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14 days ago
By motogp.com

Gardner leaves it late to lead Moto2™ field into qualifying

The World Championship leader jumped to the top of the timesheets in the closing stages of a busy FP3 in Barcelona

Red Bull KTM Ajo once again dominated the Moto2™ field throughout FP3 at the Monster Energy Catalan Grand Prix, with World Championship leader Remy Gardner only 0.021 clear of rookie revelation Raul Fernandez. Ahead of their 200th Grand Prix, Elf Marc VDS Racing Team will be delighted to see Augusto Fernandez's return to form continue as the Spaniard claimed the final place inside the top three ahead of Q2 later on Saturday.

Getting down to business

With fresh MotoGP™ rubber down on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya surface, the intermediate class didn't take long to start improving on Friday's lap times. In fact, every rider was forced to push immediately and that caused a few to get caught out. Lorenzo Baldassarri (MV Agusta Forward Racing) was the first to go down at Turn 7, before compatriot Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) then went down too. The Spanish Grand Prix winner was viciously spat over the top of his Gresini machine on the exit of Turn 4 and has been taken to the medical centre for a check-up as a result. Both slipped down the order and outside of the top 14 consequently and will have to fight it out of Q1.

Meanwhile, Augusto Fernandez was setting the fastest lap of the weekend to jump to the top of the timesheets. It wasn't all delight for Marc VDS, however, with Sam Lowes tucking the front at Turn 10.  The Brit managing to hold on to a Q2 spot despite being the only rider inside the top 14 to not improve on his best from Friday.

Late heartache in the fight for a Q2 place

Moto3™ World Champion Albert Arenas looked set to claim a place in Q2 for his home Grand Prix only for a former Moto3™ World Champion to bump him out with the chequered flag out. Italtrans Racing Team's Lorenzo Dalla Porta moved up to 13th with his final lap to demote Inde Aspar Team rider down to 15th and into Q1. Despite a late crash, Idemitsu Honda Team Asia's Ai Ogura was able to cling on to a Q2 place by grabbing the last remaining spot in 14th.

Combined top 10:
1. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:43.446
2. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.021
3. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.142
4. Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) + 0.298
5. Bo Bendsnyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) + 0.334
6. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.407
7. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.432
8. Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) + 0.488
9. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.524
10. Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.551

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