Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) heads into Saturday’s Moto2™ action as the man to beat at the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France after topping a dry FP2 which saw Jorge Martin’s (Red Bull KTM Ajo) fastest last lap get cancelled due to yellow flags. Marco Bezzecchi was third quickest behind the aforementioned duo but his teammate and Championship leader Luca Marini suffered a monster highside at the beginning of the afternoon session, which briefly brought out the red flags.
After a wet opening to the weekend on Friday morning, Moto2™ FP2 started with plenty of drama on a drying track. First, FP1 pacesetter Kasma Daniel (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) suffered a highside at Turn 11 before we witnessed Marini’s horrifying crash coming over the brow of the hill at Turn 5. Marini was brutally launched off his Kalex-Triumph and with his bike sliding through the wet grass and back onto the circuit, bringing mud onto the racing line, the session was red-flagged with Marini limping away with the help from the marshals. The Italian was transported to the medical and then went to hospital for further checks. We await news on his condition.
On track, Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was top of the pile before Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took over at the top. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) then set the fastest time of the day in the Moto2™ class to take over at the summit, the riders who finished well outside the top 10 in a wet FP1 were going well in the dry FP2 conditions.
The times were tumbling all the time though. Martin then shot to the top with compatriot Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) slotting himself into the top five, but the riders were going quicker and getting more confident as the session went on. The ever-improving and in form Dixon sat quickest but Martin then slammed in a great time on his last flying lap, only for that to be chalked off for yellow flags. This means sophomore Dixon ends Friday fastest in the intermediate class after finishing FP1 in P5, a smidgen ahead of Martin who is just 0.049 off the British rider’s pace. Bezzecchi was seventh in the wet conditions and rounds out the top three in the dry but is over three tenths shy of Dixon’s time, Lowes is once again up at the sharp end to climb up to P4 from his P19 finish in the tricky FP1 conditions.
Fernandez makes it two EG 0,0 Marc VDS machines in the top five as he too finds the going a little less tough than FP1. Termozeta Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro is another of the riders who found themselves much higher up the timing screens in the dry, the Spaniard finishing FP2 in P6 after a P18 in FP1, rookie Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team Moto2) claims P7 on Day 1 at Le Mans under two weeks from right arm pump surgery. The Spaniard was P26 in the morning, a vast improvement in the dry. Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) managed to get the better of teammate Schrötter for P8 and P9, early session leader Vierge finishes P10.
After crashing heavily in FP1, both Fabio Di Giannantonio (Termozeta Speed Up) and Piotr Biesiekirski (NTS RW Racing GP) will be assessed ahead of FP3 to see if they are able to take part in the rest of the Grand Prix. Fingers crossed the duo and Marini will be ok for Saturday and Sunday at Le Mans.
After a dramatic Friday, what does Saturday have in store for the Moto2™ riders? It’s a dream opening day for Dixon, can he now carry this speed into FP3 and qualifying? The intermediate class will be back on track for FP3 at 10:55 (GMT+2), as Q1 and Q2 places will be decided.
Top 10 combined:
1. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) – 1:37.713
2. Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.049
3. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.304
4. Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 0.442
5. Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 0.472
6. Jorge Navarro (Termozeta Speed Up) + 0.508
7. Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team Moto2) + 0.546
8. Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.561
9. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.628
10. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.746
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