Italtrans Racing Team’s Andrea Locatelli set an impressive pace during the opening Moto2™ session of the Shark Helmets Grand Prix de France. The 22-year-old currently has a best finish in the intermediate class of eighth place, at Mugello last year, so could be on for quite the weekend if he can continue with this early promise.
Locatelli eventually ended 0.135 of a second clear of the battered and bruised Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) thanks to a laptime of 1:36.894, seven tenths adrift of Francesco Bagnaia’s fastest ever Moto2™ lap around Le Mans, which helped him to last year’s pole position.
Schrötter took second quickest with his final lap of the session; a strong performance given the fact he’s continuing to recover from surgery just one week ago to rectify the two broken metatarsals he suffered prior to the Spanish GP. Third quickest was Brad Binder, possibly indicating that the new chassis fitted to his Red Bull KTM Ajo machine is a positive improvement for both the South African and the Austrain factory after a challenging start to 2019.
Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Sam Lowes was a quarter of a second behind the pacesetter in fourth, narrowly ahead of ONEXOX TKKR SAG’s Remy Gardner, who himself isn’t fully fit after suffering a minor break to his collarbone in the opening lap crash at Jerez. Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) ended sixth on the timesheets ahead of his compatriot Mattia Pasini, enjoying a debut outing on the Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex.
Then eighth and ninth overall at the close of FP1 are the early World Championship protagonists – Tom Lüthi followed by Lorenzo Baldassarri. The Dynavolt Intact GP rider, winner of the Americas GP, 0.006 of a second clear of the Flexbox HP 40 man, winner in Qatar, Argentina and last time out in Jerez.
Finally, Alex Marquez, aboard his EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex, rounded out a top ten that was covered by just 0.471 of a second. In fact, the leading 18 riders were covered by just over three quarters of a second, meaning the Moto2™ action in Le Mans appears to be very tight this weekend.
1. Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) 1:36.894
2. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 0.135
3. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.216
4. Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) + 0.256
5. Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) + 0.272
6. Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.336
7. Mattia Pasini (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.411
8. Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 0.452
9. Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40) + 0.458
10. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 0.471
Click here for the full results!