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MotoGP 2014: Marquez ahead of rivals as first Sepang test concludes


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2014 MotoGP™ Official Press Release

Repeating his dominance of the first two days, Marc Marquez concluded the first Sepang test of the 2014 preseason ahead of his rivals, thanks to a rapid early best time.

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The MotoGP™ World Champion Marquez wasted no time on the final test day at the Malaysian venue, laying down a superb 1’59.533 marker in the cooler temperatures of the morning. His pace-setting lap was marginally quicker than the previous best Sepang test time of 1’59.607, registered by Casey Stoner also on the Honda prototype in 2012.

Marquez later produced a strong performance in a race simulation with 15 consecutive laps under the 2’01 mark.

The early running had seemed more like a qualifying practice than a test session with the top riders battling each other for top spot in a time attack.

Nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi set his own personal best Sepang test time of 1’59.727, whilst Jorge Lorenzo clocked the third best time of the day with a notably quick 1’59.866 effort on just his second lap.

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Like Marquez, both Yamaha Factory riders later produced longer runs as they too worked on tyre durability and fuel consumption in preparation for their battles this year with the incoming ‘Open’ class machines – which will have a 24 litre fuel limit compared to the 20 litre capacity of the Factory entries.

Showing the potential of the new ‘Open’ bikes was the consistently impressive Aleix Espargaro on the FTR Yamaha of NGM Mobile Forward Racing, with his 1’59.998 best time coming on the second of 43 laps. The older Espargaro brother’s pace is one of the talking points of the week and he was able to lap nearly two seconds quicker than his teammate Colin Edwards who concluded Thursday’s session 14th.

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LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl (+0.579) was close behind Forward Racing’s Espargaro in fifth, despite falling at turn one early on Thursday. That was of course the corner where he fractured his ankle in October’s Grand Prix, but on this occasion he was unhurt and immediately remounted.

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Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa made a slower start and also had an off track excursion early in the morning, but later moved towards the business end of the timesheet, going up to sixth place with a 2’00.223 lap in the afternoon.

A decent time for Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso (2’00.370) put him seventh on Thursday, the Italian producing one of Ducati’s best ever Sepang test times. Indeed Dovizioso’s time was a 0.776s improvement on his Wednesday best and was 0.7s faster than his new teammate Cal Crutchlow’s final time, as the Englishman ended up 12th.

Both Ducati riders expect machine upgrades for the second Sepang test later this month.

Like his older brother Aleix, rookie Pol Espargaro also impressed, finishing as the faster of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders in eighth place, 1.122s down on Marquez’ best time.

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Fellow Tech 3 man Bradley Smith was 11th overall, though he may not have been shooting for out and out pace on Thursday and will hope to improve his competitiveness if the team can secure access to the Yamaha seamless shift gearbox early in 2014.

The top ten was completed by Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, with both riders just over a second off the pace. Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding were 13th and 21st respectively and will both hope to go faster on the new RCV1000R before the season starts.

Suzuki Test Team rider Randy de Puniet will also continue his work throughout the year in testing as he looks to close a three second gap to the front with the evolving Suzuki machine. He was 17th on the timesheet.

The majority of riders broke for lunch shortly before 2pm local time as the heat increased, with more race simulations and longer runs a key focus after the initial morning runs. The data from those longer runs are crucial for fuel economy calculations for the ‘Factory’ bikes in particular, as they have one litre of race fuel less than 2013.

A new Bridgestone tyre was also tested by the riders this week – a similar construction to that used in Valencia testing in November, with a compound slightly adapted to suit the Sepang heat. The Japanese tyre supplier will therefore hoped to have gathered useful data for improved performance in 2014.

The premier class riders will be back in action at the Sepang International Circuit for further testing from 26th to 28th February.

Annunci

MotoGP 2014: Marquez domina anche la seconda giornata di test


Doppietta Repsol Honda nella seconda giornata di test ufficiali al Sepang International Circuit.
Il neo campione del mondo Marc Marquez continua a dominare seguito dal connazionale compagno di squadra Dani Pedrosa. Valentino Rossi è quarto a più di mezzo secondo.
Ottima la prestazione di Aleix Expargarò con la sua “Open” nella top five virtuale.

