Gardner lays down the gauntlet ahead of qualifying

Australian over half a second clear in FP3 as big-name riders miss out on an automatic Q2 place

In Moto2™ FP3 at the Motul TT Assen, Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) was the man to beat as the Australian slammed in a 1:36.510 to top the session and combined times by 0.595 seconds, with Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin sitting as his nearest challengers in P2 and P3 respectively.

The times from Friday started to tumble almost immediately in FP3 as Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) went to top of the combined times, with rookie Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) also going above Friday pacesetter Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in the early stages. Fernandez then went to the top on his 12th flying lap to displace Schrötter from P1 but the Spaniard wouldn’t stay at the summit for long.

Gardner shot to the top of the times with a blistering lap, the first sub-1:37 of the weekend was posted by the Kalex rider to place him nearly six tenths clear of the rest. And it would stay that way until the chequered flag, no one could get near Gardner’s time as he laid down the gauntlet ahead of qualifying.

Further back, there was plenty of shuffling that led to some leading contenders to miss out on an automatic Q2 spot. A crash for Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) at Turn 5 that took out Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) ended the Spaniard’s session early, his bike too damaged for the team to fix in time and with other riders improving, the man lying third in the Championship was 17th overall. FP1 pacesetter Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) also missed out on a top 14 place, the British rider couldn’t improve his Friday time after an early crash at Turn 1 in FP3. Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40) will also contest Q1, the Italian improved on his last lap, but it wasn’t enough to penetrate the leading contenders – P18 for the Italian.

So it’s Gardner who has sent a firm message out to the rest ahead of qualifying, he’ll be the man to beat this afternoon with Fernandez and Martin in chase. Schrötter would hold P4 ahead of Bastianini, the duo couldn’t improve their early session times, with Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) the first of the title contenders in P6. Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) had a good session to end P8 on the combined times, with Binder relying on his Friday time to finish P8.

Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) was a late improver to jump into the top 14, the KTM rider finished P9, with Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completing the top ten. Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up), EG 0,0 Marc VDS’ Xavi Vierge and Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) – the Italian a later crasher at Turn 7 – complete the initial Q2 lineup.

Tune in for Moto2™ qualifying at 15:05 local time (GMT+2).

Top 10 combined:
1. Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) – 1:36.510
2. Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) + 0.595
3. Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.638
4. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 0.642
5. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.777
6. Thomas Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 0.832
7. Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.872
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.888
9. Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) + 0.889
10. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 0.944

Click here for the full results! 

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