Grand prix

Gardner 0.008s clear of Raul Fernandez on Day 1

As we’ve become accustomed to seeing in Moto2™ this year, the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo were split by nothing at the top of the times

Day 1 of the Moto2™ title-deciding weekend is done and dusted and coming out on top by just 0.008s was World Championship leader Remy Gardner. The Australian’s 1:35.857 in a dry Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana FP2 saw him beat Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate and rival Raul Fernandez by that slender gap, setting us up nicely for the next two days. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) completed the top three, the Spaniard was 0.041s down on Gardner.

Title rivals split by 0.008s, top four within 0.087s

Raul Fernandez was the pacesetter for most of the session as the riders were continually finding time on an ever-improving Circuit Ricardo Tormo. With just under four minutes to go though, Gardner took over at the summit by that 0.008s margin, as we witnessed a familiar looking sight at the top – Red Bull KTM Ajo 1-2.

On his final lap, Raul Fernandez returned the favour on Gardner to go back to P1, and that’s how it would finish – or so we thought. Raul Fernandez’ quickest time was chalked off due to exceeding track limits at Turn 12, meaning Gardner would end the opening day of action on top. Augusto Fernandez and rookie Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) got to within a tenth of the top time as 0.087s covers the top four.

Fifth place went the way of Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), the Spaniard just over a tenth shy of Gardner. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) set his fastest lap of the session on his last flyer, the British rider is sixth on Friday, just ahead of Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40). MotoGP™-bound Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) ended his final Moto2™ Free Practice Friday in eighth, 0.304s away from P1, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) – also MotoGP™-bound – and Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) inside the top 10.

Tune into Moto2™ FP3 at 10:55 local time (GMT+1) to see who sails into Q2.

Top 10 combined:
1. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:35.857
2. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0 .008
3. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.041
4. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.087
5. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.115
6. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 0.253
7. Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP40) + 0.261
8. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.304
9. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) + 0.334
10. Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) + 0.377

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