Marc Marquez

Tramonta il sole a Sepang, ma la storia non cambia. Infatti anche oggi a dettare legge al Sepang International Circuit è sempre lui, il campione del mondo Marc Marquez. Il pilota spagnolo, rimane in testa nella classifica virtuale per l’intera giornata di test, permettendosi anche il lusso di abbattere il muro dei 2″ facendo fermare il cronometro, poco prima della pausa pranzo, sullo spettacolare tempo di 1’59.926, a soli 3 decimi dal record della pista tuttora detenuto dal campione australiano Casey Stoner.
Il team Repsol Honda può sicuramente ritenersi soddisfatto visto che alle spalle di Marquez c’è il suo compagno di squadra Dani Pedrosa con un ritardo di 4 decimi di secondo.

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Stefan Bradl completa il terzetto Honda chiudendo il podio virtuale che va così completamente alla casa giapponese.
In questa seconda giornata di test il pilota tedesco del team Honda LCR è stato sempre tra i più veloci non allontanandosi mai dalle primissime posizioni.
Ad interrompere il predominio nipponico ecco, al quarto posto assoluto, Valentino Rossi e la sua Yamaha M1. Durante il corso della giornata il pilota di Tavullia si è dedicato soprattutto alle regolazioni di assetto della sua moto, atte a trovare il feeling migliore. Ma la vera sorpresa di questo secondo turno è stato sicuramente il quinto posto di Aleix Espargarò che porta la sua Open del Team NGM Forward Mobile proprio a ridosso del pilota italiano, accusando un solo decimo di distacco dal nove volte campione del mondo.

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In ritardo Jorge Lorenzo, che non è riuscito a tenere il passo dei primi, concentrandosi quindi sulle regolazioni e sui vari set-up della sua M1. Segue il pilota inglese del Team Yamaha Monster Tech3 Bradely Smith; alle sue spalle ecco la prima Ducati, ma non è quella ufficiale, ma quella di Andrea Iannone e a seguire la Honda del Team Gresini di Alvaro Bautista

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MARC MARQUEZ (Honda HRC Repsol):
“Oggi abbiamo continuato con la tabella che avevamo programmato, valutando diversi componenti. Abbiamo fatto diverse prove con miglioramenti in alcuni punti.” ha detto il giovane talento fornendo preziose informazioni agli ingegneri HRC.”Per quanto riguarda la messa a punto, abbiamo migliorato la stabilità in frenata, credo che abbiamo finalmente trovato un buon compromesso.”

DANI PEDROSA (Honda HRC Repsol):
“Oggi abbiamo testato il nuovo telaio mettendolo a confronto con la versione precedente; continueremo anche domani, perché non mi è chiaro quale sia la migliore. Con i due avevano buoni sentimenti , ma ho bisogno di più giri per scegliere uno chiaramente.”

STEFAN BRADL (Honda LCR):
“Oggi sono veramente soddisfatto: è bello stare di nuovo lì davanti con Dani e Marc. Abbiamo fatto dei grossi miglioramenti e ho girato un secondo più forte rispetto a ieri grazie anche alle modifiche sull’anteriore che mi hanno permesso di essere più a mio agio in frenata. Sapevamo che il nostro potenziale su questa moto era maggiore e oggi siamo stati veloci e costanti. Spero di continuare così anche domani; abbiamo in programma una simulazione di gara per chiudere i test e tornare a casa con una buona base per il futuro”.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’ (OPEN NGM Forward Mobile):
“Sono molto contento perchè questa mattina sono riuscito a girare 1 secondo piú veloce rispetto a ieri. Certo c’è molto da fare perchè devo non solo conoscere meglio l’elettronica, ma anche adattare il mio stile di guida alla moto, per sfruttarne al massimo il potenziale. Oggi abbiamo lavorato sul telaio e provato cinque tipi diversi di gomme. Domani avremo invece un long run per capire come si comporta l’elettronica, specie nella seconda parte di gara”.

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team):
“Sono contento dei progressi che abbiamo fatto, non mi aspettavo di provare delle sensazioni così buone nel primo test dell’anno” ha commentato Andrea Dovizioso, 11° quest’oggi col crono di 2’01.146. Siamo riusciti a migliorare in inserimento e anche ad avere un po’ più di velocità in centro curva. Acceleriamo un po’ più forte perché la moto si impenna di meno e quindi possiamo usare più potenza. Ci siamo avvicinati ai primi come tempi, come passo anche, ma c’è ancora tanto lavoro da fare. Però giudico i miglioramenti che abbiamo fatto in questi primi due giorni più che positivi.”

