Foggia fastest after FP3, Aspar duo into Q1

The World Championship contenders both miss direct passage to Q2 in Thailand

Leopard Racing’s Dennis Foggia has reset the All Time Lap Record at the Chang International Circuit to top Moto3™ FP3 at the OR Thailand Grand Prix. In an unexpectedly dry session, Foggia set a 1:42.084, with Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) and Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) making up the top three, but the big news was the riders in 18th and 23rd on the timesheet. Those positions are occupied by World Championship leader Izan Guevara and his nearest rival for the title, fellow Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team rider Sergio Garcia, meaning they are going into Q1 this afternoon.

Fast like a Leopard

Despite forecasts of rain on Saturday morning in Buriram, it was dry conditions which greeted riders in the lightweight class and, having had little of that so far this weekend, lap times quickly came down. Sasaki’s FP2 benchmark of 1:43.503 was beaten within 10 minutes and the pace was only going to get better from there.

Matters were largely decided in the final three minutes of the session, when everyone went out for their last time attack. While much of the field seemed to find themselves in a traffic jam, the Leopard Racing duo got out on their own and Foggia picked up the tow from his Leopard Honda teammate Tatsuki Suzuki to nail a 1:42.084 with the chequered flag out and reclaim top spot. Suzuki himself did not improve but his 1:42.844 was good enough for seventh-fastest. Previous fast man Sasaki had set a 1:42.310, Nepa moved up to third with a 1:42.528, and John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max), who was outside the top 14 Q2 cut-off at the end of Friday’s running, claimed fourth with a 1:42.676.

Fifth went to Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo), from Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power), Suzuki, and Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who bounced back after losing the front of his KTM machine at Turn 9 in the first quarter of an hour. Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) rounded out the top 10, ahead of Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team), Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets - MSI), Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets - MSI), and Joel Kelso (CIP Green Power) in 14th.

A shock for Aspar

The big shock was the all-conquering GASGAS Aspar duo. Guevara was sitting in a precarious 13th position ahead of the time attacks and Garcia had looked strangely uncomfortable with the front end of his bike all session to that point, as he sat 29th. Neither were able to get a tow and they had to do it for themselves but Guevara essentially lost one of his two final laps when he ran wide at Turn 8, and was unable to improve next time around either. Garcia did, but only as far as 21st before he was shuffled back another couple of positions.

With Guevara into Q1 for the first time this year, and Garcia joining him there, it’s a World Championship battle in the first 15 minutes of qualifying! Tune in on Saturday from 12:35 (GMT +7).

Moto3™ Combined Top 10

1. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) – 1:42.084
2. Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) + 0.226
3. Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) + 0.444
4. John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) + 0.592
5. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.652
6. Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) + 0.727
7. Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) + 0.760
8. Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.765
9. Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.809
10. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) + 0.828


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