The Spaniard leads the way on Day 1 once again, ahead of Fenati and Arenas.
The recent Friday form man was up to his old tricks at the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon. With a half second advantage by the end of the day, it’s Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) on top once again, with Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) in second. After a more muted morning session, Championship leader Albert Arenas (Solunion Aspar Team Moto3) completed the top three as he moved up the timesheets in the afternoon.
There was also another key headline on Friday: Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) will be forced to sit the weekend out. The Italian must undertake a mandatory period of self-isolation after he was found to have been on a flight with a positive case of Covid-19. He has tested negative, but the self-isolation is a requirement of health authorities regardless – sidelining a Championship challenger for the weekend.
Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) started the day on top as the South African beat winner last time out, Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46), to the top by three tenths. Binder struck late to deny the Italian too, setting his lap as the flag flew to bring FP1 to an end.
Vietti was the only rider within half a second of Binder’s 1:59.813 despite losing out late on. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was 0.503 in arrears and third quickest.
Fernandez was fourth fastest in the morning, another half a tenth adrift of McPhee, with SIC58 Squadra Corse’s Niccolo Antonelli closing out the session in fifth. It was a strong showing for the Husqvarna duo of Alonso Lopez and Romano Fenati as the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team sat first and second in the early stages too, both bouncing back from their disaster/bad luck combo at Le Mans and eventually ending the session in sixth and ninth, respectively.
Second in the Championship Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) was seventh, starting off the weekend with a positive move up the timesheets after two tougher GPs, and points leader Albert Arenas was down in 13th. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was eighth, with rookie Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia) impressing to complete the top ten behind Fenati.
There were three incidents in the session: Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) had a technical problem early on at Turn 7, Ryusei Yamanaka (Estrella Galicia 0,0) crashed at Turn 2 ten minutes later, and Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) went down at Turn 14.
With temperatures having risen significantly after a cold morning, the entire field were able to improve in the afternoon, ensuring the combined timesheets mirror those of FP2. Antonelli was the first man under the two minute barrier – something only Binder managed in the morning – but laptimes would drop from there on out. Fernandez was the man on the move, setting four fastest laps in a row in the latter part of the session.
Fenati maintained his form to end the day in second and Arenas was a key improver as he moved up to become the quickest Championship challenger overall, the Spaniard setting his quickest lap of the day on his final lap of the day. FP1’s fastest man Darryn Binder completes the top four, ahead of Suzuki by less than a tenth, with Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) within a tenth of the Japanese rider in turn as he moved up to end the day in sixth.
Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) ends Friday in P7 as he beat Ogura to it by just 0.011, but the Japanese rider continued his move forward after a couple of more difficult Grands Prix, well within the provisional Q2 entrants on Day 1. Vietti ends Friday in P9, with Alonso Lopez completing the top ten.
The final four on for provisional graduation to Q2 are Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Moto3), Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) – the sole crasher in the afternoon session, rider ok – and Antonelli… leaving John McPhee needing to move forward in FP3. Can the Brit do it? Find out on Saturday morning at the slightly later time of 9:30 (GMT +2).
Moto3™: the five fastest on Friday
1 Raul Fernandez – Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM 1:58.144
2 Romano Fenati – Sterilgarda Max Racing Team – Husqvarna +0.438
3 Albert Arenas – Solunion Aspar Team Moto3 – KTM +0.532
4 Darryn Binder – CIP – Green Power – KTM +0.545
5 Tatsuki Suzuki – SIC58 Squadra Corse – Honda +0.619
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