CAL CRUTCHLOW (Ducati Team):
“Credo di essere uno dei piloti che ha migliorato di più oggi come tempo sul giro” ha esordito un raggiante Cal Crutchlow. L’inglese, oggi 12º dietro il suo compagno di squadra, ha continuato: “Ieri ero un po’ arrugginito e non avevo il feeling giusto sulla moto, ma il problema è stato soltanto mio. Oggi abbiamo girato solo con la GP14, testando alcuni assetti che non avevamo avuto tempo di provare ieri. Il risultato è stato positivo e quindi abbiamo fatto un buon passo in avanti. La nuova moto è molto migliorata nell’ingresso in curva, ed è un fatto positivo per la Ducati.”

CRONO DELLA SECONDA GIORNATA DI TEST:

Pos Rider Team Fastest lap Lead. Gap
1 MARQUEZ, Marc Repsol Honda Team 1:59.926
2 PEDROSA, Dani Repsol Honda Team 2:00.336 0.410 0.410
3 BRADL, Stefan LCR Honda MotoGP 2:00.339 0.413 0.003
4 ROSSI, Valentino Yamaha Factory Racing 2:00.464 0.538 0.125
5 ESPARGARO, Aleix NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:00.547 0.621 0.083
6 LORENZO, Jorge Yamaha Factory Racing 2:00.573 0.647 0.026
7 SMITH, Bradley Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:00.603 0.677 0.030
8 IANNONE, Andrea Pramac Racing 2:00.855 0.929 0.252
9 BAUTISTA, Alvaro GO&FUN Honda Gresini 2:00.897 0.971 0.042
10 ESPARGARO, Pol Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.061 1.135 0.164
11 DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Ducati Team 2:01.146 1.220 0.085
12 CRUTCHLOW, Cal Ducati Team 2:01.396 1.470 0.250
13 PIRRO, Michele Ducati Test Team 2:02.177 2.251 0.781
14 HAYDEN, Nicky Drive M7 Aspar 2:02.287 2.361 0.110
15 EDWARDS, Colin NGM Mobile Forward Racing 2:02.545 2.619 0.258
16 HERNANDEZ, Yonny Energy T.I. Pramac Racing 2:02.675 2.749 0.130
17 AKIYOSHI, Kosuke HRC Test Team 2:02.692 2.766 0.017
18 AOYAMA, Hiroshi Drive M7 Aspar 2:02.825 2.899 0.133
19 NAKASUGA, Katsuyuki Yamaha Factory Test Team 2:02.970 3.044 0.145
20 DE PUNIET, Randy Suzuki Test Team 2:03.064 3.138 0.094
21 REDDING, Scott GO&FUN Honda Gresini 2:03.117 3.191 0.053
22 LAVERTY, Michael Paul Bird Motorsport 2:03.528 3.602 0.411
23 BARBERA, Hector Avintia Racing 2:04.551 4.625 1.023
24 PARKES, Broc Paul Bird Motorport 2:04.619 4.693 0.068
25 ABRAHAM, Karel Cardion AB Motoracing 2:05.261 5.335 0.642
26 DI MEGLIO, Mike Avintia Racing 2:05.355 5.429 0.094

Domani, dalle 10 alle 18 ora locale (GMT +8 ), la terza e ultima giornata di questa prima settimana di test ufficiali a Sepang della MotoGP.

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MotoGP 2014: Marquez rapid as Espargaro’s Open finishes fifth


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2014 MotoGP™ Official Press Release

Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez upped the pace as testing continued in Malaysia on Wednesday, while NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro placed an Open specification bike inside the top five for the first time.

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With conditions just as good as they had been on Tuesday, it was Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa who led the way for much of the first half of the day. The World Champion then smashed through the two-minute barrier shortly before his lunch break, after which there were substantially less changes in lap times. It remains to be seen as to whether Marquez can better Casey Stoner’s 2012 pre-season time of 1’59.607, also registered on a Repsol Honda motorcycle.

With Repsol Honda first and second, Stefan Bradl was third for LCR Honda MotoGP (three thousandths down on Pedrosa) with Valentino Rossi fourth for Yamaha Factory Racing. Aleix Espargaro again displayed the promise of the new Open FTR-Yamaha combination, as his Forward machine was barely two tenths down on the nearest Factory Honda, with Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo sixth; the former double title winner was attempting to improve handling issues, encountered on Day 1 as a result of setup changes made in a bid to improve fuel consumption, as for 2014 the Factory Option bikes are limited by a further litre of fuel to just 20 across a race distance.

