Japanese rider fastest on the first day for home team SIC58 Squadra Corse – followed by a trio of Italians.
SIC58 Squadra Corse’s Tatsuki Suzuki took top Moto3™ honours on Day 1 at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, putting in a 1:57.467 in FP2 to fend off a superstar Friday from Italian wildcard Kevin Zannoni (RGR TM Official Team). Second Italian Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) completes the top three at Mugello – all within an incredible half a tenth – with Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) on the chase in P4, just 0.073 off the top and after topping FP1.
Beautiful sunny skies met the grid on Friday and the timesheets in Moto3™ made for a spectacle in themselves: Suzuki’s fastest lap was 1.6 seconds quicker than he went in the morning, Zannoni two seconds faster and Arbolino over a second – with many of the big improvers leaving it late. The likes of Antonelli also shaved a good chunk off their laptimes in the afternoon but he was a consistent presence in the top echelons, as was John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) as he ended the day fifth overall.
Another close trio followed from P6 to P8, with Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3), Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) locked within just over half a tenth. Rodrigo was also second in FP1, but Sasaki and Ramirez both made huge improvements in both laptime and position by the end of play in FP2.
Italian veteran Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers), who won the race in 2014, was ninth fastest and just over three tenths off Suzuki, with Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) completing the top ten in a solid opening day for the South African.
Some names looking for more on Saturday will be Championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) down in P12, key rival Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) in P14 and Qatar winner Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia), who ended Day 1 in a difficult P23.
It’s the fastest 14 on the combined times after FP3 who’ll go straight through to Qualifying 2, has Friday decided it or will we see a Saturday morning shuffle? Find out from 9:00 (GMT +2) before qualifying begins from 12:35.
1 – Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN – Honda) 1’57.467
2 – Kevin Zannoni (ITA – TM) +0.039
3 – Tony Arbolino (ITA – Honda) +0.047
3 – Niccolo Antonelli (ITA – Honda) +0.073
5 – John McPhee (ITA – Honda) +0.181