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Despite a Turn 13 crash, Raul Fernandez spearheads the Moto2™ Free Practice times at the Grande Prémio Brembo do Algarve with a 1:42.462, a lap good enough to see him beat Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate and title rival Remy Gardner by 0.036s. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) claimed P3 on Saturday morning in Portimao, the Italian is 0.161s off top spot.
Friday pacesetter Raul Fernandez was immediately down to business in FP3 and with 15 minutes left on the clock, the Spaniard was a whopping 0.7s clear of second place Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team). Gardner joined teammate Fernandez and Lowes in improving their times, before Fernandez then crashed unhurt.
The closing 15 minutes was full of riders setting personal best times, and with five minutes to go, Gardner cut Raul Fernandez’ gap to 0.036s. Neither of the top two were able to find any more time before the chequered flag came out, with Bezzecchi just over a tenth behind the Ajo riders before qualifying.
Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and rookie Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) completed the top five in FP3 and sail into Q2, as does Lowes in P6. Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Albert Arenas (QuieroCorredor Aspar Team) finished half a second down in P7, Jorge Navarro (Termozeta Speed Up) left it late to jump into the top 10 in P8, with Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40) and Aron Canet (QuieroCorredor Aspar Team) the riders who took P9 and P10 respectively.
Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40), Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) will be the other four guaranteed contenders in Q2 this afternoon, as Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) miss out by less than a tenth.
Raul Fernandez vs Gardner – who comes out on top in qualifying? Find out at 15:10 local time (GMT+0).
Top 10 combined:
1. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:42.462
2. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.036
3. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.161
4. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.295
5. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.388
6. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.393
7. Albert Arenas (QuieroCorredor Aspar Team) + 0.503
8. Jorge Navarro (Termozeta Speed Up) + 0.507
9. Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40) + 0.520
10. Aron Canet (QuieroCorredor Aspar Team) + 0.547
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