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8 days ago
By motogp.com

Fernandez on top despite a late crash

An up and down session for the former World Championship leader

Augusto Fernandez has got off to a thoroughly mixed start to the PETRONAS Grand Prix of Malaysia weekend. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider might have finished FP1 a big 0.828 seconds up on the field as he bids to regain the Moto2™ World Championship lead which he lost five days ago with a crash at Phillip Island, but then he had another front-end spill. Fernandez crashed at Turn 15 of the Sepang International Circuit in the 40th and final minute of Friday morning running for the intermediate class, although the 2:06.816 which he had set earlier left him comfortably clear of the rest. Second went to Fernandez’s Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Pedro Acosta on a 2:07.644, third to Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s Tony Arbolino on a 2:07.876, and fourth to Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Championship leader, Ai Ogura, on a 2:07.938.

It was indeed a very dramatic FP1 session, with Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) crashing minutes earlier at Turn 15 in similar fashion to how Fernandez had done. Unfortunately, on that occasion, Canet had Barry Baltus on his outside given he was trying to make a pass, and he made contact which took the RW Racing GP rider down also. Canet could walk away while Baltus was carried away from the scene on a stretcher and is off to the medical centre for a check. Last-start winner Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up) also hit the deck at Turn 6, just a few minutes into proceedings, but was able to head back out later in the session.

Back to the timesheet, Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) rounded out the top five, from Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up), Canet, and Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), the latter of whom had to contend with an early flat rear tyre. Vietti finished 1.637 seconds off the pace in 10th, while Lopez was classified 15th on the 2:08.695 which he set before his spill.

The Moto2™ field will now regroup before FP2 gets underway later on Friday at 14:10 (GMT +8) – tune in then!

Moto2™ FP1 Top 10:
1. Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 2:06.816
2. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.828
3. Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 1.051
4. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 1.122
5. Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) + 1.300
6. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 1.375
7. Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) + 1.474
8. Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up) + 1.498
9. Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) + 1.628
10. Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 1.637

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