MotoGP Catalunya: Roberts heads 0.003s Moto2 top three in FP3

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Infinitesimal margins split the Moto2 field in Saturday’s FP3 as Italtrans Joe Roberts led the way at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The American’s 1’44.154 sat one-thousandth of a second clear of Aspar’s Jake Dixon with KTM rookie Pedro Acosta a further 0.002s behind the Brit. Six-hundredths covered the top six with Sam Lowes completing the top ten less than two-tenths away from the fastest target.

Dixon kicked off the action on the Inde GasGas with a class topping 1’44.387 on his first flying lap before fellow Brit Lowes immediately bettered by 0.032s. Dixon hitting back next time around to retain control overall by two-tenths as the standing shuffled and the pace picked up.

Roberts continued his prominent FP2 showing with the fastest so far in FP3 on just his third attempt. 1’44.154 now the target time from Dixon, Pertamina SAG’s Bo Bendsneyder and the second Aspar of Albert Arenas. Aron Canet’s Friday best sat him tenth after ten minutes of Saturday track action with less than a second covering the full top 20.

Championship leader Celestino Vietti, Mugello victor Acosta and Gresini’s Filip Salac sat in the danger zone after a quarter of an hour. Honda’s Somkiat Chantra and VR46 Master Camp replacement rider Stefano Manzi just adrift and heading Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino with American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier struggling due to lack of track knowledge - and having missed last month’s Moto2 test - in an unusual 24th. Zonta van der Goorbergh suffering his second crash of the weekend at turn four.

A calm midsession gave way to the final action as Jorge Navarro made his way into Q2 contention on the second Flexbox machine. Acosta launching himself out of the danger zone with an identical time to Honda’s Ai Ogura, as the pair claimed the edge of the top ten.

Only three-tenths covered the top 12 with five minutes to go. Acosta improving once again on his way to third as just 0.003s now covered the intensely matched top three.

Limited improvements in the final efforts saw Vietti unable to claim his place in Q2, completing the session in 15th. Late advances sat Canet and Salac eighth and ninth with Lowes completing the top ten. Arbolino forced to join Vietti in the Q1 fight from 18th.

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