Andrea Migno (WWR) ends Friday at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix as the fastest man in Moto3™, with the Italian quickest in FP1 by over a quarter of a second and nobody able to better his laptime in the afternoon. The two men who completed the top three also set their fastest laps in FP1: Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), who were second and third respectively.
Conditions at Buriram were as scorching as ever on Day 1 and with weather looking likely to change as the weekend goes on, every bit of dry track time was valuable in the fight for a provisional place in Q2. But despite a flurry of activity at the end of FP2 as the majority of the field pushed to improve, the heat and different track conditions leave the overall timesheets a mixture of best efforts from both sessions.
Behind the top three, all from FP1, the next four all set their best efforts in FP2: Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) was quickest in the afternoon and fourth overall, with Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) – who took his first Grand Prix podium at the venue last year -completing the top five. Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) was sixth, and by just 0.006, although the Czech rider is now on damage limitation in practice and qualifying after having been given a 12-place grid penalty for slow sectors in FP1. Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) was only another 0.004 further back as he impressed to take P7 on Friday.
Eighth overall went the way of Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) as the Spaniard headed up another gaggle of riders who set their best laptimes in FP1. That group comprised Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) in ninth, Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) in tenth and Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) in P11. Sasaki, however, is another who received a penalty for slow sectors on Friday and his is a back of the grid start.
So where are the Championship leaders? Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) ended the day 12th overall, just ahead of Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) as the Japanese rider separated him from key title rival Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team). After missing the event through injury last season, this is Canet’s first race weekend at Buriram and he was able to at least secure himself a provisional place in Q2 should the weather change in FP3. The Spaniard was P14 and the last of those who could stand to gain from worsening conditions.
John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was a surprise name to miss out as he was 17th, just behind Aragon podium finisher Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia). Meanwhile Celestino Vietto (Sky Racing Team VR46), who currently leads Ogura in the fight for Rookie of the Year, was 20th on Day 1.
Will the weather close in on Saturday at Buriram? When it rains it Thailand, it really rains – so it could prove a serious shake up of the status quo so far. See if the lightweight class have another shot at shuffling the combined standings in FP3 at 9:00 (GMT +7), before qualifying from 12:35.
1 – Andrea Migno (ITA – KTM) 1’58.566
2 – Tony Arbolino (ITA – Honda) +0.252
3 – Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN – Honda) +0.278
4 – Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG – Honda) +0.318
5 – Dennis Foggia (ITA – KTM) +0.421
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