Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Quartararo and Morbidelli lead a top four split by just a tenth on Friday

Aug 08. 2020
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By THE NATION

Petronas Yamaha SRT lock out the top, with Oliveira and Zarco for close company in an Independent Team 1-2-3-4

Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) remains the man to beat after Day 1 of the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky, setting the timesheets alive in the afternoon to end Friday fastest. It was far from lonely at the top, however, as his teammate Franco Morbidelli was just 0.007 behind to go P2 overall.

The top three was completed by another Independent Team runner in the form of Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), the Portugese rider putting KTM within half a tenth of the top, with Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) the fastest Ducati to make it a 1-2-3-4 for Independent Teams - and all four were within a tenth.

Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) crashed in FP1 and has been declared unfit. The Italian headed to the medical centre and then Brno University hospital for check ups on his right knee and has been diagnosed with a fracture at the top of his tibia.

FP1

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the man in charge for much of FP1, but the glory went the way of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) at the end of the session after a late charge put him on top. Behind him was Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) as he impressed on his return Brno after his big crash in testing last year, ending FP1 just an infinitesimal 0.011 off the top. Pol Espargaro was therefore shuffled down to complete the top three, but the early pacesetter was still only 0.039 off P1.

Zarco impressed in P4 in his first session at Brno on a Ducati, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) edging out key Championship rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) to complete the top five. That made it five manufacturers in the top five, with only half a second covering the top 16 in FP1.

Viñales was an early crasher in the session as he slid out at Turn 13 - rider ok - and both Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) subsequently ran off at the same corner, pulling solid saves out the hat to stay upright through the gravel. Miller's teammate Bagnaia was the second rider to suffer a tumble in FP1, but he was unluckier as his spill ruled him out of the rest of the weekend and maybe the Austrian GP too.

FP2

Despite the hotter temperatures, the top 14 improved in the afternoon and Quartararo reversed his Friday trend from Jerez - where he finished both first days outside the top ten - as the end of the session became a hot lap shoot out and the Frenchman came out on top.

Mir was the man leading the way when Morbidelli struck and knocked a whopping 0.936 off the fastest lap of the day, kickstarting the FP2 gold rush as a flurry of red sectors started to appear from a good few riders. Oliveira got within a few hundredths, Viñales looked threatening, and Zarco and Mir were still up at the sharp end. But with 30 seconds left on the clock for Friday, Quartararo was the only man left to cross the line - and just pipped his teammate by 0.007.

That made it another Petronas Yamaha SRT 1-2, pushing Oliveira down to a nevertheless incredible P3. Zarco impressed in fourth once again, as in FP1, with Viñales completing the top five. The number 12 had punched in a stunning first sector on his last time attack, but the lap went away from him.

Mir was sixth in FP2 and overall following the shuffle, ahead of a big leap forward for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini's Aleix Espargaro as he knocked seven tenths off his morning best to end the day in P7 - and just get the better of brother Pol Espargaro. Nakagami was ninth on the combined timesheets, ahead of Miller as the Australian rounded out the top ten overall.

That leaves Binder in P11, Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) just behind him and Andrea Dovizioso down in P15. They'll certainly be looking for more in FP3, although the time attacks didn't come from everyone on Friday, so the margin could well be there...

Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) had the sole incident in FP2, the Spanish rookie seemingly suffering a technical problem and pulling over early in the session before scootering back to the pits.

That's it from Friday, come back for more on Saturday morning as the field head out for FP3 at 9:55 (GMT +2), before qualifying to decide the grid for the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky begins from 14:10.

Click here for combined timesheets

MotoGP™: the five fastest on Friday

Fabio Quartararo* Petronas Yamaha SRT - Yamaha - 1:56.502

Franco Morbidelli* Petronas Yamaha SRT - Yamaha - +0.007

Miguel Oliveira* Red Bull KTM Tech 3 - KTM - +0.048

Johann Zarco* Esponsorama Racing - Ducati - +0.081

Maverick Viñales Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - Yamaha - +0.166

*Independent Team rider

 
Lowes heads Bastianini and Marini on Day 1
The Brit reigns the morning ahead of Roberts, before an Italian invasion in the afternoon

Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) heads the combined timesheets on Friday at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky, the Brit's FP1 time keeping him ahead of the game despite an Italian invasion in FP2. In the afternoon, Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) moved up to complete the top three overall by way of P1 and P3 - split by Lowes.

FP1

Lowes went fastest in the morning, ultimately by over three tenths ahead of a resurgent Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing) in P2. The American had led the way heading into the latter part of FP1 before seeing himself pushed down to second. Championship leader Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completed the top three, less than a tenth off Roberts' best, ahead of Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) as he got back at the sharp end in P4. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) rounded out the fastest five in the morning.

Kasma Daniel (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) was the only crasher in FP1, the Malaysian taking two tumbles but rider ok.

FP2

Jerez winner Bastianini got the better of Lowes in the afternoon, although the Brit ended FP2 second quickest overall. Marini leaped up the timesheets to third, ahead of a huge improvement from Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) as he moved into fourth in the session. Meanwhile, Roberts was consistent - ending FP2 in fifth and with a similar laptime. 

Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) was an early faller, and FP2 didn’t start well for Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as the Spaniard crashed at Turn 11 with 10 minutes gone. Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) later went down at Turn 10, and Nagashima was the next faller after a strong FP1, the Japanese rider crashing at Turn 13. Finally, Aron Canet (Openbank Aspar Team Moto2) took a tumble at Turn 5 after a tougher day for the Moto2™ rookie in Czechia.

By the end of play though, it's Lowes leading Bastianini and Marini, with Roberts holding onto fourth from his FP1 laptime. Navarro shuffles into fifth overall, ahead of Nagashima. Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up) showed some good speed to take seventh overall, ahead of Bezzecchi.

Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) was ninth, with Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) completing the top ten. Fernandez and Schrötter are P11 and P12 by way of their FP1 times, with Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) and Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) currently the last two set to move through.

But will entry to Q2 shuffle on Saturday morning? FP3 is the last chance to fight back, before qualifying from 15:10 (GMT +2).

Click here for combined timesheets

Moto2™: the five fastest on Friday

Sam Lowes EG 0,0 Marc VDS - Kalex - 2:02.480

Enea Bastianini Italtrans Racing Team - Kalex +0.209

Luca Marini Sky Racing Team VR46 - Kalex +0.319

Joe Roberts Tennor American Racing - Kalex +0.336

Jorge Navarro MB Conveyors Speed Up - Speed Up +0.343

 
Rodrigo rules the Friday roost in Moto3™
The Argentinean sets the pace in practice, ahead of Toba and Fernandez

Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) has topped the practice timesheets once again in the Moto3™ World Championship, ending Friday at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky in P1 by virtue of his fastest laptime in FP1. Under the summer sun in Czechia, most of those currently set to go straight into Q2 set their quickest efforts in the morning, including Red Bull KTM Ajo duo Kaito Toba and Raul Fernandez as they completed the top three overall.

FP1

Rodrigo was quickest but left it late to topple Toba, with the Japanese rider having spent much of the session at the top. Ultimately Rodrigo rounded out the the session just over a tenth ahead after a late push, with the second Red Bull KTM Ajo of Toba's teammate Raul Fernandez ending FP1 third fastest and a further 0.121 in arrears.

Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) had a good first session as he took P4, only 0.060 off Fernandez, before a big gap separated the fastest four from the rest. Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) was half a second off Foggia in fith, with the rest of the top ten split by almost nothing, including the likes of Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) and key challenger John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing).

There were a number of crashes in FP1, all riders ok. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) went down at Turn 13, before Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) had one crash at Turn 11 and then another at Turn 3. Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PruestelGP) crashed at Turn 7, with Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) retiring at almost the same time and place after running out of fuel. Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) also some a little drama as he moved off the racing line on the main straight with an issue, pulling in at the end of pitlane. 

FP2

As the temperatures rose, the laptimes slowed slightly but it was Fernandez back at the sharp end as he was fastest in FP2. The afternoon's second quickest lap came courtesy of Masia after a sterling effort to bounce back from his two FP1 crashes, and his 2:09.364 makes him one of few to improve overall. The top five in FP2 was completed by Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), McPhee and Garcia. 

Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Racing) was the first to crash in FP2 as he took a tumble at Turn 7,  and he's gone for a check up at local hospital. Ayumu Sasaki then went down at Turn 10, before the same corner also caught out his compatriot Kaito Toba a few minutes later, although the number 27 was able to get back on track. Alonso Lopez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) slid out at Turn 5, Vietti at Turn 4 and, finally, Darryn Binder (CIP - Green Power) at Turn 13. All riders ok, Tatay pending his check up.

By the end of the day, Rodrigo leads the way ahead of Toba, Fernandez and Foggia as the fastest four come from FP1, with Masia completing the top five to shuffle Sasaki down to sixth. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) is P7 ahead of Arenas, with McPhee taking ninth. Fenati completes the top ten for Husqvarna.

Riccardo Rossi (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy) took an impressive P11 ahead of an equally impressive Dupasquier, with Sergio Garcia next up as the second rider - alongside Masia - to improve in FP2. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) currently stands to be the last man moving through to Q2, but everything can get another shake up on Saturday ahead of qualifying.

How will FP3 change the game? The likes of Suzuki, currently down in P16 overall, will be pushing hard from 9:00 (GMT +2), before qualifying decides the grid from 12:35.

Click here for combined timesheets

Moto3™: the five fastest on Friday

Gabriel Rodrigo Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 - Honda 2:08.612

Kaito Toba Red Bull KTM Ajo - KTM +0.106

Raul Fernandez Red Bull KTM Ajo - KTM +0.227

Dennis Foggia Leopard Racing - Honda +0.511

Jaume Masia Leopard Racing - Honda +0.752

 

0.007 off the top, Morbidelli began Brno on a flier

Oliveira made it another top day for KTM in third

 

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