MotoGP Misano: Vietti tops Moto2 at home on Friday

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti reignited his Moto2 season on home soil with the fastest Friday time at Misano.

Quick from the off, Vietti maintained control across the opening day’s two practice sessions to fend off +Ego Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez and Inde GasGas Aspar’s wildcard Mattia Pasini in the top three.

The intermediate class fired up with home rider Vietti immediately in charge on the VR46 machine before Aspar’s wildcard Pasini - on his own two-year-old Kalex - arrived with a 1’38.188. The two Italian’s continuing to battle as Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet sat third.

Title challenger Augusto Fernandez got off to the worst start, with a turn one crash on the Red Bull KTM Ajo. Liqui Moly Intact’s Jeremy Alcoba doing likewise at turn 14 two minutes later with Simone Corsi replicating the slide after claiming 12th with the MV Agusta.

Idemitsu Honda’s Austria podium-sitters Somkiat Chantra and Ai Ogura circulated third and fourth as the San Marino practice began. The pair on near identical 1’37.4 pace as Aspar’s Jake Dixon rose to challenge in fifth with his ninth attempt.

The Brit was on the move next time around as he hit third thanks to a 1’37.340. Pasini and Vietti three-tenths each ahead as they continued to challenge at the top of the times.

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Pedro Acosta joined the fight, in fifth, as the first session began to count down. Pasini coming within one-hundredth of second of the dominant Vietti in the final five minutes as Dixon too looked to challenge, 0.083s adrift of the Italian out front.

Fernandez was back on the bike and back on the pace as he swept to fourth, Mooney VR46’s Niccolo Antonelli enjoying the benefit of home knowledge as he and Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino battled for fifth.

A final flurry brought Italtrans’ Joe Roberts into contention from seventh as championship leader Ogura joined his title rival in fifth. Canet splitting the battling pair next time around before Ogura struck back to round out the top five. The Spaniard leapfrogging them both next time around on his way to fourth.

The afternoon found Canet and Vietti in charge but times below the morning as the standard race prep kept FP2 subdued in the opening third. Lopez and Chantra the first to improve, to seventh and eighth respectively with Aspar’s Albert Arenas doing likewise shortly after in ninth.

Pasini slid out at turn four as the final quarter of an hour got going with Vietti suffering a turn ten crash five minutes later to end his session early. The Italian lucky not to be fully collected by his teammate Antonelli in the aftermath.

Lopez launched the Speed Up to second as the clock clicked down, Fernandez placing his KTM in fourth, ahead of Dixon and Canet as the Spaniard crashed out with three minutes to go.

The solitary Brit continued to fine-tune his time as the session concluded, improving his pace but not his position as the final sector denied his flow, and meeting the flag with a 1’36.692 best. Teammate Arenas crashing out on his own final hot-lap as the session completed.

Vietti maintained control from Lopez, Pasini, Fernandez and Dixon with Canet, Arenas, Chantra, Acosta and Arbolino rounding out the top ten. Championship leader Ogura, Gresini’s Filip Salac, Italtrans’ Lorenzo Dalla Porta, and Pertamina SAG’s Bo Bendsneyder claimed the final provisional Q2 places with VR46 Master Camp’s Manuel Gonzales the first adrift.

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