MotoGP Catalunya: Guevara controls Moto3’s Friday running

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Valresa GasGas Aspar’s Izan Guevara made his intentions clear as preparations for the Moto3 CatalanGP got underway on Friday.

Having narrowly missed out on the Mugello victory, the young Spaniard dominated the action at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from the outset, sitting top of the standings in both sessions, with a 1’48.675 the target overall. Red Bull KTM’s Daniel Holgado and Leopard’s Dennis Foggia completed the top three with less than three-tenths covering the trio after 80 minutes on track.

Moto3 kicked off with an extra VisionTrack machine on track as Syarifuddin Azman joined Scott Ogden and Josh Whatley at the Michael Laverty and Taylor Mackenzie fronted squad. David Salvador substituting once again with Sterilgarda Husqvarna, this time in place of Ayumu Sasaki and alongside John McPhee. Marcos Uriarte standing in for Alberto Surra after the Rivacold Snipers rider suffered a second injury of the season.

The action saw KTM head the opening times with Ajo rider Jaume Masia in charge from Tech3’s Deniz Öncü and teammate Holgado. Last weekend’s podium challengers Izan Guevara and Sergio Garcia joining the fight in first and fourth respectively next time around. Leopard’s Foggia and Tatsuki Suzuki circulated in fourth and fifth after five laps of the 4.6km layout, the pair rising two apiece as the session unfolded with just Guevara out front as the sole rider running 1’49 pace at the halfway stage.

McPhee promoted the Max machine to 14th on his seventh lap of the morning, 1.4s adrift. Ogden running 21st with Whatley 25th as the track calmed ahead of second runs.

Öncü joined Guevara under the 1’50 barrier as the final quarter of an hour counted down. The Aspar rider upping the pace with a 1’49.713 on his tenth effort before Foggia struck half a second clear of the field and ten minutes left on the clock. His teammate wasn’t far behind as Suzuki claimed second next time around. The Italian bettering instantly thanks to a 1’48.962 and the Japanese’s slipstream.

Guevara hit back with five minutes remaining, a 1’48.675 now the target time with PruestelGP’s Carlos Tatay running fourth. Öncü suffering a turn one fall as he headed Honda’s Mario Aji, Masia, Holgado and Adrian Fernandez in the times with Garcia rounding out the top ten.

The final shuffles saw Ogden improve to 14th, albeit two seconds adrift of the benchmark, with McPhee 19th. Garcia claimed fourth before KTM’s Masia and Holgado bettered to third and fifth respectively. Tatay circulated seventh with Riccardo Rossi dropping Ryusei Yamanaka and Lorenzo Fellon to the back of the top ten before Andrea Migno arrived to sixth. Holgado struck for glory, finding second with late rookie David Muñoz continuing to impress in ninth. CIP Green Power’s Kaito Toba and Joel Kelso sandwiching the tail end of the front runners in 10th and 14th.

FP2 began with Diogo Moreira withdrawing from the rest of the Catalan weekend. The MT Helmets’ rider having completed surgery on his fractured wrist just three days ago and suffering down in 29th position in the opening practice before calling it a day after six laps.

Hotter conditions greeted the pack for the afternoon outing as the Mediterranean sun beat down on the asphalt warming the track into the mid 50’s. Suzuki crashed out at turn five in the opening ten minutes as Guevara, Holdago and teammate Foggia headed the standings - albeit with times considerably lower than the morning. McPhee rounding out the top ten on 1’50.8 pace, half a second away from his personal best which sat him ten places lower overall.

The pace improved across the mid-session as Guevara set the first 1’48 of the afternoon, one second clear of Foggia in second and three-tenths adrift of his own best overall. Avintia’s Matteo Bertelle third, from the fallen Suzuki, with a 1’50.127 and the first rider to have improved on his FP1 efforts.

Öncü sat second as the pace picked up in the closing stages. The Tech3 rider sitting seventh overall as Whatley parked the VisionTrack on the edge of the circuit with a broken chain.

The penultimate minute ushered in a full shuffle as Foggia and Suzuki returned to second and third from Öncü, Ivan Ortola and Toba before Yamanaka claimed fourth and toba improved to consolidate fifth. Garcia, Öncü, Ortola and Migno holding off Rossi in the top ten.

Guevara maintained his dominance both in the session and overall as the chequered flag came out. Holgado, Foggia and Masia completed the top four from Suzuki, Yamanaka, Migno and Toba. Garcia and Öncü sat ninth and tenth with Ortola, Tatay, Muñoz and Rossi holding the final provisional Q2 places overnight with Fellon and Ogden the first two just adrift.

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