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Rivacold Snipers Team's Tony Arbolino set the fastest lap of the weekend so far in FP3 at the Monster Energy Catalan Grand Prix, getting to within two tenths of Aron Canet's outright Moto3™ lap record of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The Italian is a tenth clear of compatriot Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), who himself is a further tenth clear of Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in third.
However, the big story to come out of the final Free Practice session is that all three of the riders inside the World Championship top three - Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3), Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) - failed to make it inside the top 14 on the combined timesheets and will, therefore, have to fight it out of Q1 later.
Slightly cooler track conditions of just 12 degrees ambient temperature when the green flags were waved at the start of the session saw a handful of riders slip out during the session. Alonso Lopez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Davide Pizzoli (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy) all went down early in the session and were joined in the gravel trap later on by Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3), the third fastest man on the timesheets, Raul Fernandez, and Jose Julian Garcia (SIC58 Squadra Corse).
Leopard Racing's Jaume Masia jumped up to fourth fastest with his final lap of the session and sits a quarter of a second adrift of Arbolino. Despite his early crash, Garcia dusted himself off and took the final place inside the top 5, just ahead of Kömmerling Gresini Moto3's Gabriel Rodrigo.
Making sure both Leopard Honda machines were inside the top 7 was Dennis Foggia, with the Italian 0.017 of a second clear of fellow Italian Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) in eighth. Completing the top ten was Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power).
Qualifying for the lightweight class in not to be missed in usual circumstances but with Arenas, Ogura and McPhee all having to fight their way out of Q1, the World Championship chase could take a vital twist at 12:35 local time (GMT+2).
Top 10 combined:
1. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) – 1:48.635
2. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.143
3. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.218
4. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) + 0.241
5. Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) + 0.254
6. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 0.310
7. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) + 0.321
8. Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.338
9. Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.509
10. Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) + 0.573