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Red Bull KTM Ajo's Raul Fernandez has now taken top spot in the last three Moto3™ FP1 sessions after being the only man to dip beneath the 1:49 barrier in Friday morning's opening session to the Monster Energy Catalan Grand Prix. The Spaniard was nearly four tenths clear of last week's race winner, Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), with fellow Italian Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) a further tenth back in third.
Fernandez jumped to the top of the timesheets with just over five minutes remaining after setting a 1:48.853, only four tenths adrift of Aron Canet's outright lap record set last year. Fenati continued his fine Misano form to be the KTM man's closest challenger in second, whilst Tony Arbolino is rumoured to have had a boost heading into this weekend after paddock gossip spread on Friday Morning heavily linking the Italian with the Liqui Moly Intact GP squad for the 2021 Moto2™ season.
Leopard Racing's Jaume Masia ended up 0.575 seconds adrift of his compatriot in fourth and had Petronas Sprinta Racing's John McPhee only a fraction behind him in fifth. World Championship leader Albert Arenas stuck his Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 machine into sixth at the end of the 40-minute session ahead of Niccolo Antonelli in seventh, with the SIC58 Squadra Corse man having a different teammate this weekend as FIM Junior Moto3™ World Championship front-runner Jose Julian Garcia filling in for the injured Tatsuki Suzuki.
Rounding out the top ten were Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Filip Salac (Rivacold Snipers Team), with the fastest ten riders split by 0.835 seconds. Tune into Moto3™ FP2 later on Friday afternoon at 13:15 local time (GMT+2) to see if anyone can cut Fernandez's early advantage.
1. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:48.853
2. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.390
3. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.409
4. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) + 0.575
5. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.607
6. Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) + 0.696
7. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.725
8. Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.773
9. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 0.787
10. Filip Salac (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.835