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Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) remained fastest at the close of Day 1 of the Monster Energy Catalan Grand Prix thanks to his lap in FP1 on Friday morning, however, the Spaniard's advantage was halved after Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) topped FP2 despite a tumble. Last week's victor Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) takes the final spot inside the top three, four tenths adrift of Fernandez who was the only man to dip beneath the 1:49 barrier.
The wind played havoc in Free Practice 2 on Friday afternoon as no less than seven riders found themselves on the deck, while there were some stunning saves on show too at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The theme for FP2 was set early on as pacesetter Fernandez pulled off an incredible save after going airborne from his KTM, while moments later Ryusei Yamanaka (Estrella Galicia 0,0) pulled off an equally impressive save to remain on his bike at Turn 8.
Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) sits fourth on the combined timesheets as he was unable to improve his morning time, plus he fell victim to Turn 10 with a monster highside forcing the Italian to take a trip to the medical centre before thankfully being declared fit for the remainder of the weekend. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), who sits sixth on the timesheets, also felt the wrath of the downhill hairpin in blustery conditions.
Turn 1 proved a thorn in the side of riders too as Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Stefano Napa (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) both slid off there, while Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Davide Pizzoli (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy) also crashed out throughout the course of the afternoon as they failed to crack the Top 10 times.
The crashes and conditions disrupted much of the rider’s rhythm as only a handful could record a quicker time in FP2, one of whom was Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) as his penultimate lap pushed him into second in the session and fifth overall, while Carlos Tatay (Reale Avinita Moto3) is the only other rider to sit inside the Top 10 with an improved FP2 time - the reigning Red Bull Rookies Champion ninth overall thanks to his FP2 lap.
Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) and Nicollo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) did enough in FP1 to keep themselves inside the best times of the day and sit seventh and eighth respectively, while Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) also did enough in the morning to sneak tenth place overall.
With day one done and dusted in Barcelona, there is still plenty to play for on Saturday morning as the riders look to secure their passage into Q2 by securing a place inside the top 14. Make sure to tune in from 09:00 local time (GMT+2).
Combined top ten:
1. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:48.853
2. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) + 0.281
3. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.390
4. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.409
5. Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) + 0.565
6. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.607
7. Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) + 0.696
8. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.725
9. Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Moto3) + 0.758
10. Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.773