of Lopez, Arbolino, Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) left out and doubtless topping the list of those hoping for some better weather in FP3 – but the forecast looks even worse…
See what dawns on Saturday in FP3 at 9:00 (GMT +11) local time before qualifying from 12:35 and keep a weather eye on the horizon…seasons on the Island seem to change in a second! Can Canet defeat Dalla Porta to keep his title hopes alive?
1 – Aron Canet (SPA – KTM) 1’36.809
2 – Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA – Honda) +0.281
3 – Albert Arenas (SPA – KTM) +0.451
4 – Niccolo Antonelli (ITA – Honda) +0.549
5 – Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN- Honda) +0.634
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