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Kömmerling Gresini Moto3's Gabriel Rodrigo set the early pace in the Moto3™ class at the Monster Energy Czech Republic Grand Prix after the Argentinian got the better of a charging pair of Red Bull KTM Ajo machines, piloted by Kaito Toba in second and Raul Fernandez in third. The top three were split by just a quarter of a second around the Czech Adrenaline Factory as Round 4 of the lightweight World Championship officially started under glorious sunshine.
The weekend didn't start how Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) would've hoped it to, after the winner last time out in Jerez tucked the front at the penultimate corner, walking away without injury. The most worrying start to the Czech GP, however, went to Leopard Racing's Jaume Masia who crashed not once, but twice. The Spaniard suffered front-end washouts at both Turn 3 and Turn 11, fortunately with both crashes coming without injury.
Masia's Leopard Racing teammate, Dennis Foggia, did have better fortunes, though, as the Italian ended up fourth on the timesheets at the end of the opening session. Red Bull KTM Tech 3's Ayumu Sasaki completed the top five in FP1, as the Japanese rider aims to bounce back from a crash at the Andalucia Grand Prix two weeks ago.
World Championship protagonists Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team), Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) closed FP1 in sixth, seventh and eighth, with the trio seperated by just over a tenth of a second. Rounding out the top ten on Friday morning was Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) and Riccardo Rossi (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy).
1. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) – 2:08.612
2. Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.106
3. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.227
4. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) + 0.287
5. Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) + 0.817
6. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.850
7. Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team) + 0.925
8. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.954
9. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.963
10. Riccardo Rossi (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy) + 0.974