MotoGP Le Mans: Rookie Acosta breaks record in Moto2 FP3

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Red Bull KTM’s rookie sensation Pedro Acosta continued to make headlines with a new Moto2 lap record at Le Mans on Saturday morning.

The Spaniard’s 1’35.861 bettered his teammate Augusto Fernandez with Somkiat Chantra’s FP1 effort keeping him firmly in the top three overall. Sam Lowes competed the session in fourth with Jake Dixon securing his Q2 charge from 12th at the flag.

Lowes was back in charge as final practice got underway in France on Saturday morning. His 1’36.249 lap sitting him third overall in the combined times with Elf Marc VDS teammate Tony Arbolino three-tenths back and second in the session. Ai Ogura and Albert Arenas circulated in check on the Honda and Aspar machines respectively as the opening ten minutes settled in. Lorenzo Dalla Porta bringing the Italtrans into contention in fourth on his fifth lap of FP3.

Augusto Fernandez avoided joining the turn three club with an impressive save in the opening 15-minutes as Ogura swept through to second. Somkiat Chantra running fourth in the session on the second Honda Team Asia, seven-tenths shy of his Friday target before a regrouped Fernandez bettered for third on the Red Bull KTM.

The hallway stage found Aron Canet circulating tenth on the Flexbox HP40 with Cameron Beaubier and Celestino Vietti less than a tenth behind. The American rising quickly to seventh as he found his rhythm at the French track - one of just three frontrunners to have improved on their Friday efforts - with Pedro Acosta and Fermin Aldeguer now either side.

Jake Dixon ran wide then crashed the Aspar out at turn 13 as the second half began. The Brit sitting tenth in the Q2 promotion zone as Beaubier continued his climb to sixth overall.

The final ten minutes brought the action as Jorge Navarro entered the top twelve. Joe Roberts and Vietti in the danger zone with Canet adrift in 17th. The Spaniard promoted himself to sixth with as many minutes remaining, two-tenths down on the top before Fernandez bettered overall with a 1’36.005 and a new lap record.

Beaubier’s run was done with five to go as the American crashed out at turn 14. The yellows denying Acosta his P1-worthy effort as the session counted down. Fernandez improved on his own record next time around with the first 1’35 of the weekend. Lowes fine-tuning with a personal best to consolidate third before Acosta arrived to second, two-tenths shy of his KTM teammate.

Arenas took fifth as his Aspar partner slipped to a precarious 13th. The championship leader once again facing a Q1 fight as Roberts crashed out at turn seven, from 17th.

Acosta replicated the 1’35 pace as Fernandez’s previous effort was deleted. 1’35.861 now the target. Lowes improving again but sitting two-tenths adrift as the chequered flag dropped before his final lap too was cancelled with Dixon maintaining his promotion with a late push for 12th.

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