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Bradley Smith spearheaded the Monster Yamaha Tech3 charge, with Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone in eighth position; on the leading Ducati, the Italian was some seven tenths of a second quicker than he had been on Tuesday. Alvaro Bautista was ninth for GO&FUN Honda Gresini, but his day was not without its problems; at 11:30, the Spaniard suffered a technical problem and thus took a shortcut back to the pit lane. The top ten was completed by Smith’s team-mate Pol Espargaro, while brother Aleix’s team-mate Colin Edwards was the only rider to not improve his lap time today, but his best effort from Day 1 still leaves the American 15th on the combined timesheet.

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Ducati Team bikes were locked together once again, this time filling positions 11 to 13 with Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow and test rider Michele Pirro, with their quickest lap time some 1.3 seconds quicker than it had been 24 hours earlier. In the Honda RCV1000R ranks, the quickest rider was again Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden as the 2006 World Champion managed to circulate 1.1 seconds faster than he had on Day 1. As ever, the true pace of all bikes is difficult to gauge as fuel loads and other such details remain highly secretive. However, more clues may be available on Thursday as a selection of riders aim for race simulations; such long-run pace often serves as a better indicator, although this is only the first of four Official pre-season tests set to be staged prior to the season-opening Grand Prix in Qatar on 23 March.

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The Suzuki Test Team ended the day 20th with Randy de Puniet – 3.1 seconds behind Marquez but eight tenths of a second faster than the Frenchman’s own best lap of Tuesday – as they continued their journey ahead of a MotoGP™ return in 2015. Elsewhere, premier class rookies Scott Redding, Broc Parkes and Mike di Meglio continued adapting to their respective Honda RCV1000R, PBM and Avintia bikes for the corresponding Gresini, Paul Bird Motorsport and Avintia Racing teams.

Thursday will mark the third and final day of this week’s Sepang Official MotoGP™ Test, with identical running times of 10am-6pm local time (GMT +8).

MotoGP 2014: Marquez leads on opening day of Sepang test


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2014 MotoGP™ Official Press Release

World Champion Marc Marquez topped the timesheets as this week’s Sepang Official MotoGP™ Test began today. The Repsol Honda Team rider led the way from Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi and Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, with leading Open rider Aleix Espargaro seventh for NGM Mobile Forward.

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Following the usual break for lunch in the middle of the day, the final of the eight hours saw track temperatures drop which allowed riders to push for quicker lap times. This duly saw Marquez post 2’00.286, half a second up on Rossi as both the Italian and Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa jumped ahead of Jorge Lorenzo’s Yamaha in the final minutes of the day. The top six was completed by GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl.

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At Repsol Honda, this year’s RC213V features a larger air intake in an attempt to increase top speeds and improve throttle response on the exit of corners, with Marquez posting the leading effort fresh from historically claiming the title in Valencia last year. In the Yamaha garage, Rossi continued to develop his working relationship with new Crew Chief Silvano Galbusera, who first worked alongside the nine-time World Champion for the post-race test after the final Grand Prix of 2013.

Much attention was on Ducati Team, with talk continuing to circulate that the outfit could elect to race under the new Open regulations this year; this would allow up to 24 litres of fuel as opposed to the 20 of the Factory Options, as well as working on engines during the season and not being limited by the new engine freeze. Also this season, all bikes in the field are running the spec ECU hardware for the first time; however Factory Options are free to use their own software, whereas Opens must adapt the spec software as supplied by Dorna Sports and Magneti Marelli.

The leading Open representative on this occasion was Forward’s Aleix Espargaro (seventh position), with Factory Option riders Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3 team-mates) helping to complete the top ten. Colin Edwards (Forward) overcame early technical difficulties to finish 11th quickest, as Ducati Team filled spots 12 to 14 with Andrea Dovizioso, test rider Michele Pirro and Cal Crutchlow. The leading Honda RCV1000R customer bike was that of 2006 title winner Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) in 17th place.

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At Paul Bird Motorsport, Michael Laverty (25th position) suffered a frustrating start to proceedings, plagued first by brake problems and then by an engine failure. All teams were present with the exception of IodaRacing, which plans to make its 2014 track debut at the second Sepang test which is to run at the end of the month.

