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Nakagami under record pace to lead FP1

Nakagami under record pace to lead FP1

Having finished pre-season testing in Jerez in seventh, Nakagami continued to show well at the Spanish circuit to lead Baldassarri and Corsi

The Moto2™ World Championship returned to the scene of their first official pre-season test, a number of riders looking to recreate their lap record breaking times from testing. Stefan Bradl’s 1.42.706 from 2011 was blown out of the water during testing, Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) once again under the record in Free Practice 1. The intermediate class saw Federico Fuligni (Team Ciatti) make another appearance as a wildcard, hot off his first podium in the FIM CEV Repsol.

A number of familiar names were dicing for the top spot as the session went on, Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) taking the early lead at one of his favourite tracks on the calendar. The past three years have seen Folger finish on the podium in Jerez, including a victory in 2015.

Everything looked set in stone inside the top five till the final four minutes saw a number of top riders pull the pin and attempt to close in on Bradl’s record. All of the top three were within half a second of the record but only Nakagami was able to get below the impressive time. A 1’42.642 saw the Japanese rider wrap up the first practice session in first place but only 0.163s clear of second place.

Ending the official test in third, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) was confident of once again placing well. His season got off to a less than ideal start as he dislocated both his shoulders in Qatar and missed the race as a result. Now back to full fitness, the Kalex rider set a 1’42.806s to get tantalisingly close to the lap record and to leading the session.

The transition to Speed Up machinery has been somewhat of a revelation for Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) as the Italian has frequently featured towards the top of the timing screens. It’s clear that Nakagami and Baldassarri have the edge on pace as Corsi was 0.724s behind the Japanese rider’s record breaking time and half a second behind his fellow Italian. Big gaps followed throughout the field as riders settle back into the rhythm of racing after a week off.

Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was uncharacteristically a second behind the fastest times as he concluded the session in fourth place. Surprisingly, Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) completed the top five with an identical lap time to Lowes. The Brit concluded the session in fourth as his second fastest time was quicker than Zarco’s second fastest time.

Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP), Danny Kent (Leopard Racing), Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten), Axel Pons (AGR Team) and Xavier Simeon (QMMF Racing Team) completed the top ten. From Lowes in fourth to Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) in 14th, ten riders were split by under half a second.

It was an incredibly difficult session for Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) for ended down in 15th and 1.592 seconds behind Nakagami, hardly featuring throughout.

Turn 1 claimed its first victim as Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten) suffered his first fall of the year. He was able to return to his box and head back out on track after quick repairs. Axel Pons (AGR Team) suffered a very light fall at Turn 6, neither rider sustaining any injuries.

Edgar Pons (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) was back in action after missing two races due to illness.

The intermediate class will return to the track at 15:05 Local Time for Free Practice 2.

Times from Moto2™ Free Practice 1 can be viewed here.

Tags:
Moto2, 2016, GRAN PREMIO RED BULL DE ESPAÑA, FP1, Takaaki Nakagami, Lorenzo Baldassarri, Simone Corsi, Speed Up Racing, Forward Team, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia

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