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Vazquez edges Quartararo on opening day

Vazquez edges Quartararo on opening day

Efren Vazquez topped the Moto3™ combined timesheets at the Gran Premio bwin de España on Friday.

The morning session in Jerez saw quite low track temperatures, with 23°C the recorded ground temperature.  Despite these cooler conditions Leopard Racing’s Efren Vazquez was able to get within one second of Miller’s 2014 lap record. Teammate Danny Kent was third in the first session, finishing fourth on combined times whilst Vazquez led the day overall.

Both Kent and Vazquez running at the front demonstrates that the Leopard Racing team, formerly Kiefer Racing, have adapted quickly to the Honda Moto3™ machine after running the Kalex-KTM in previous years. The duo are vastly experienced in the lightweight class and have, so far, been able to challenge the top five in almost every session at every track this season, regardless of conditions. “In Jerez there is usually less wind and it’s a bit cooler in the morning, so it’s more comfortable to ride in the morning,” Vazquez reflected on the different conditions.

A thorn in their side may prove to be Fabio Quartararo, the French youngster topping the FP2 session. With track temperatures hitting 39°C in the afternoon session it was feared that grip levels may drop, but the majority of riders improved their lap times. Of the top ten, only Vazquez and Isaac Viñales in fourth did not better their FP1 times. Viñales has been the only non-Honda to finish on the podium this season, with third in Argentina.

Unlike the initial three rounds, Quartararo has significant track knowledge of Jerez from racing in the Spanish Championship as well as testing here during the off-season. He has already been able to achieve a podium in Austin, a brand new track to him, and has the pedigree at Jerez to challenge for another podium, if not the win. “I love this track, but we’ll have to wait and see how Qualifying goes tomorrow. We have to change some things ahead of tomorrow because of the conditions,” he said after the session.

Roman Fenati is another rider with a strong history at Jerez, the Italian having taken two wins from three races in Moto3™ at the Spanish track. After the drama in Argentina he has a point to prove to many who have been questioning his focus and attitude. The opening day of practice saw him 11th on combined times, just behind the trio of Red Bull KTM Ajo riders led by Karel Hanika.

Despite the pace of two of their riders, it was not an ideal day for Leopard Racing as Danny Kent suffered a small crash in FP2. There were also technical issues for Hiroki Ono that limited his track time.

Check out the full combined Moto3™ results from Jerez, and FP3 is scheduled for 9:00am local time on Saturday.

Moto3, 2015, GRAN PREMIO bwin DE ESPAÑA, FP2, Fabio Quartararo, Isaac Viñales, Efren Vazquez, Leopard Racing, Estrella Galicia 0,0, Husqvarna Factory Laglisse

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