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FP1 provides ideal conditions for Moto2™

 FP1 provides ideal conditions for Moto2™

Johann Zarco topped the combined timesheets for Moto2™ as riders found it hard to improve their times during a hot FP2.

A lap of 1’46.941s midway through FP1 was Ajo Motorsport’s Johann Zarco best lap of the day and the best time from a Moto2™ rider throughout Friday practice. The Frenchman’s pace throughout FP1 and FP2 was also impressive, setting laps around the 1’47.3 mark with ease. This is already over a half second faster than Zarco’s own race pace last year aboard the Caterham Suter, demonstrating not only the dramatic improvement of Zarco’s pace this year but also the increased pace of the Moto2™ field overall. “I’m happy I can be consistent because to prepare for the race is important. Here the target is the victory, we were almost there in Mugello and we know why we couldn’t,” reflected Zarco.

Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Alex Rins and Luis Salom (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) were the only riders in the top ten to improve their times in FP2. Ground temperatures soared to 46ºC up from 28ºC in FP1. To cope with the high temperatures and the demands of the Catalunya track Dunlop have introduced the new S1 rear tyre. This new rear offers the same hard compound but with a different construction allowing for less rubber on the tyre and thus a reduction in the temperature generated. Dunlop hopes to continue slashing previous lap records in Moto2™ with this evolution, as they did in Mugello.

The Speed Up bike of Sam Lowes (Speed Up Racing) usually suffers significantly in the hotter conditions but a private test at Aragon allowed he and the team to improve the bike’s set up significantly and improve his pace when the ground temperature rises. The Brit was pleased with his pace in the tricky FP2 conditions, but was disappointed overall with his performance on the opening day feeling as though it was his first time at the track again. “The small crash was a little bit annoying, we have something with the front feeling that even without a mistake can lead to a crash but we have time to fix it,” he commented.

Sector 4 at the Catalunya track proved difficult for the Moto2™ field. Many of the top riders were able to set a time of around 33.5 seconds through this final sector in the early part of the session but struggled to break the 33.7 second barrier in the closing minutes when pushing for a fast lap. This saw frequent fastest laps spoiled as riders crossed the start finish line. Sector four appears to be the area most hampered by the increase in track temperatures, a 33.320s was Zarco’s best split from FP1, while a 33.549s was his best time in the afternoon through sector 4.

Mugello saw Azlan Shah (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) score his first World Championship point, becoming just the third Malaysian to do so in the intermediate-class. This point has filled Shah with confidence, which showed during FP2 where he set a 1’47.675 to finish Friday in 15th overall. Shah is joined by fellow Malaysian Ramdan Rosli (Petronas AHM Malaysia), who is racing as a wild card this weekend. Rosli finished in 30th on combined times.

Turn 10 was as big an obstacle as ever, with multiple crashes throughout the day occurring at the left hand bend. Lowes fell here, as well as at Turn 5, but was unharmed in both incidents. Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team) and Lorenzo Baldassari (Athina Forward Racing) both fell in FP1 and were unharmed.

Check out the combined Moto2™ Free Practice results, FP2 kicks off at 10:55am local time in Barcelona on Saturday.

Moto2, 2015, GRAN PREMI MONSTER ENERGY DE CATALUNYA, FP2, Sandro Cortese, Johann Zarco, Sam Lowes, Ajo Motorsport, Speed Up Racing, Dynavolt Intact GP

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