Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) was once again the fastest rider on Friday as the Gran Premio Red Bull de España got in gear at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, the Argentinean ending the day 0.256 clear of 2019 Spanish GP winner Niccolo Antonelli (Reale Avintia Moto3) on the combined timesheets. It was another tenth a half back to another former Jerez winner in the form of Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) in third too, with Rodrigo once again showing some serious speed on Day 1.
Friday at Jerez was cooler than the usual for the time of year but it remained largely sunny with a few clouds, and it very much remained a serious step down in temperature compared to the 2020 events. This time around, most therefore improved in the afternoon and FP2 saw a good few late lunges up the timesheets, including for Fenati as he took third in the combined standings late on. The top two remained the same in FP1 and FP2 however, with Antonelli topping FP1 from Rodrigo and the Argentinean reversing the order in the afternoon and overall.
A few riders who would go on the end the day within the provisional Q2 graduation zone also showed their first flashes of speed in FP1, with Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PrüstelGP) starting the day in P3 and ending it fourth overall by the close of FP2. His teammate Ryusei Yamanaka likewise impressed, ending the day in sixth. Splitting the two CarXpert PrüstelGP riders was Championship challenger Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing), who ends Friday in fifth overall despite an FP2 crash, rider ok.
Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) showed more consistent speed as he ends Friday in seventh, ahead of Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in P8. Both Acosta and teammate Jaume Masia improved in the latter part of FP2 to take provisional places in Q2 and put in some laps together during the session, with the number 5 completing the top ten as Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) managed to split the two Ajo machines to take ninth.
Currently on to join them in Q2 are Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) as he gained nearly two and a half seconds in FP2, Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) by virtue of his best lap from FP1, Filip Salaç (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3). Alcoba in P14 has the exact same laptime as the rider currently set to miss the cut – Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) – as both set a 1:46.000. The Spaniard, with his second best effort, just makes it through and the Japanese rider is left to rue an FP2 crash.
Suzuki will be one contender looking to hit back in FP3, as will the rider he just beat to the Andalucia GP win last year: John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing). The Scotsman and ended the day in P17 and will want to make his mark on Saturday to move straight through to Q2.
The top ten on Day 1:
1. Gabriel Rodrigo - (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) - 1:45.651
2. Niccolo Antonelli - (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) - +0.256
3. Romano Fenati - (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) - +0.409
4. Jason Dupasquier - (CarXpert PruestelGP) - +0.421
5. Darryn Binder - (Petronas Sprinta Racing) - +0.537
6. Ryusei Yamanaka - (CarXpert PruestelGP) - +0.575
7. Andrea Migno - (Rivacold Snipers Team) - +0.767
8. Pedro Acosta - (Red Bull KTM Ajo) - +0.800
9. Deniz Öncü - (Red Bull KTM Tech3) - +0.813
10. Jaume Masia - (Red Bull KTM Ajo) - +0.847
Find out how the pack shuffles in FP3 from 9:00 (GMT +2), before qualifying from 12:35 to decide the grid for another stunner at Jerez.