MotoGP Austria: Dixon masters Moto2 times in FP3

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Zinia GasGas’s Jake Dixon claimed FP3 honours in Moto2 at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday morning thanks to a 1’34.016 lap.

Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura claimed second just five-thousandths off the British rider with Aspar teammate Albert Arenas rounding out the rapid top three.

The intermediate class saw Speed up’s Alonso Lopez take charge of the FP3 times as final practice began in Austria. VR46 Master Camp’s Manuel Gonzalez and Flexbox HP40’s Jorge Navarro the next in line from Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti before Ogura and the second Boscoscuro of Fermin Aldeguer joined the fight at the front.

Gresini’s Filip Salac headed the times after six laps with a 1’34.297, the Czech rider circulating 0.056s faster than Friday’s pace setter Somkiat Chantra with the Thai rider’s Honda teammate a similar distance back in third.

The halfway stage found usual front-runner Aron Canet still outside of the promotion zone, alongside teammate Navarro, as Arenas held the gateway position in 14th. Vietti likewise adrift of Q2 entry after circulating 20th in the combined times just under a second shy of Salac’s outright target.

Dixon consolidated his chances in fifth place with a 1’34.6 as the final quarter of an hour got underway. The Brit narrowly ahead of championship leader Augusto Fernandez as the final runs prepared.

The closing minutes saw the pace intensify as Ogura and Chantra raise the stakes. The title challenger setting a 1’34.220 before Fernandez arrived 0.038s faster. The standings continued to shuffle as Arenas became the next in charge on the bubble of 1’34, his Aspar teammate initially dropping to 11th but on a red sector charge of his own. Dixon rose to fifth as Pedro Acosta claimed sixth on his return from injury and the Aspar/KTM/ Honda pack locked out the top six.

Italtrans Lorenzo Dalla Porta was the first to spoil the pattern for the leading teams as the Italian swept into second. American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier struggling to master the Red Bull Ring to perfection as he inched into 14th with Vietti continuing to flounder in 17th.

Dixon bettered his teammate for FP3 honours as he claimed a 1’34.016 lap as the clock counted down. Ogura splitting the Aspar pairing in second just 0.005s shy of the Brit with two-tenths covering the top six as the flag prepared.

Vietti staked his claim on promotion with a personal best in twelfth before a late charge from Canet demoted him one position as he too secured Q2 entry from ninth. Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino the last through to the shootout with Bo Bendsneyder, Aldeguer and Beaubier facing the Q1 fight as less than half a second cover the top 14.

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