Binder fends off Garcia by just 0.040s on Friday

It’s close on Day 1 in Doha as Moto3™ FP2 ends in a mad dash for the line

With an automatic slot in Q2 on their minds, the Moto3™ field left it late to try and make one last dash count in FP2 at the TISSOT Grand Prix of Doha… but many didn’t even make it to the line in time. That left Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) on top of the pile, although the South African held onto it by just 0.040 ahead of Sergio Garcia (GASGAS Gaviota Aspar Team) as the Spaniard just made it over the line to improve. Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) slots into third, another key name from the front group in the Qatar GP making his presence felt on Friday.

Pretty good conditions welcomed Moto3™ back on track at Losail International Circuit, and after a scorching FP1 it all came down to pushing for that laptime in FP2. Binder did just that to put in a time around seven tenths off his Qatar GP pole lap, with quiet then falling in the final few minutes as the field filed back into pitlane. Filing back out, however, is where the idea of a last dash came undone as many didn’t manage to cross the line in time to set that final fast lap. The result? A few key names out of position, including Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) set to miss the cut in P15 and Qatar GP frontrunner Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) in P27.

Behind Binder, Garcia and Rodrigo at the top though, John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) ends Friday in fourth as he got back up to the sharp end following bad luck in the Qatar GP, and fellow veteran Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) completes the top five. Qatar winner Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) slots into sixth overall ahead of rookie sensation Izan Guevara (GASGAS Gaviota Aspar Team), with 2020 Rookie of the Year Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) in P8 as he moved up from ending FP1 very out of position in last place.

Second superstar rookie and Qatar GP podium finisher Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was ninth and safely holding onto a provisional place in Q2, with Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) – the first rider out in the freight train dash – completing the top ten. Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride) and Ryusei Yamanaka (CarXpert PrüstelGP) were 11th and 12th, with the last of those currently moving through to Q2 comprising two former Qatar GP winners: Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) and Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3).

Top 10 combined:
 1. Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) – 2:04.781
 2. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS Gaviota Aspar) + 0.040
 3. Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) + 0.112
 4. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.187
 5. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.242
 6. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.297
 7. Izan Guevara (GASGAS Gaviota Aspar) + 0.323
 8. Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) + 0.362
 9. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.388
 10. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.490

Can anyone improve in the hotter conditions of FP3? Find out at 13:25 (GMT +3), before qualifying for the lightweight class from 17:30.

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