MotoGP Aragon: Lopez leads Moto2 FP3 as Vietti and Ogura face Q1

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Picture: GeeBee Images

CAG Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez continued his stellar mid-season showing by leading Moto2’s FP3 at Motorland Aragon.

The intermediate class’ late addition commanded the times with a 1’52.180 on his penultimate lap of the final 40-minute practice trailed by soon-to-be MotoGP rider Augusto Fernandez and Flexbox’s Aron Canet.

Moto2 final practice kicked off with news that Sergio Garcia will join the Pons HP40 team alongside Canet for 2023 as Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino headed the times above the Spaniard with a 1’52.831.

Championship challenger Ai Ogura was the first to crash, from 16th in the overall times, as Albert Arenas advanced the GasGas Aspar into the top fifth. Italtrans’ Joe Roberts the next to improve in the opening stages as the American claimed his place in the top five.

Current class leader Fernandez returned to the top of the timesheets with a 1’52.818 as the halfway point approached. Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Pedro Acosta joining him in the top five as the pair ran in tandem on track.

Arenas took over with his tenth lap as Canet crashed out at turn two. The number 40 the first of the big hitters yet to improve on his Friday times as Lopez sat narrowly ahead in fourth.

The closing quarter of an hour found American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier in the danger zone on 1’53.636 pace as the pack sat in the pits awaiting the final runs. Lopez continued his climb to second overall with Flexbox’s outgoing Jorge Navarro consolidating his promotion position from eighth ahead of Jake Dixon, before the Brit moved the Aspar up the times to sixth.

Idemitsu Honda’s Ogura was back in the action as he joined teammate Somkiat Chantra in 11th and 12th, at the expense of Beaubier, with eight minutes to go. Acosta and Dixon chasing overall command with low 1’52 pace as teammates Fernandez and Arenas continued the pattern in the top four.

Fernandez was back in charge next time around as the KTM/Aspar riders shuffled into formation. Fermin Aldeguer heading his own teammate in seventh and eighth as Roberts split the GasGas squad from fourth. Arbolino the next to strike as he too took his turn in the top four.

Aldeguer climbed again as Ogura dropped to the edge of the top 14. Beaubier improving his time but still painfully shy of the promotion zone by a mere 0.03s. Lopez lifted the benchmark to 1’52.180 in the penultimate minute as Canet returned to the front fight, in fourth. Marcos Ramirez crashing the MV Agusta out at turn one as the yellow flags impeded the late runs.

A late shuffle saw Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti briefly up from 26th to 14th before the time was deleted due to track limits at turn 13. Ogura reinstated in the final seconds before Master Camp’s Manuel Gonzales claimed a last-second improvement to deny the Japanese title-fighter his direct place in Q2.

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