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13 hours ago
By motogp.com

Sasaki top after a Friday of random weather

The Moto3™ field had to deal with a range of conditions in FP2 alone in Thailand

Rain gave way to some rare sunshine and it was Ayumu Sasaki who capitalised in FP2 for the Moto3™ field at the OR Thailand Grand Prix. The Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max rider set a 1:43.503 at the end of the session to be top at the conclusion of Friday running in the lightweight class at the Chang International Circuit. Second went to fellow Japanese rider Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) on a 1:43.694, with Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) third on a 1:44.330. World Championship leader Izan Guevara was classified seventh, six positions ahead of fellow Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team rider – and nearest rival for the title – Sergio Garcia. With the weather looking dicey, that could be the Championship contenders effectively locked into Q2.

Sasaki gets one up on his compatriot

Moto3™ was the only class which had not enjoyed any dry running on Friday morning at Buriram and that looked like being the case for the day as a whole when showers began just before FP2 got underway and turned into a downpour in the early stages. However, the sun then made a cameo and the lap times began to tumble, halfway through the 40-minute session. Rossi had just gone fastest with a 1:51.513s on wets before that was blown out of the water – if you pardon the ironic metaphor – when Suzuki laid down a 1:46.616 after his switch to slicks. Of course, that was not the end of the story.

Suzuki looked like getting the sweep of the Friday sessions – a wet one and a dry one (eventually) – when he set a 1:43.694 in the last two minutes before the chequered flag. However, it was after that came out that compatriot Sasaki denied him the honour with a lap which put him 0.191 seconds clear of the Leopard Honda rider and 0.827 seconds up on Rossi. Red Bull KTM Ajo teammates Daniel Holgado and Jaume Masia rounded out the top five, while Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü was a highly commendable sixth as he grits his teeth with an injured finger after his highside in Warm Up five days ago at Motegi.

Garcia into Q2 for now

With the possibility of rain on Saturday morning, it was important for Garcia to make the top 14 cut-off for direct passage to Q2 by claiming 13th on a 1:44.906. Seventh went to his teammate Garcia, with Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team), Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing), and Scott Ogden (VisionTrack Racing Team) completing the top 10, ahead of Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) and Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers). Xavier Artigas (CFMoto Racing PruestelGP) took 14th, with Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets - MSI) missing out by only 0.007 seconds. Also outside the top 14 for now is John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) in 16th.

What will the weather throw at the Moto3™ riders next? FP3 takes place on Saturday from 09:00 (GMT +7)!

Moto3™ Top 10 on Friday

1. Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) – 1:43.503
2. Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) + 0.191
3. Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.827
4. Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.890
5. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.920
6. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) + 0.962
7. Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) + 1.067
8. Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) + 1.102
9. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) + 1.181
10. Scott Ogden (VisionTrack Racing Team) + 1.244

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