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After topping FP2 on Friday afternoon, Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) remains the rider to beat heading into Moto3™ qualifying at the Gran Premio de Europa. Heavy overnight rain in Valencia meant the track surface was wet for the Saturday morning session, seeing the combined times go untroubled in the 40-minute stint. Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) complete the top three, John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was the man to beat in FP3.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez set the pace in the opening exchanges, his 1:51.399 was around six seconds off Vietti’s FP2 time. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was then at the summit with 16 minutes to go as the track still remained wet, with title contender Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) – who doesn’t occupy a Q2 place after Friday’s running – jumping up the timing screens to P2, two tenths shy of Antonelli’s 1:50.647.
Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) then beat Antonelli’s time by less than a tenth as Filip Salac (Rivacold Snipers Team) became the first rider to crash at Turn 4 on Saturday – rider ok. Into the last 10 minutes and the times were still a long way off challenging the FP2 scoreboards, with McPhee’s time eventually four seconds off Vietti’s. Ryusei Yamanaka (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was the only rider to improve on his Friday time after his huge Turn 1 crash.
So the overall standings and top 10 are as follows: Vietti leads Garcia and Fenati by two tenths, Fernandez and Salac round out the top five and head straight into Q2. Also going straight into Q2 is Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team), Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Moto3), Migno, Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and 10th place McPhee.
Championship leader Albert Arenas (Valresa Aspar Team Moto3) will be in Q1 alongside closest challenger Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia), and they’re both joined by Masia. So, the first part of qualifying this afternoon has huge implications at 13:15 local time (GMT+1).
Top 10 combined:
1. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) – 1:45.356
2. Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) + 0.201
3. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.219
4. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.494
5. Filip Salac (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.516
6. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.628
7. Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Moto3) + 1.214
8. Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 1.218
9. Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 1.280
10. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 1.404