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26 days ago
By motogp.com

Gardner takes Moto2™ initiative with FP3 top spot

The 2020 Portuguese GP race winner is over two tenths clear of Roberts and Lowes heading into qualifying

2020 Portimao race winner Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) rose highest in Moto2™ FP3 at the Grande Prémio 888 de Portugal and leads second place Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) by 0.229s after setting a 1:42.643. Double Losail winner Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) sits inside the top three heading into qualifying.

Thanks to perfect conditions, it didn’t take long for Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) to beat Roberts’ Friday afternoon pace on a sunny Saturday morning at the Algarve International Circuit. The Spaniard’s fifth lap was good enough to propel him to P1 by 0.104s, with Gardner also making strides in FP3 to sit 0.138s away from his teammate. World Championship leader Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) had a quiet Friday but in the latter stages of FP3, the British rider crept up to P4 on the timesheets, less than two tenths away from P1.

Times were improving all time and with six minutes to go, there were plenty of orange and red sectors times cropping up. Gardner went nearly four tenths faster than Raul Fernandez before Canet went 0.149 ahead of the Australian to set the fastest ever Moto2™ lap in Portimao. However, that lap from the Spaniard was later cancelled so Gardner was back in P1, with the riders still pushing for fast laps all the way to the chequered flag.

At the end of Moto2™ Portuguese GP Free Practice, Gardner, Roberts and Lowes are the leading trio, but the fastest man is over two tenths clear. Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) put it a sterling effort to grab P4 on his injury comeback, Raul Fernandez slipped to P5 but that’s still a great result for the rookie. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) is P6, just ahead of Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) who grabs P7 in his first visit to Portimao. Canet’s last lap saw him earn P8, rookie Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) is P9 and Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40) is the final top 10 runner, just 0.553s covers the fastest 10 heading into qualifying.

And the times remain insanely tight further down the order. Also heading straight into Q2 is Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), rookie Yari Montella (Lightech Speed Up), Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), 0.598s splits the Q2 graduates. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Albert Arenas (Solunion Aspar Team) miss out by less than a tenth, with less than a second covering the top 23.

Moto2™ qualifying begins at 15:10 local time (GMT+1) at the Algarve International Circuit, tune in!

Top 10:
1. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:42.643
2. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.229
3. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.296
4. Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) + 0.354
5. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.397
6. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.457
7. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.499
8. Aron Canet (Solunion Aspar Team) + 0.505
9. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.514
10. Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40) + 0.553

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