Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) holds onto the overall top spot in Moto2™ at the SHARK Grand Prix de France as Saturday morning weather conditions didn’t allow the riders to improve on their FP2 times. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was the fastest man in the third and final Free Practice session, but he settles for P2 on the combined times. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing) occupies P3 as the Moto2™ field now look forward to qualifying.
The Le Mans circuit did dry out enough towards the latter half of the session to allow the intermediate class to head out on slick tyres, but the times were some way off what we saw in FP2 when the riders first ventured out on slicks. Rookie Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP) was the first to dip into the 1:39s in the closing stages, then the 1:38s, but the 14th quickest time was a 1:37.327, so the clock would run down a few minutes too early for the riders trying to improve their FP2 times.
In the end, it’s Lowes from Raul and Augusto Fernandez at the end of French GP Free Practice for the Moto2™ runners, World Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) are safely through to Q2 in P4 and P5 respectively. Petronas Sprinta Racing’s Xavi Vierge is sixth, just over half a second from Lowes’ pace, with Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team), Jerez winner Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) completing the top 10.
Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40), Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) and Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40) are the other riders who have automatically qualified for the second part of qualifying at Le Mans.
After fracturing his wrist on Friday, Yari Montella (MB Conveyors Speed Up) is being replaced by current Moto2™ European Championship and former Moto3™ rider Alonso Lopez for the remainder of the weekend.
Tune in for Moto2™ qualifying at 15:10 local time (GMT+2).
Top 10 combined:
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