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28 days ago
By motogp.com

McPhee fastest in FP2 as Bulega remains top on combined

Wet weather turnaround for Italian rookie sees him home and dry on Friday

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Highlights: Bulega reigns supreme in the rain

With conditions beginning difficult in Phillip Island and FP2 dawning even worse, Moto3™ times on Friday afternoon couldn’t improve on those set in FP1. With Sky Racing Team VR46 rookie Nicolo Bulega having tamed the track first, the Italian therefore remained top on combined timesheets by the end of the day as rain reigned Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Bulega began the year with a more difficult run in the wet, and looked to have defeated those comprehensively as his practice laps during testing paid off.

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Bulega: "Good feeling, bad conditions"

Bulega topped FP1 at the track despite his rookie status, with a cushion of more than four tenths above nearest rival Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold), and another rookie - Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Aron Canet. Antonelli was a big crasher of the day in FP2, but was unhurt in the incident as rates of attrition were high.

In the afternoon with harder rain, FP2 saw John McPhee (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) – Brno’s wet weather winner – rise to the top in the torrential conditions, with the Scotsman leading Tatsuki Suzuki (CIP-Unicom Starker) and wet specialist Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia).  Pawi had a more difficult FP1, before bouncing back in the wetter conditions of FP2 to get in with the frontrunners – but left much lower down on combined times.

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Antonelli: "Very difficult conditions today"

It was a positive day for RBA Racing Team as action opened in Australia, too, as Gabriel Rodrigo and Juanfran Guevara completed the top five in the afternoon. Rodrigo was also quick in the slightly milder conditions in FP1, taking P4.

Freshly crowned Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder – who had an incredible save in FP1 as his Red Bull KTM Ajo machine threatened to highside him off – was sixth fastest in FP2, but finds himself down on the timesheets on combined times.

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Canet: "Very happy with the rhythm"

With Bulega clear at the front by the end of play on Friday, the paddock now looks up to the skies to see what weather qualifying day will bring. FP3 sees lights go out at 1:00 (GMT +11)  for the final showdown, on Sunday 23 Octorber.

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#AustralianGP: Moto3™ Free Practice 2