MotoGP Valencia: Acosta heads Fernandez for Friday’s Moto2

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Red Bull KTM Ajo were on top of the pile in Moto2 as Pedro Acosta led Augusto Fernandez in Friday’s practice times.

Challenged solely by each other across the majority of the day, the rookie outpaced his title-challenging teammate by 0.031s as Acosta set the 1’34.948 pace. Beta Tools Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez completed the top three with Inde GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon behind in fourth.

Lopez led the way as Moto2 practice fired up at Valencia on Friday morning. The Speed Up rider setting a 1’36.908 lap to head Acosta and Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino before Dixon arrived to better the trio on the GasGas Aspar.

Senna Agius returned to intermediate class action as he continued to sub for the injured Sam Lowes while Masia Pasini picked up the RW Racing machine in place of Barry Baltus. The pair circulating in the top eighth after ten minutes on track with championship leader Fernandez narrowly behind.

Acosta took charge on his sixth effort of FP1, just 0.092s ahead of the Brit before Dixon responded 0.011s shy two laps later. Fermin Aldeguer joined his own Speed Up teammate in the top four while Arbolino led Idemitsu Honda’s Somkiat Chantra, American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier, Agius and Flex Box HP40’s Aron Canet in the top ten with 25 minutes left on the clock and Ai Ogura kicked off his own title challenge from 18th.

Fernandez set the target at the halfway stage as Ogura advanced to seventh. The Spaniard continuing to refine the goal as the second half counted down with a 1’35.578 benchmark and ten minutes remaining before Acosta bettered by a quarter of a second.

Dixon picked up pace as he continued to challenge from third. The leading trio maintaining control until Canet slid his way into third. Niccolo Antonelli crashed the Moooney VR46 out at turn two with teammate Celestino Vietti circulating in the lower reaches of the top ten with Honda’s Chantra and Ogura either side.

Five to go and Ogura found his rhythm on his way to third. Beaubier rising to sixth on his final weekend in the world championship before he returns to MotoAmerica - Rory Skinner on site as he prepares to take up the mantle following the American’s departure.

Chantra and Arbolino were the next to improve, finding fourth and sixth respectably as Dixon dropped to seventh. Aspar teammate Albert Arenas running ninth as the penultimate minute fired up with Aldeguer completing the top ten.

Late shuffles saw Beaubier third from Canet and Arenas up to seventh. Flexbox wildcard Borja Gomez narrowly missing out on the top ten as the chequered flag prepared with Vietti, Lopez and Agius just behind. Dixon claiming fourth in the final moments with a second separating him from Fernandez out front.

Acosta led the way as the afternoon got up to speed. Chantra heading Pasini and Dixon in the top four with times half a second shy of the previous best. The KTM charge continued as the session bedded in with the rookie narrowly bettering his Fernandez’ 1’34.9 pace and the pair split by just 0.031s at the halfway stage. Chantra half a second back as he sat best of the rest with Ogura ninth overall.

Lopez was the man on the move in the second half as he made his way to third with Gomez climbing to seventh. MV Agusta wildcard Alex Escrig showcasing his own talents by claiming potential Q2 contention in 12th ahead of Canet and Arbolino with one second covering the top 14 ahead of the final run.

Pasini crashed out as the final ten minutes prepared with a fast turn one off. Beaubier improving to seventh as Dixon took fifth in the closing five minutes with the Brit continuing to advance, to fourth, next time around.

Fernandez saved a major moment at turn four with two to go before hinting at late charge in the final minute. The Spaniard ultimately settling for second as the flag came out.

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