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Navarro conquers cool morning conditions to top FP1 in Jerez

Navarro conquers cool morning conditions to top FP1 in Jerez

The Moto3™ World Championship returns to Europe with Spaniard Jorge Navarro leading FP1 from Italians Fenati and Bulega.

It was a cool start in Jerez for the Moto3™ World Championship’s first practice session, riders starting cautiously to avoid any early problems. Unlike the first three rounds of the year, even the rookies in the class have some form of experience in Jerez at least from testing. For the Grand Premio Red Bull de España, the Moto3™ class is boosted by the addition of Enzo Boulom (Procercasa – 42 Motorsport), Davide Pizzoli (Procercasa – 42 Motorsport) and Albert Arenas (MRW Mahindra Aspar Team), all three regular FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship competitors.

Unlike at the previous circuits, Moto3™ did not have to spend their first session cleaning the track and were able to quickly get to work. Having had testing at the Andalusia track just before the season started, teams and riders already had at least a basic setting for their machines.

There was no waiting around as Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took to the top of the time sheets from the start of the session, trading places with Austin winner Romano Fenati (Sky Racing Team VR46) throughout the 40 minute practice session. Adjustments to the clutch on Fenati’s KTM kept the Italian inside the pits for a decent part of the session after setting his first quick time.

A run of fast laps towards the end of the session saw the top five shift positions with local rider Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) leading thanks to a 1’47.241. The time gave the Spaniard a comfortable 0.232s lead over Romano Fenati who concluded the session in second. Times are already closing in on the circuit record, 1’46.723 set by Binder in 2015.

Romano Fenati’s time came after his clutch was worked on and put him 0.004s ahead of teammate Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46). Bulega started from pole position in Jerez for the 2015 CEV Moto3™ Junior World Championship race and took his only win of the season in that same race. It’s clear the teammates are closely matched and Fenati may find himself pushed harder than ever before here in Jerez.

With a 1’47.809, Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) made it three Italians inside the top five. After winning in Qatar, Antonelli experienced a dip in form in the wet of Argentina and his Austin weekend ended in disaster as he crashed out of the top ten. Jerez has also historically been a difficult track for the VR46 Academy rider, having not scored points since 2012. He needs a good result to get his championship challenge back on schedule.

World Championship leader Brad Binder completed the top five as he steadily built up his speed throughout the session. His weekend already off to a better start than in Austin where he spent practice searching for a comfortable setting. Expect the South African to once again be in contention for his first race win of the year this weekend.

Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing), Francesco Bagnaia (Aspar Mahindra Racing Team Moto3), Jorge Martin (Aspar Mahindra Racing Team Moto3), Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) and Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold) completed the top ten. Times were not as tight as usual as only the top seven were within a second of each other. All of the top five managed at least one lap in the 1’47s.

Davide Pizzoli’s wildcard appearance got off to a difficult start as he fell early in the session. Malaysia’s Adam Norrodin (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team) fell at the fast Turn 8 but was able to walk away, his bike not fairing as well. Juanfran Guevara (RBA Racing Team) also suffered a fall towards the end of the session at Turn 1. All riders were unharmed.

Full times and results from the session can be seen here.

Free Practice 2 will begin at 13:10 Local Time for the lightweight class.

Moto3, 2016, GRAN PREMIO RED BULL DE ESPAÑA, FP1, Jorge Navarro, Nicolo Bulega, Romano Fenati, SKY Racing Team VR46, Estrella Galicia 0,0

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