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12 days ago
By motogp.com

Arenas makes an early statement with Friday Moto3™ top spot

Ahead of the title-decider on Sunday, the World Championship leader asserted his authority in Portimao

Gaviota Aspar Team's Albert Arenas has started the Moto3™ title-deciding weekend in the best possible manner by setting the fastest lap of Friday at the Grande Premio MEO de Portugal. The World Championship leader left his best until last by stealing top spot from the 2019 Moto3™ Rookie of the Year, Kömmerling Gresini Moto3's Jeremy Alcoba, with the chequered flag out at the Algarve International Circuit.

All 31 lightweight class riders were able to improve thanks to another extended session, with Friday morning's pacesetter, Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing), slipping back down to fifth despite going four tenths of a second quicker. Arenas was the fastest, though, finding well over a second from FP1 to become the first Moto3™ rider to set a sub 1:48 lap around Portimao. Compatriot Alcoba was two tenths adrift in second, with SIC58 Squadra Corse's Tatsuki Suzuki three tenths behind Arenas' 1:47.987 in third.

Red Bull KTM Ajo's Raul Fernandez ended the day fourth on the timesheets after giving younger brother Adrian Fernandez, replacing the injured Filip Salac in the Rivacold Snipers Team this weekend, a tour of Portimao as the pair tried to get up to speed. Masia was fifth, 0.056 seconds clear of Leopard Racing teammate Dennis Foggia.

Just three thousandths of a second adrift of the Italian is Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) in seventh and title contender Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) is then only two thousandths of a second off of the young Turk in eighth.

Following a huge scare this morning where the rear end very nearly let go through Turn 15, Honda Team Asia's Ai Ogura bounced back from P26 to take P9 in FP2, meaning all three of the Championship contenders are inside the top nine on the opening day of the season finale. Gaviota Aspar Team's Stefano Nepa took the final place inside the top ten ahead of Sterilgarda Max Racing Team's Romano Fenati, who ended up eleventh after sitting second in FP1 despite a crash at Turn 15.

Top 10 combined:
1. Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team) – 1:47.987
2. Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 0.201
3. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.374
4. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.385
5. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) + 0.519
6. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) + 0575
7. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) + 0.578
8. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.580
9. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) + 0.614
10. Stefano Nepa (Gaviota Aspar Team) + 0.677

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