Moto2: Bagnaia maintains championship momentum

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Francesco Bagnaia’s (Sky Racing Team VR46) FP1 time was enough to keep the Championship leader at the top of the combined timesheets on Friday at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, leading a trio of Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) - who all set a lap time of 1:44.340.

The afternoon session didn’t see the intermediate class times tumble, with Marquez the only rider in the top five to improve his lap time in FP2, finishing the session quickest ahead of Schrötter. Mir was seventh quickest in the second Free Practice session, unable to set a quicker time from this morning to remain fourth on the combined standings – all three riders sit 0.115 behind Bagnaia.

Pons HP40 replacement rider Augusto Fernandez had a great opening day at the Catalan GP, the Spaniard was 15th in FP2, however his time from FP1 was enough to keep him fifth overall on the combined timesheets. One rider who did improve his time in the afternoon, despite a crash at Turn 10, was Fabio Quartararo (HDR – Speed Up Racing). The Frenchman ended FP2 in third to propel himself into sixth on the combined times after finishing down in 23rd in the morning.

Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), 6th in FP1, managed to claim P7 on day one in Catalunya – a solid day for the Japanese rider. The leading KTM on Friday was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who finished sixth in FP2 to cement himself inside the top ten – the South African was eighth overall after failing to improve in the afternoon.

Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP), however, did manage to go quicker in FP2, improving by over three tenths from FP1 to finish ninth overall. Rounding out the top ten was Mugello winner Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who suffered a crash at Turn 9 in FP2 towards the end of the session. The Portuguese rider was eighth in FP1 and will be fit to fight for pole come qualifying.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer