Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) was fastest on Friday in the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, but it wasn’t by much. The Spaniard, now second in the Championship after his win at Silverstone, was just half a tenth ahead of the man he’s chasing in the standings, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), with rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (+Ego Speed Up) flying the home flag in third on Day 1.
At a sunny and breezy Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, the latter half of FP2 proved decisive on the combed timesheets. Before then it was Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) on top, although the Japanese rider didn’t lose out too much as he ended the day in fourth, 0.010 off ‘Diggia’, with former Misano winner Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) completing the top five by just 0.021.
Next up was Sky Racing Team VR46’s Luca Marini, who improved in the latter stages to grab P6 having finished FP1 down in P22, with Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) taking an impressive seventh on his return from injury. Misano is where the ‘Beast’ took his first Grand Prix win in the Moto3™ race in 2015.
Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) slipped down to P8 after setting the third-fastest time in FP1 and bothering the top of the timesheets earlier in FP2, whereas Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) moved up one spot to P9 from P10 in the morning. Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) improved late in FP2 to take tenth overall after ending FP1 in fifth, the last piece in the puzzle to make it three rookies and five Italians in the top ten.
After Friday it’s Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2), Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM), title contender Thomas Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) who are the last to have a provisional place in Q2, with Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) just losing out.
Martin crashed on Friday, rider ok, as did Marco Bezzecchi, Lukas Tulovic (Kiefer Racing), Baldassarri, Navarro and Lecuona. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashed early in FP1 as the South African suffered a monster highside, rider luckily ok.
With the weather set to hold, will the top 14 change on Saturday morning? The automatic Q2 places are still up for grabs so don’t miss the action at 10:55 local time (GMT+1), with the likes of Binder, Navarro and Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) especially looking to bounce back…
1 – Augusto Fernandez (SPA – Kalex) 1’38.325
2 – Alex Marquez (SPA – Kalex) +0.049
3 – Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA – Speed Up) +0.138
4 – Tetsuta Nagashima (JPN – Kalex) +0.148
5 – Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA – Kalex) +0.169