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17 days ago
By motogp.com

Antonelli rules Friday Moto3™ practice in Barcelona

Niccolo Antonelli proved to be the man to beat in the lightweight class on Friday, leading both sessions.

Highlights: Antonelli dominates Friday in Moto3™

Free Practice 2 for the lightweight class began with an ambient temperature of over 45°C. Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) started the session as the rider to beat after setting a 1’51.729 in Free Practice 1.

The Italian was able to improve his time by half a second to end Free Practice 2 as the fastest rider and cement himself as the quickest overall. Antonelli seemed on track to dive into the 1’50s until traffic on his penultimate lap forced him to ease off. Since winning the race in Qatar, Antonelli has been unable to return to the podium, fourth in Mugello last time out his best result since. Having started the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya in such a strong way, he could very well return to the podium come Sunday.

Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was the first rider into the 1’51s and the first rider to drop under Antonelli’s time from FP1. The Italian would be the only rider to lap faster than Navarro, the Spaniard eventually ending 0.261s back on Antonelli as they completed a Honda one-two. Navarro’s championship ambitions were dealt a serious blow in Mugello when he fell from the race, a top result a necessity in Barcelona to close the 49 point gap to Binder.

World Championship leader Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) cut 0.8s off his time from Free Practice 1 to complete the day in third. The South African was the lone KTM inside the top five, but all bikes seem evenly match around the Montmelo circuit. As ever a good strategy in Qualifying will be crucial on Saturday afternoon, several teams experimenting at the end of Free Practice 2.

Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) and Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold) completed the top five of the day. Both riders have shown flashes of speed throughout the 2016 season, but are yet to truly emerge as podium contenders.

Juanfran Guevara (RBA Racing Team), Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46), Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46), Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia) and Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) made up the top ten on combined times. All of the top 13 were within a second of the fastest time, the entire 35 rider field within four seconds of each other.

Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) was awarded a five-place grid penalty for riding slowly in three sectors during Free Practice 1. As this was his third penalty for the same offense, the sanction was five places as opposed to three and will be applied after Qualifying.

Complete standings and results can be seen here.

#CatalanGP: Moto3™ Free Practice 2