HDR Heidrun Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro is Friday’s fastest rider in the Moto2™ class at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España thanks to his 1:41.819 set in FP1, with the Spaniard spearheading Red Bull KTM Ajo teammates Brad Binder and rookie Jorge Martin. It’s a welcome return to form for the KTM duo, with Binder having been fastest in the Jerez Test and Martin impressive now he’s back much fitter after surgery, but the top three were split by just 0.116 and Navarro remains on a roll after his first Moto2™ podium in Texas…
With scorching track conditions making it difficult for the riders to improve times, it was pretty much as you were from a cooler FP1 in terms of combined timesheets. But Navarro didn’t have it all his own way on Day 1, with a fast crash at Turn 11 at the end of FP2 slightly dampening his spirits – rider ok – and Martin also going down.
Texas winner and veteran campaigner Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) is fourth on the combined times, ahead of Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) in fifth, with both men quicker in FP1 than FP2. The Australian also produced a magical save during FP2 to keep himself upright. He was just 0.002 ahead of Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) though as the timesheets remained tight.
Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) put in an outstanding effort to finish seventh overall and fourth in FP2, despite the Spaniard suffering a fractured wrist in Argentina and missing the Americas GP as a result, with Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) taking P8 as another to impress. Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) completed the top ten.
Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri’s (FlexBox HP 40), meanwhile, saw his day go from bad to worse in the afternoon. Two bike problems and two crashes across FP1 and FP2 leave the man at the top of the standings with some work to do on Saturday to move up from P11 and equal his pole position from last year. He’s just aheaad of rookie NTS RW Racing GP rider Bo Bendsneyder, with Italtrans Racing Team duo Andrea Locatelli and rookie Enea Bastianini completing the fastest fourteen and the provisional Q2 graduates.
How will the pack shuffle on Saturday? With times not improving in FP2 it could be a similar struggle for grip in the hot afternoon temperatures of qualifying – but to get into Q2 and fight for the front they’ll likely have to master the cooler morning temperatures of FP3 too. That third practice session begins at 10:55 (GMT +2), before Q1 starts at 15:05.
1 – Jorge Navarro (SPA – Speed Up) 1’41.819
2 – Brad Binder (RSA – KTM) +0.019
3 – Jorge Martin (SPA – KTM) +0.116
4 – Tom Lüthi (SWI- Kalex) +0.139
5 – Remy Gardner (AUS – Kalex) +0.153