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Times plummet as riders take advantage of the slipstream Antonelli, Rodrigo and Fenati fastest ahead of Qualifying later in the day.
A beautiful Tuscan morning awaited riders in the Moto3™ World Championship as they rolled out of pit lane for Free Practice 3 in Mugello. Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) started the day as the man to beat having topped Free Practice 2, but with conditions almost perfect the times looked set to improve almost immediately.
Championship leader Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had a difficult session as he was flicked off on the exit of Turn 14, Biondetti 2. The South African’s leathers and helmet took a bashing but he returned to the pits soon after, his bike taking longer to comeback. He then went to the medical centre for checks, a precautionary measure. Binder didn’t return to track due to the damage to his bike, ending 27th.
It was all about the slipstream in the final ten minutes, a number of new names popping to the top of the timesheets towards the end thanks to a bit of tactical riding. One last flying lap put Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) on top, the Italian setting a 1’57.789 to lead the session and set the fastest time of the weekend.
Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing Team) managed an incredible second in the session, 0.032s behind Antonelli. The Argentinian rider scored his first ever World Championship points in Jerez and is growing with confidence each time he hits the track.
Completing the top three, Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) made it two Italians up the front at home. The young Italian chose to lap mostly on his own during the session. He and the SKY Racing Team VR46 squad will run a special livery on race day to celebrate their home race.
Juanfran Guevara (RBA Racing Team) and Francesco Bagnaia (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3) completed a tight top five, 0.171s splitting them.
Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia), Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) and Jorge Martin (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3). Times were closer than ever as less than half a second divided the ten fastest riders in the lightweight class.
Brad Binder was the only rider unable to improve his time.
Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) was another faller in the session, coming off at Turn 6. Unfortunately Adam Norrodin (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) fell for the second time of the weekend, high siding at Turn 5.
Qualifying for the lightweight class begins at 12:35 Local Time, can Antonelli remain on top and take a home pole?
Full times and standings are available here.