Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) remained unbeaten on Day 1 in the intermediate class at the myWorld Austrian Grand Prix, but only just. The British rider battled second fastest Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in the latter stages of FP2 to eventually finish 0.010 ahead of the Spaniard thanks to a 1:28.985. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) claimed P3 in FP2 but sits fifth overall, with Marco Bezzecchi’s (SKY Racing Team VR46) FP1 time keeping the Italian inside the top three.
With rain affecting the Moto3™ and MotoGP™ Friday afternoon sessions, it was possible that the intermediate class riders may not get a chance to improve their morning times. The sun was shining in Austria though and despite the track not being in peak condition after the showers earlier in the afternoon, the signs were there that improvements may come – Edgar Pons (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and reigning Moto3™ World Champion Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) had improved.
Thankfully, the battle for top spot on Day 1 was about to get interesting. A number of riders were starting to go faster, and one of them was FP1 pacesetter Lowes. The number 22 was #OnIt and stretched his advantage at the summit to nearly a tenth as the clocked ticked below four minutes to go, but Martin then struck back. The KTM star was now leading the way by 0.062, but he was then demoted to second as Lowes went faster again – 0.010 the margin that saw the 29-year-old take P1.
The duo were the only two riders to dip their toes into the 1:28s, with Bezzecchi finishing third on the times despite ending FP2 in 14th. Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) keeps his place in P4 also thanks to his FP1 time, the Spaniard also claimed P4 in FP2 as he looks to have solved the issues that plagued one of the preseason title favourites in Jerez. P5 on the combined times went to Dixon after the British rider was able to find significant time in the Friday afternoon session. That’s a season’s best result for the number 96 who ends just over two tenths shy of compatriot Lowes at the Red Bull Ring. The sophomore was 18th in FP1 despite being just 0.6 slower than Lowes, proof of how close the Moto2™ World Championship is in 2020.
The next four riders on the combined times failed to find time in FP2, and all slip a place from their FP1 positions thanks to Dixon’s improvements. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) is the leading non-Kalex rider so far in Austria, the Spaniard sits sixth ahead of Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Team), rookie Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) and Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Completing the top 10 was Czech GP podium finish Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing), the American able to find three tenths on his FP1 time to jump from P15 to P10 at the end of play.
Championship leader Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) finished P16 on Day 1 to sit outside the automatic Q2 cut off. If it’s wet on Saturday morning for FP3, the Italian will have to go through Q1 to get a good starting position as he goes in search of a hat-trick of wins in 2020. His and everyone else’s eyes will be keeping a close look at what the weather will be doing in Austria ahead of FP3. Tune in to find out what happens at 10:55 local time (GMT+2).
Top 10 combined:
1. Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) – 1:28.985
2. Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.010
3. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.164
4. Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 0.192
5. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.222
6. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) + 0.305
7. Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) + 0.378
8. Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) + 0.429
9. Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.443
10. Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing) + 0.451
Click here for the full results!