Sky Racing Team VR46’s Luca Marini concluded the opening day of the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley as the man to beat in Moto2™, leading FP1 and following it up by going fastest in FP2. It was close, however, with Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) just 0.008 seconds off by the end of play. 2017 winner Mattia Pasini (Petronas Sprinta Racing), replacing the injured Khairul Idham Pawi, made it two Italians inside the top three as he ended Friday in third.
Lüthi’s teammate Marcel Schrötter was back at the sharp end under the sunny Tuscan skies on Day 1 too, with both Dynavolt Intact GP riders finding a big improvement from FP1. Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) rounded out the top five and was top rookie on home turf, making it a top first day for the team as neither Marini nor Bulega have finished inside the top five so far this season so far.
MB Conveyors Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro was P6 and just over half a second adrift of Marini, and he was the first non-Kalex rider once again, although closely followed by the Red Bull KTM Ajo of rookie Jorge Martin after a solid opening day from the Spaniard.
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), meanwhile, was the only man in the field not to improve on his FP1 time and as a result slipped to eighth overall. The French GP winner crashed out at Turn 1 halfway through the session and was unhurt but as a result ended the session two tenths off of his best lap from the morning.
Italtrans Racing Team’s Enea Bastianini was ninth quickest ahead of fellow Italian rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up) after a top day for the debutants – four of them were in the top ten – with veteran Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) in 11th as he looks to repeat his Le Mans pace on homesoil.
Ahead of FP3 on Saturday, the provisional remaining places in Q2 are heading to Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), with Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri in 18th after Day 1. He is, however, only 0.902 behind Marini and made a pretty good comeback after a tougher Friday in Jerez…
Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Marco Bezzecchi, meanwhile, was the source of some drama as he crashed out at Turn 5 but, despite a trip to the medical centre, he was thankfully declared fit for his home round and will be back out on track for FP3 from 10:55 (GMT +2) on Saturday. Then, it’s on to qualifying from 15:05.
1 – Luca Marini (ITA – Kalex) 1’51.986
2 – Tom Lüthi (SWI – Kalex) +0.008
3 – Mattia Pasini (ITA – Kalex) +0.187
4 – Marcel Schrötter (GER – Kalex) +0.461
5 – Nicolo Bulega (ITA – Kalex) +0.538