Testing continues at the Sepang International Circuit over the next two days, again running between 10am and 6pm local time (GMT +8).

MotoGP2013: Marquez begins Valencia title-charge ahead of Lorenzo


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Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana
Report Day 1
Fri, 8 November 2013

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As the MotoGP™ action on the first day of Free Practice at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana concluded it was Marc Marquez who set the pace with his teammate Dani Pedrosa only 0.066s behind him, and title rival Jorge Lorenzo 0.158s off the pace in third.

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Despite the windy conditions in the afternoon’s FP2 at the Valencia track, Marquez stepped up the pace in the second half of the session, with his best time of 1’31.220 not far off Pedrosa’s pole record of 1’30.844 from last year. Pedrosa was very close to his Repsol Honda colleague, with both of them still looking for more grip – using both the softer and harder option rear tyres.

Lorenzo improved late on in the session on his regular number-one machine, having spent time before on his number-two bike with holes in the front bubble to cope with the windy conditions. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow had a great day as he ended up fourth overall despite a late low-side crash, from which he escaped unhurt. The Englishman rides in his last GP for the team this weekend before departing for Ducati.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, who is working with Crew Chief Jeremy Burgess for the last time this weekend, was fifth fastest on Friday, 0.4s off the pace. After his statements that he needs to get quicker for next year, he will hope for a strong push in tomorrow’s practice.

The top ten was rounded out by Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda), Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Ducati Team pair Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden. Bradl is keen to resolve front-end grip issues, whilst Batista is working with a new Showa rear shock provided for this weekend.

Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was unhurt after he crashed his ART machine, which was the new bike him and his team are testing this weekend for the Italian outfit. Despite switching bikes on Monday, Team Manager Gino Borsoi said that the team is pleased to help Aprilia until that day, hence why Espargaro is giving feedback on the new bike featuring a different frame, swingarm and engine. He ended the day 13th on the timesheet.

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Having topped the FP1 timesheet, new Moto2™ World Champion Pol Espargaro was fastest again on Friday afternoon at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, with his 1’35.548 lap keeping him 0.142s ahead of Tuenti HP 40 teammate Tito Rabat, and 0.426s in front of Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Thomas Luthi.

Espargaro will ride a Monster Yamaha Tech3 MotoGP™ bike in testing next week and the pressure is off in many ways, having already clinched the title, but he now intends to end the season on a high. The Spaniard dominated both sessions at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on Friday but almost had a clash with wildcard rider Gino Rea during the afternoon, with both riders just managing to avoid going down.

Behind Espargaro, teammate Rabat aims for a strong finish to the season in his last race for Sito Pons’ outfit, and that pair could do battle for the win on Sunday if today’s pace is anything to judge by. Switzerland’s Tom Luthi would also be a good bet for a podium finish, though having also lapped in the top five Alex de Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) and Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing) will aim to run at the front as the weekend progresses.

The top ten was completed by Jordi Torres, Mika Kallio, Nico Terol, Xavier Simeon and Julian Simon, all lapping within tenth tenths of a second of the leading time.

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The Friday Moto3™ Free Practice sessions at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana were topped by the trio fighting for the title, with Luis Salom leading Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales.

Salom’s best time of 1’40.403 from FP1 was the best of the day and the Red Bull KTM Ajo man’s best FP2 time was just a tenth of a second slower, as Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) topped the timesheet in the latter session with a 1’40.489 fastest lap.

Team Calvo’s Viñales was third best in both sessions and his FP2 time of 1’40.580 was his best time of the day, as the three Spanish title candidates flexed their muscles in front of the home fans.

German rider Jonas Folger (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) and Australian competitor Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG) were fourth and fifth overall respectively, but both were unable to improve on their morning best times in FP2.

The overall top ten was completed by Efren Vazquez (Mahindra Racing), Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) and Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold).

Khairuddin has had some costly crashes in recent weeks and he walked away from a big highside at the conclusion of the session, whilst Lorenzo Baldassarri was also unhurt in a light crash towards the end of the outing.

Brad Binder was taken to the Medical Centre with a suspected collarbone injury, as was Alan Techer, after both had FP2 crashes. Whilst Binder was cleared with shoulder contusion, Techer has suffered a left wrist fracture.

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