The American tops both sessions on Day 1, with Raul Fernandez the only rider getting close.
Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) was back on top on Friday at the Grande Premio 888 de Portugal, the American fastest in both sessions and pretty comfortably. His 1:43.144 put him 0.317 clear of rookie on the chase Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), last year’s dominant force at the track in Moto3™, with Aron Canet (Solunion Aspar Team) in third heading up a close and high-profile remainder of the top ten.
With a few damp patches in the morning but Moto2™ getting the best conditions enjoyed by any class, Roberts started how he meant to go on and went fastest in FP1, although he did have some close company as Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was just 0.041 off. By the afternoon and in full sun though, it was Roberts on top again and the American pulled the pin. He ended the day three tenths ahead of a different Red Bull KTM Ajo as Fernandez leaped into second, with the two enjoying some clear space ahead of the chasing pack.
Canet leads that chasing pack, but the gaps make for intense reading. Gardner is fourth just 0.009 back, with Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) 0.048 off the Aussie. Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) was back to the form he’d started to show towards the end of 2020 and takes sixth with a deficit of 0.023, and it’s exactly the same gap back to Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) in seventh as the Championship leader had a quieter first day on the timesheets. Reigning Moto3™ Champion Albert Arenas (Solunion Aspar Team) had his best day in the intermediate class yet as he took P8 and was just 0.011 off Lowes. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) takes ninth 0.028 further back, with Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completing the top ten, just ahead of teammate Jake Dixon.
Yari Montella (Lightech Speed Up) had an impressive Friday. The reigning Moto2™ European Champion struggled somewhat in Qatar but has been much quicker out the blocks in Portugal, ending Day 1 in P12 and after some periods much further up the timesheets too at a track at which he has both good experience and good memories. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) are currently the last two set to move through to Q2, but it can still shuffle on Saturday morning!
There were few incidents on Day 1 for Moto2™. Lorenzo Baldassarri (MV Agusta Forward Racing) crashed in FP1, rider ok, before Canet took a tumble in the afternoon, rider also ok. Come back for more Moto2™ in FP3 as that begins at 10:55 (GMT +1), before qualifying from 15:10.
Moto2™ Friday top ten:
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