Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü was in the hotseat at Motorland Aragon on Saturday morning setting the fastest Moto3 time.
A 1’57.625 on the Turkish rider’s final attempt secured the standings for FP3 with Autosolar GasGas Aspar’s Izan Guevara and KTM Ajo’s Daniel Holgado completing the top three ahead of the qualifying fight.
Saturday morning got off to a difficult start for Rivacold Snipers’ Alberto Surra with a highside down the hill into turn nine in the cold opening minutes. Guevara taking the lead in the tentative times before the championship leader was engulfed in a KTM sandwich. Öncü initially in charge before Guevara responded next time around.
British riders Scott Ogden and John McPhee circulated in 19th and 20th respectively as the final practice fired up. Josh Whatley yet to classify a time in the opening 15th minutes on the second VisionTrack machine.
McPhee promoted the Sterilgarda Husqvarna up to 14th with his sixth lap of the morning. The Scot still inside the promotion zone with 25 minutes on the clock as times remained down on Friday’s efforts. CFMoto’s Carlos Tatay the first to improve, from 15th overall before Guevara and Tatsuki Suzuki advanced their top ten worthy efforts for fifth and eighth respectively and Tatay continued his run at the expense of the Max Racing rider.
CIP Green Power’s Kaito Toba was the first to challenge the times with a 1’58.632, a tenth down on Dennis Foggia’s Friday target as the final quarter of an hour began. Replacement rider Nicola Carraro succumbing to turn two on the QJMotor Avintia two minutes later.
MT Helmets’ Diogo Moreira was the next to strike, finding fourth ahead of fellow rookie Holgado. The Brazilian launching to the lead next time around with a 1’58.492 while MTA’s Stefano Nepa slotted into third.
The pace began to ignite as the leading group continued its charge. Ayumu Sasaki and Guevara taking over in first and second respectively before Foggia returned to second and Moreira consolidated his fourth position with an improved time. KTM’s Jaume Masia advanced to fifth with Sergio Garcia finally entering the promotion zone but in the danger zone, from 11th.
Guevara set the first 1’57 of the weekend with his 12th lap of FP3, 1’57.612 now the target with six minutes left on the clock. Joel Kelso holding the gateway time to direct Q2 entry a second and a half adrift, with a 1’59.171, McPhee out of contention in 18th.
Holgado continued to challenge as he returned to fifth alongside his Ajo teammate. Garcia rising to seventh as Öncü arrived to second with his own 1’57 effort. SIC58’s Lorenzo Fellon and Tatay the next in danger as the clock counted down as BOE’s David Muñoz was cut adrift.
A minute to go saw McPhee push hard for ninth with a 1’58.578, a final sector stunner lifting the Scot into the promotion places as the chequered flag prepared. His last effort consolidating the position further as he rose to eighth in the final shuffle. Holgado continued his run to third from Sasaki while a late effort from Xavi Artigas secured fifth on the second PruestelGP machine. Foggia dropped to sixth from Moreira, McPhee, Masia and Garcia with Adrian Fernandez, Suzuki, Ivan Ortola and Nepa completing the promotees.
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