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7 days ago
By motogp.com

Lowes just shy of Le Mans lap record pace to lead FP2 times

The 2020 French GP race winner is on form again as rookie Raul Fernandez sits as the Briton’s closest challenger on Friday

Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s Sam Lowes lapped just over a tenth off the all-time Moto2™ Le Mans lap record in FP2 and claimed top spot on Friday at the SHARK Grand Prix de France. The British rider’s 1:36.307 was enough to beat second fastest Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) by 0.075s, as Augusto Fernandez joins his teammate inside the top three on Day 1.

The Moto2™ riders were treated to two dry sessions on Friday at Le Mans, as the threat of rain stayed away for FP2 as all but FP1 pacesetter Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) were able to go quicker in the early stages of the afternoon session. It was a battle of the Fernandez’s at the top of the timesheets at the beginning of FP2 as Augusto Fernandez led Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) by 0.176s, with Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) sitting inside the top three.

The times stayed that way until there were just over 10 minutes to go. 2020 Le Mans race winner Sam Lowes beat his Elf Marc VDS Racing teammate’s time by 0.166s to go P1, with plenty of personal best sector times lighting up. Lowes then went faster again to stretch his advantage to 0.298s, before Raul Fernandez cut the gap to under a tenth.

Lowes’ time would go unbeaten, he and rookie Raul Fernandez lead the way on Friday in the intermediate class. Bezzecchi was able to propel himself to P3 on his final flying lap to recover from his crash in FP1, but his time was later cancelled due to a yellow flag infringement. As a result, Augusto Fernandez was promoted to P3 with Gardner and Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) completing the top five.

Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Canet – who did eventually improve his combined time – are safely inside the all-important top 14 heading into a potentially wet Saturday, as is Jerez winner Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) in P8. Bezzecchi’s second fastest time means the Italian is P9, with Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) rounded out the top 10.

The closing stages of Moto2™ FP2 saw a flurry of riders crash in quick succession. Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Albert Arenas (Inde Aspar Team), Tommaso Marcon (MV Agusta Forward Racing), Hafizh Syahrin (NTS RW Racing GP), Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team), Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) all crashed at the end of the session, thankfully everyone was ok. This is what caused some of the riders to lose their times due to yellow flags being waved.

Will FP3 be wet, or will it be dry? The riders inside the top 14 won’t mind if the heavens open, but there’s a few that will be hoping there’s a chance of improving ahead of qualifying. Tune in to find out what goes down in FP3 at 10:55 local time (GMT+2).

1. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) – 1:36.307
2. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.075
3. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.298
4. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.333
5. Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) + 0.441
6. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.506
7. Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) + 0.557
8. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) + 0.652
9. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.755
10. Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) + 0.776

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