MotoGP Buriram: Dixon dominates day one in Moto2

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Inde GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon celebrated the fastest Moto2 time on Friday after setting a 1’36.280 at Buriram.

Having just announced he’s set to become a father, the Brit took charge of the Moto2 times as the Thai Grand Prix preparations got underway. Beta Tools Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez completed the top three.

Moto2 championship leader Fernandez was in charge for FP1 as a drying track proved favourable for the KTM. His 1’36.806 effort set on slick Dunlops was enough to hold off Idemitsu Honda’s Somkiat Chantra and Aspar’s Jake Dixon in the times as the pair completed the 40-minute session less than a tenth shy of Fernandez. Britain’s Sam Lowes tentatively returned to action 25th in the standings with Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet narrowly ahead.

Chantra began FP2 in the gravel at turn eight, with Canet suffering his own turn 12 crash moments later. SAG’s Bo Bendsneyder the next to fall as the intermediate class pushed hard for an early time.

KTM Ajo’s rookie star Pedro Acosta took charge after ten minutes on track with a 1’36.750. Dixon circulating just shy of his morning best as he maintained his top three status in the second session with Idemitsu Honda’s title-challenger Ai Ogura in between. Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino sat fourth in FP2 and sixth overall as the pace continued to pick up with teammate Lowes in the pits after improving with his 1’38.148 personal best from the back of the pack.

With rain expected on Saturday morning, American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier sat in the gateway to promotion at the halfway stage. 1’37.493 the target, with Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti just 0.05s ahead.

A regrouped Chantra was in charge with ten to go as the Honda rider set the 1’36.597 benchmark. Master Camp’s Keminth Kubo crashing out at turn one after he improved to 15th, teammate Manuel Gonzalez claiming the final promotion place one lap before.

Lopez was the next to shine as he recovered from the morning’s technical issues with a 1’36.4. Dixon demoting him almost instantly as he hit the top two tenths faster with a 1’36.280.

Gresini’s Filip Salac the next to succumb to the 4.5km track at turn three as the session counted down with Fernandez suffering the same fate on a hot lap seconds later. The front runners looking to up the pace as the chequered flag prepared before the second half of the lap cooled the charge.

Dixon completed the opening day in charge from Lopez, Fernandez and Chantra with Acosta rounding out the top five. Arbolino, Ogura, Flexbox’s Jorge Navarro, Liqui Moly Intact’s Jeremy Alcoba and Speed Up’s Fermin Aldeguer completed the top ten with Salac, Aspar’s Albert Arenas, Italtrans’ Joe Roberts and countryman Beaubier staking their claim on promotion.

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