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Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura left it until his last lap of the session to close day one in the Moto3™ class at the Shark Helmets Grand Prix de France as quickest, after a dramatic FP2 session that saw no fewer than eleven crashes across the 45 minutes. With inclement weather forecast tomorrow, the whole grid began to push almost immediately in order to try secure a place inside the top 14 and subsequently a place direct into Q2.
As a result, Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) was the first tumble, quickly followed by Ricardo Rossi (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3), Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0), who went down on the gravel Binder had kicked up due to his crash on the outside of Turn 12, and Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), the World Championship leader, all went down within the opening ten minutes.
They were followed by Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Arizona 77), Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and then Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers), who had a monster highside on the entry into Turn 9 and as a result took a trip to the medical centre but thankfully was declared fit.
Then in the closing stages, John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) crashed out unhurt, Leopard Racing’s Lorenzo Dalla Porta suffered his second of the session and a third of the day after a tumble in this morning’s FP1 and Bester Capital Dubai’s Jaume Masia had a big off of his own, requiring a visit to the medical centre.
Meanwhile, Ogura stayed on both wheels to knock 1.3 seconds off of his laptime from FP1 to jump to the top of the timesheets and lead the way into Saturday. He was followed by the Spanish GP winner Antonelli, who recovered from an earlier crash to get to within a tenth of a second of Ogura.
Again, the SIC58 Squadra Corse team look to be in fine form, as Tatsuki Suzuki ended third quickest overall just behind his teammate, Antonelli, who himself went a massive 1.8 seconds quicker than this morning and leapt from 22nd to 2nd.
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Moto3™ FP2 in France: the lightweight fight for Friday
Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) rounded out day one fourth quickest ahead of Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) and Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers). Another man who recovered from an early fall was Canet, who ended seventh – a vast improvement from FP1 where he could only muster 18th.
Meanwhile, FP1’s fastest man Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) could only find a further four tenths of a second and therefore slipped to eighth. Rounding out the top ten were Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) and Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46), which was covered by 0.539 seconds.
1. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) 1:42.147
2. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.116
3. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.313
4. Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) + 0.318
5. Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) + 0.335
6. Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) + 0.346
7. Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.361
8. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 0.407
9. Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) + 0.473
10. Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.539
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