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The final session of the day came from the Moto2™ World Championship, with a remarkable first day being concluded in the sun and not the forecasted rain. From podium in 2018 to top of Friday’s timesheets in 2019, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) made it to the top after a strong session, marginally ahead of home-hero Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in second – much to the delight of the crowd – whilst Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) finished in third, with just 0.013 covering the leading trio.
Luca Marini had been strong in FP1 and in FP2, he built on that pace and took a commanding hold on the session, as he looks on for one of his best weekends of the season. The Italian, who has taken two podiums in 2019, will be eager of capturing a first win of his campaign at the Chang International Circuit. Somkiat Chantra did the home fans proud and celebrated on the cool-down lap with a massive wheelie. The young Thai rider, who was top ten in the race last season, was 0.008 adrift of top slot, whilst Tetsuta Nagashima made it to third, having led FP1. The Japanese rider was unable to improve his time in the afternoon session.
In fourth position, Nagashima’s teammate Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) came to play and was just under half a tenth behind Marini at the top. The Australian star seeks to return to the rostrum in Moto2™, having not been on it since Argentina in April. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) may have languished in FP1 but he completed the top five come the end of the day, as the Spaniard worked through his schedule in order to come out fighting for the rest of the weekend. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) was sixth and still only 0.094 behind Marini, in what was one of the closest Friday’s for the intermediate class.
Next up was Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM), doing a valiant job in retaining his seventh place from FP1 earlier on in the day. He was also top KTM, as MotorLand Aragon race winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was in eighth place, despite being just over a tenth-and-a-half off the leader’s pace. From a strong opening session to ninth overall, Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) improved fractionally, whilst Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) came into the top ten for the first time this weekend.
Improvements outside of the top ten included Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) who was 13th, whilst a strong start for the MV Agusta Temporary Forward duo of Stefano Manzi and Dominique Aegerter sees them within half a second of the top positions. In all, the top 24 were all covered by less than a second. There was a nasty crash at the end of the session involving Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Xavi Cardelus (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team). Both riders are OK.
1. Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) 1’35.956
2. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) +0.008
3. Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) +0.013
4. Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) +0.049
5. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) +0.077
6. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) +0.094
7. Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) +0.104
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +0.157
9. Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) +0.166
10. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) +0.249