Salač Edges Out Antonelli On Day 1 In AustinThe Czech rider takes to the top on a day of two halves, with Antonelli and Foggia completing the top three.

Filip Salač (CarXpert PrüstelGP) was the rider to beat on Day 1 at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, fast in a wet FP1 and a dry FP2 to end Friday top overall. Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46 Academy) was second, within a tenth of the top and another fast in both conditions, with Aragon and Misano winner Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) third by the end of play, only half a tenth in further arrears.

Antonelli set the pace in a wet FP1 with a 2:32.152, a time good enough to beat Salač by just 0.015s as the two emerged as early favourites. Alberto Surra (Rivacold Snipers Team) finished third in the morning, which was an impressive display from the new VR46 Academy Italian on his first visit to Austin.

Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) claimed P4 in the opening session with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) P5.

It was an eventful end to the session for World Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and one of his closest challengers, Sergio Garcia (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team), as the former crashed at the end of the session at Turn 14 and the latter at Turn 10. Acosta was perfectly ok and Garcia was able to get to his feet, and after a check-up in the medical centre, was declared fit.

Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Ryusei Yamanaka (CarXpert PrüstelGP), Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) and Carlos Tatay (Avintia Esponsorama) also all crashed, riders ok.

FP2 was the time to strike in terms of the timesheets, with clear skies and sun returning to COTA. And after the final shuffle it was Salač who emerged on top, pipping Antonelli as the veteran Italian showed great pace in the wet and the dry. Foggia was within 0.126 of the top though, continuing his run of fine form that’s taken him to back-to-back wins.

Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Xavier Artigas (Leopard Racing) completed the top five, the latter also the protagonist of a very impressive save.

They had a few tenths in hand over Acosta as the Championship leader acquitted himself well in the dry to take P6 and he also had some breathing space, with over three tenths back to Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team).

Garcia was down in P14 in FP2, and then the Spaniard got some bad news. After further examination, scans at the hospital revealed a haematoma on his kidney and he’s been ruled out of the rest of the weekend.

Combined Timesheets
The combined timesheets are currently the same as FP2 as everyone improved under the afternoon sun, so it’s Salač, Antonelli, Foggia, Masia and Artigas in the top five, the latter the top rookie and impressing on his COTA debut, as did a few fellow debutants on Day 1.

The number 43 pipped Championship leader Acosta to that honour of top rookie as the number 37 takes P6, with Fenati down in seventh. The veteran Italian is the only rider in the field to have already won at the track, and he’s done it twice…

Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) complete the top ten, ahead of Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride), Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) and Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3). Garcia took that P14 in FP2 and overall, and he would be the last rider set to move through to Q2 but now withdraws from ahead of teammate Izan Guevara. But will it all shuffle again in FP3? Tune in on Saturday morning to find out, before qualifying from 12:35 (GMT -5).

Moto3™ Friday top five:
1 Filip Salač – CarXpert PrüstelGP – KTM – 2’17.280
2 Niccolo Antonelli – Avintia VR46 Academy – KTM – +0.086
3 Dennis Foggia – Leopard Racing – Honda – +0.126
4 Jaume Masia – Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM – +0.213
5 Xavier Artigas – Leopard Racing – Honda – +0.282

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